Booking New Zealand flights

New Zealand’s borders are fully open

New Zealand is open to vaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world. Unvaccinated travelers are not allowed to enter the country unless they are New Zealand citizens or residents.

Before traveling to New Zealand by air, all visitors must complete a declaration, and receive a Traveller Pass by email. If you are not a New Zealand or Australian citizen, you may need to apply for a visa or an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority).

Transit is only allowed through Auckland Airport as long as you stay in the transit area and your next flight is within 24 hours. Some travelers may need to apply for a transit visa.

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Book cheaper flights to Queenstown

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Arriving in Queenstown

  • If you are flying to Queenstown from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportQueenstown Airport ZQN situated in the suburb of Frankton, just a 10-minute drive from the city center. The airport features a single terminal building that handles both domestic and international flights. One of the notable characteristics of Queenstown Airport is its picturesque surroundings and challenging approach to landing due to nearby high terrain.

    To get to the city center of Queenstown, you can use a convenient Airport Shuttle bus which can be booked in advance online or purchased on arrival at the airport. Taxis and rental cars are also available at the airport
    .

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Queenstown. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.


  • Once in Queenstown, take advantage of frequent flights between the major cities via domestic airlines such as Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Sunair, Barrier Air, Stewart Island Flights, Air Chathams, Golden Bay Air, Origin Air, and Sounds Air. To check flight schedules/prices and to book the tickets, visit their official websites — OTAs and flight search engines often don’t have access to the flight repository of smaller local airlines. They also often fail to update prices in the event of short-lived sales and promotions that airlines run from time to time. To not miss out on these great offers, visit Promo Radar which aggregates current promotions run by popular airlines.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Queenstown can be easily reached with low-cost regional airlines (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Jetstar, and Scoot.

    These budget carriers offer flights from Queenstown Airport at lower prices than full-service airlines, and they often fly to smaller airports that big players do not cover. However, the “no-frills” airlines may not provide free checked baggage allowance, complimentary food, in-flight entertainment systems, and fast customer support; you may not even get to choose your seats (unless you pay extra). With that in mind, they are a great option to save money if you have a stopover in New Zealand and then fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries.
Best airports to fly into Queenstown: Queenstown Airport (ZQN)
Airports of Queenstown on Google Maps Queenstown has one international airport – Queenstown Airport ZQN located 10 minutes' drive from the town center, in the suburb of Frankton.
Things to know before flying to Queenstown
Airlines flying to QueenstownAir Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Jetstar, LATAM, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Australia, Vistara
New Zealand airlinesAir New Zealand, Air Chathams, Sunair, Sounds Air, Barrier Air, Stewart Island Flights, Golden Bay Air, Origin Air, Air Auckland
Airports in QueenstownQueenstown Airport (ZQN)
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €900 – €1400 (from Europe)
✈ $400 – $900 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline promotionsSee ticket sales & promos available for flights departing from February to April

Book cheap flights in the region

Prearrange your New Zealand visitor visa

Passport holders from most countries need a visa to come to New Zealand, even if they are just visiting the country for a short holiday. You might even need a visa to transit through New Zealand to another destination.

The visa must be obtained before traveling to Queenstown from abroad. You can do this electronically via the New Zealand Immigration website, or your travel agent can arrange this for you.

The cheapest time to fly to Queenstown

The cheapest time to fly to Queensland is during the low season – June through October. These months are considered the winter season in New Zealand, with shorter daylight hours and much lower temperatures than during the summer months of December, January, and February (high season). The off-peak tourist season sees fewer visitors, and because prices are dictated by supply and demand, typically you can find some great deals on airline tickets to Queensland, accommodation, rental vehicles, and activities.

The shoulder months from March to May and from September to November are also good options to fly to Queensland as they offer pleasant temperatures and mostly sunny days, but still thin tourist crowds and lower airfares.

To travel in peace, try to avoid school holidays – the two-week periods at the end of July and October, and popular “red days” such as Waitangi Day (8 February), Anzac Day (26 April), Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. If you really have to travel to Queensland during these peak periods it’s wise to book the flights well in advance.

South Pacific time travel (the international date line)

The international date line (IDL) is an imaginary line on the Earth’s surface that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole, running through the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It roughly follows a 180-degree longitude and defines the border between one day and the next.

