If you're among the Kiwi travellers who actively avoid flying into LAX, it might come as a relief that Air New Zealand is scrapping Los Angeles-London flights in favour of a new service from Auckland toNew York's Newark Liberty International Airport.
Like all major US international airports, Newark (EWR) gets pretty hectic at times, but it's less busy than Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which was named the fourth busiest passenger airport in the world in 2018 in Airports Council International's recently released world traffic report. More than 87.5 million passengers flew though LAX in 2018, according to the report, while 46 million passed through Newark, making it the eleventh busiest airport in the US.
Located 15 miles (24 kilometres) southwest of Midtown Manhattan, Newark is the second most central of the threeairports serving the New York metropolitan area.LaGuardia, in Queens, is closer, but tends to get a worse rap in terms of facilities and wait times. JFK International, the busiest airport of the three, is slightly further from Midtown Manhattan.
Just across the Hudson from Manhattan, Newark airport is a 30-minute monorail ride from Penn Station.
Opened in 1928, Newark lays claim to multiple airport firsts, including the first paved runway, the first airport weather stationandthe first air traffic control tower in the United States. Like LaGuardia and JFK, it's undergoing major redevelopment andupgrades. These include replacing outmoded Terminal A with the three-concourse, 33-gate Terminal One, a project expected to be completed in 2021.
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Terminal A is one of three terminals at Newark, the others beingTerminal B and Terminal C. United Airlines, with which Air New Zealand has a partnership, occupies all of Terminal C, but operates some flights out of terminals B and C as well.
Passengers can travel between terminals and to the Airport Station, which connects Newark with New Jersey and Amtrak trains,on the AirTrainmonorail, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is free to ride within the airport.
JARRED WILLIAMSON / FAIRFAX NZ
Air New Zealand's New York service will replace its Los Angeles-London route from October 2020.
Free wi-fi and charging stations are available in all three terminals, along with parent rooms and pet relief areas. There are a decent number of dining options and passengers can use the AtYourGateapp to have meals delivered anywhere in Terminals A and B and in the pre-security are of Terminal C.
Terminal C, which re-opened in 2017 after a US$120 million redesign, is the flashest of the three terminals at present.
David Rockwell, the man behind the bulk of the terminal's dining venues, described them as "part Get Smart, part James Bond, and part theatre technology", telling Bloomberg he also drew inspiration fromNew York's Madison Square Park and European town squares.
Newark Liberty International s the eleventh busiest airport in the US.
The three-concourse, 68-gateterminalhas by far the best choice of the three terminals in terms of dining and shopping - Bloomberg went so far as to call it a "foodie theme park".
The more than 50 dining options range from a gourmet market and Global Bazaar to casual eateries with grab-and-go-options and sit-down restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs serving up everything from gourmet burgersand barbecue to authentic ramen, tacos, dumplings and Italian meatballs. Sliding walls and rotating signage enable venues to change as the day progresses.Even the casual cafes have iPad ordering stations, where you can both request and pay for meals.
If you're thirsty, head to Caps Brewery, which serves up more than 50 local and international brews,Oneo Wine Bar, Proof Whiskey Bar or Tacquila, where you can choose from more than 200 types of tequila.
If that's not enough to relax you or you have an extralong layover, you might want to check out the eco-friendly Departure Spa, where services includemanicures, pedicures, massages, facials and haircuts.
Given the partnership between the two airlines, it's possible that qualifying Air New Zealand passengers may be able to use the United lounges at the airport. The Polaris lounge is particularly well-equppied, with daybeds, a table-service dining area and rainfall shower suites.
Getting to and from the airport
The cheapest way to get to and from Newark is to take the AirTrain monorail, which connects passengers with NJ TRANSIT, PATH and Amtrak services at Newark Liberty International Airport Station. Ittakes about 30 minutes to get to Pennsylvania (Penn) Station in Manhattan, which connects to the New York City subway system.
Taxis, ride-share services such as Uber, an express bus and car hire are also available.
Many of the hotels within the vicinity of the airport, such as the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, offer free shuttle services.
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You can catch public transport or a taxi or ride-share service from Newark to Manhattan.
Air NZ's planned service to New York
Air New Zealand is set to launch a new service from Auckland to Newark Liberty International Airport from October 29, 2020.
The national carrier will fly the new route three times a week year-round under its flagship NZ1 southbound and NZ2 northbound flight numbers.
The New York service replaces the Los-Angles-London route, set to end in October 2020.
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