Pacific islands: international date line
International date line crossing the Pacific Ocean

IDL is not a straight line, though. It zig-zags back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, so it is not always at the same longitude. Starting from the north, it passes west of the Hawaiian Islands and east of the Marshall Islands. As it moves further south, it reaches the Pacific island nation of Kiribati and makes a major deviation east to encompass the Kiribati and Line Islands. Then it passes between Samoa and American Samoa, keeping the former west and the latter east of the IDL. It then stays parallel to the meridian, keeping to the east of the line so that Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand are all west of the IDL.

When you cross the ID westward, you gain a day, and if you are traveling eastward, you lose a day. It may seem like you are moving forward or backward in time, but obviously, you’re just adjusting to a different time zone.

Know your time zone

New Zealand has two time zones. Its two main islands – North Island and South Island (where Queenstown city is located) – lie in the same time zone: New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) which is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+12). During the summer months – from September to April – daylight saving time is observed nationwide (UTC+13).

The small Chatham Islands (860 km / 530 miles east of Christchurch) have a separate time zone, which is 45 minutes ahead of mainland New Zealand.

Make sure you know your time zone when checking flights and airport transfer times.

The 80-hour rule for Qantas seat selection

Qantas restricts access to sought-after seats to elite frequent flyers, so you may not see those seats as available during the booking process. But these restrictions are lifted 80 hours before a flight. So, if you want to snap up your favorite seat on a flight to Queenstown, log in to Qantas Manage Booking 80 hours before departure, check for previously unavailable seats, and change your seat selection.

Flights to Queenstown fromUnited States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Queenstown. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Queenstown, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop.
  • Queenstown is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Queenstown with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Queenstown from the US and Canada are: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.
  • For long-haul flights, the type of aircraft you choose can make a huge difference to your overall comfort on board – especially if you’re flying economy. The best aircraft have comfier seats with more legroom, WiFi, superior entertainment systems, and a better passenger experience in every cabin in general. When booking a flight to Queenstown, look for the airlines that use wide-body planes designed for long-haul flights, such as Airbus A350 (best choice), A380, A320neo, or Boeing 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.

Queenstown from US & Canada
plane ticket prices in 2023/24

Real-time economy class airfares to Queenstown from the US and Canada. Shown are the top three deals for flights departing in the coming months (February to October).

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Book domestic flights on airnewzealand.co.nz

When booking Air New Zealand flights, always use its website located at the co.nz domain – irrespective of where you are based.

It’s surprising, but often the domestic flights listed at airnewzealand.co.nz are much cheaper than on the .com, .eu, .co.uk and com.sg sites (sometimes you can save 50% of the ticket price or more).

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and others).

When it comes to Twitter there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@FlyAirNZ” if contacting Air New Zealand). The social media team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

Set the currency to the currency of the airline’s country.

Prices quoted on airline websites often vary depending on where you book from. So here’s the simple trick: if you’re booking a flight with Air New Zealand (for example), try setting the country to New Zealand and the currency to the New Zealand dollar (NZD).

If the airline website detects your actual location by checking the IP address (and automatically applies the adequate currency) you can overcome this by using a VPN to spoof your location.

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Extra checked bag for an infant

Virgin Australia aims to become the first choice for family travelers. It has the most generous policy regarding infant luggage allowances – a 23kg checked bag, and 3 infant items are allowed, free of charge.

This policy applies to the airline’s domestic and international short-haul and long-haul flights.

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Flights to Queenstown with stopover

Direct flights to Queenstown are, of course, much less hassle than flights that require one or more connections. However, they tend to be more expensive. In a trade-off between convenience and cost, the best option is often to opt for a flight with one layover.

So if you’re looking at a long-haul trip with at least one connection, rather than simply transiting an airport, why not take this opportunity to plan a longer stopover? A stopover is a prolonged layover — more than 24 hours — and it won’t only break up your long journey but will also become a legitimate part of your vacation. If you’re prone to severe jet lag, a one or two-day stopover would help minimize its adverse effects.

When booking flights, many airlines allow you to include a free stopover en route to your final destination in Queenstown. Those flights are usually cheaper than non-stop (direct) flights, and you can often choose your stopover at no additional cost — just by looking for multi-city flights with longer layovers.

Big cities in Asia and Pacific are known for their rich culture and history — making them a great idea for a stopover during a longer journey. Here are a few suggestions for a stopover while en route to Queenstown.

Some airlines openly advertise stopovers and offer significant discounts and travel perks for passengers to break up their trips: free luxury hotel stays, complimentary domestic flights, or exclusive rates for activities. Start checking for stopover deals to Queenstown with government-owned airlines (as they are looking to attract tourists to give the country economic benefits) — such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. Almost every airline’s website has multi-city search functionality, often hidden inside the one-way/return/multi-city switch.

A well-chosen stopover will not only turn one vacation into many but also save you several hundred dollars in airfare. The available stopovers to Queenstown will depend on your initial destination (Europe, North America, Asia, etc) and the airline you are flying with. For most airlines, the best free stopover offer will be at their main hub.

Flights to Queenstown from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Queenstown — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. It's a long trip from Europe to Queensland (over 18,000km/11,000 miles and 25-35 hours of flight time), so all airlines plan at least one stop en route. Choose your airline wisely - look for exceptional in-flight experience and comfortable seats. For the long-haul flights from European countries to Queensland we recommend Air New Zealand, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Queenstown include Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Philippine Airlines, Royal Brunei, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Thai Airways.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Queenstown from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Use European low-cost airlines such as RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to fly to the hub, then save hundreds of euros by taking a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination.

    We recommend checking prices for flights to Queenstown from these European airport hubs: London LHR and Manchester MAN in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt FRA and Munich MUC in Germany, Paris CDG and Nice NCE in France, Amsterdam AMS in the Netherlands, Madrid MAD and Barcelona BCN in Spain, Rome FCO and Milano MXP in Italy, Brussels BRU in Belgium, Copenhagen OSL in Denmark, Oslo OSL in Norway, Stockholm ARN in Sweden, Zurich ZRH in Switzerland, Lisbon LIS in Portugal, Vienna VIE in Austria, Warsaw WAW in Poland, Prague PRG in Czech Republic, and Dublin DUB in Ireland.

European airports with the cheapest flights to Queenstown

Find the lowest prices for flights to Queenstown Airport in Queenstown from the major airports in Europe — London, Dublin, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Stockholm, Geneva, Helsinki, Zurich, and others.

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Check different departure airports

Consider neighboring cities when choosing the departure airport – especially look for larger cities with airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines.

For example, if you live in West Europe, check prices for flights departing from Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, or Vienna. In 9 out of 10 cases, the cheapest flight to Queenstown will depart from one of these hubs, and it may be €500 less or more than your first choice. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to this hub, but low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for €50 – €100.

Use a similar tactic if you depart from the US or another region. It’s one of the best ways to save hundreds on trips.

Book flights from many departure airports
By entering more than one departure city in the flight search engine (at the top of this page), you can quickly find the airport with the cheapest flights to your destination

Last-minute flights to Queenstown. The real cost of convenience.

Last-minute flights are often touted as a great way to save money, but the reality is far from it. Booking last-minute flights to Queenstown almost always never works out. The convenience of being able to book a flight on the fly is a dangerous game of chance, and you will most likely end up paying significantly higher than booking in advance.

The common perception may be that airlines decrease ticket prices to fill empty seats as the departure date approaches. However, the truth is that airfares depend on demand. Based on years of research and current customer data, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. They are also well aware that people are willing to pay a premium for flights they need to take immediately. To make the most money, the airline will sell its cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of business travelers and others who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Last-minute flight cost spike
Late booking penalty: The flight prices rise as departure draws near. Last-minute flights are almost always more expensive than booking in advance.

Occasionally, airlines can put some seats on sale to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates around peak travel times tend to sell out quickly.

Planning ahead is key to securing a good deal on your flight. Last-minute flight deals are hard to come by, so as soon as you have a tentative travel timeline, book your flight. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to save money. If you are looking for a good deal, the best time to book your flight to Queenstown is around 60-90 days before the departure date.

“Hot seats” on long-haul flights

Those days seat selection is considered an optional, extra paid service – seats with extra legroom (front and exit rows) are usually priced higher. However, if you’re about to take a long-haul flight to Queenstown, those “hot seats” are worth considering – expect to pay $50-$100, which is much less than upgrading to Premium Economy.

If you want to choose your seats, do this early (ideally during the booking) for a more extensive selection of available options.

Booking hot seats (preffered seats with extra legroom) on plane
Choosing a hot seat during the flight booking process is usually worth it. For a reasonable price, you will get more room to stretch your legs, as well as a wider seat pitch.

Lost baggage prevention

Avoid lost luggage nightmares by removing old tags on your suitcases. Tags are printed with a barcode for identification and tracking, so the old tags can confuse baggage handlers and the conveyor belt scanners. They are one of the reasons so many bags miss their flight or get misrouted.

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Domestic air travel from Queenstown

Most domestic routes in New Zealand are operated by local airlines. When traveling to popular tourist destinations such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua from Queenstown Airport, you’ll be flying with one of these domestic air transport companies: Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Sunair, Barrier Air, Stewart Island Flights, Air Chathams, Golden Bay Air, Origin Air, and Sounds Air. In most cases, it is the best (the fastest, the most convenient, and the cheapest) way to travel around the country.

If you plan to fly domestically from Queenstown check the latest prices here, then book your flight ticket online.

Flights to Queenstown from Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and other major hubs in Asia

  • There are no direct flights from Asia to Queenstown — plan for at least one stop en route. The most convenient option is to choose a layover in Australasia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Auckland have frequent direct flights to Queenstown.
  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Queenstown look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Queenstown will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting New Zealand and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet, and VietJet Air. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.

Asian airports with the cheapest flights to Queenstown in 2023/24

Find the lowest prices for flights to Queenstown from the largest airports in Asia — Changi (Singapore), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong (China), Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Indira Gandhi (New Delhi, India), KLIA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Soekarno–Hatta (Jakarta, Indonesia), Ninoy Aquino (Manila, Philippines), Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok, Thailand), Taoyuan (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.

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Take advantage of loyalty programs

Choose an airline that suits you the best, then stick to it. By becoming a ‘regular’, you will be able to use its loyalty program and earn “miles” (or points) – not only for flying but also for everyday expenses (if your card is affiliated with an airline).

Points earned this way often add up over time and are extremely helpful in flying at reduced fares. Airlines offer not only ticket discounts for their frequent flyers, but also special travel perks such as cabin class upgrades, increased checked baggage allowance, or access to their airport lounges so you can relax during long layovers.

If you often fly with Emirates, opt for Skywards, with Qantas – for Qantas Frequent Flyer, with Singapore Airlines – for KrisFlyer, etc.

Proof of onward travel – a simple hack

Travelers who go on long trips often don’t have a set itinerary and fly on one-way tickets. The problem? For many APAC countries, proof of onward travel is a legal requirement. If you arrive at the airport without an onward ticket (from New Zealand to another country), you’ll either be forced to buy one online or forbidden from boarding the plane altogether.

The cheapest solution? Renting an onward ticket! Use the websites such as OneWayFly or OnwardTicket to get a flight reservation for a limited amount of time (usually 2 to 14 days). They work by actually booking you on a real flight out of New Zealand and giving you a confirmable flight reservation with a PNR (Passenger Name Record) under your name. After the time limit, your spot on the flight is automatically canceled. Such “temporary tickets” tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Confirmed flight ticket reservation
Proof of onward travel: confirmed flight ticket reservation (source: OnwardTicket)

How to book a superdeal to Queenstown?

Every superdeal you receive from Air Traveler Club includes a link you can use to book a flight. It always directs you to the website that offers the lowest price. Sometimes it’s an airline website; in other cases, Google Flights or a similar flight booking platform.

This video explains how to use Google Flights to book a plane ticket.

YouTube video

Dealing with the jet lag

Jet lag affects people differently depending on age, physical fitness, and genetics. The most accepted rule suggests that you should allow one full day to recover from jet lag for every time zone (hour gained) you traveled east and a number of days equal to half the time zones crossed when you traveled west.

The most effective natural jet lag remedy is to force your body into its new routine. You can begin before getting off the plane: set your watch to the time in Queenstown, then do your best to sleep and eat based on the new time zone. Close the window shade when it’s time to simulate darkness. During your first day on the ground in New Zealand, get outdoors, stay physically active during the day, and absorb sunlight.