I am traveling from DFW to AKL, on a one-way flight and will arrive at 8:45am:

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I am trying to get to a different city in New Zealand (such as Christchurch or Wellington, to be decided) on the same day in New Zealand. However these would be on separate tickets using Air New Zealand. Largely due to this site, I am aware that separate tickets come with an extra risk, which is why it probably makes sense to give me a lot of layover time. Furthermore, I am also going to have checked luggage.

However the good news is that Air New Zealand has a lot of options from Auckland to other major cities, with flights leaving almost every hour. If you were a US citizen flying at this time, and not bringing in any complex supplies (e.g., agriculture) that immigration officials might need to inspect, I am wondering:

  • How much of a layover time would you be comfortable with in Auckland, before the next domestic (within New Zealand) flight on a separate ticket? 6 hours? 8 hours? I am thinking of going with 8 hours.
  • What would you do as part of this research for your booking? For example, I was hoping to see the on-time flight statistics from DFW to AKL but it seems like this is a new flight route so there is no performance history (but I could check this when the date gets closer). Another option could be to check and see how many international flights arrive in Auckland that time, and judge the layover time accordingly?

I am aware that there are many factors that come into play, so I'm just hoping to see what your immediate thoughts might be.

  • 2
    Be very very aware that Air New Zealand is in a bit of a state right now, with loads of domestic flights being cancelled at the last minute due to staffing issues.
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 7:01
  • The biggest question is: how much would it cost you if you have to rebook at the last minute? If we’re talking about a few dozen dollars, you could book something with a tighter connection and just rebook if it doesn’t go as planned. Or you could even book two tickets, one for a shorter connection and one for a longer one. But whether those are one-way or return fares also has its importance.
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 8:39

3 Answers 3


6 hours should be plenty.

My personal threshold for self connection is 4 hours. Auckland is not an easy transfer: you need to wait for your bags to come out, clear immigration, customs and bio inspection and than transfer to the domestic terminal, so adding 2 hour seems justifiable.

Be very very aware that Air New Zealand is in a bit of a state right now, with loads of domestic flights being cancelled at the last minute due to staffing issues

This would be Air New Zealand's fault and so you will retain your 2nd ticket. They would just rebook you to a later flight.

  • Retaining the second ticket wasnt the point of my comment….
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 16:19
  • Thanks Hilmar and @Moo for the info. I will check the situation with Air New Zealand as well and come up with backup plans as needed. Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 17:10
  • @Moo: So what do you suggest the OP should do? There aren't a whole lot of alternatives for domestic flights in NZ. Jetstar perhaps ?
    – Hilmar
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 20:19
  • 3
    @Hilmar it was supposed to raise caution about any travel on a timetable - sure, they might honour the ticket for later travel (lots of horror stories about that not happening, and also Air NZs customer services call centres almost always have queues which are 4 or more hours long), but they wont cover hotels etc as its considered the origin due to it being a second ticket. So a fairly decent chance of being stuck in Auckland airport, with no staff available to help, having to find your own onward travel or accommodation etc….
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 20:27
  • As a fairly recent example, I flew out of Auckland airport two days ago (Emirates, wont fly Air NZ) - Air NZs service desk had queues hundreds of people long. And that was the international terminal.
    – user29788
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 20:30

On time statistics at this time are useless because of ongoing staff shortages across the world so past performance is not at all indicative of the future in any way -- it can be significantly worse than a 12 month average or it can be much better than a three month average.

With that said, my rule of thumb for unprotected connections is to prepare for being on the next incoming flight. Or be prepared to buy another, last minute ticket to the destination. This usually means a hotel stay which is just fine by me because usually I am half zombie anyways by the time I deplane from a transoceanic flight and a hot shower and a bed is all I want.


I've done this trip recently (less than 3 weeks ago). Short layover times are stressful. If you don't know how to make the transit through immigration + customs + etc shorter then is better to give you plenty of time. Rule of thumb:

  • 2 hours to get out of international airport
  • 2 hours to give you wiggle room for delayed flights, getting lost, eating, baggage claim delays, etc.
  • 2 hours baggage check-in in any airline

Usually getting out of the International Airport takes less than 2 hours if you arrive in a 5am flight, and there's plenty of time to kill between checking in your bags and getting into the airplane, but is way less stressful than checking time every minute waiting for your bags to show up on the conveyor belt.

My main suggestion would be though, if you know you are using AirNZ for both trips, set your flights directly using their website and let them worry about layover times, you'll get bumped automatically to new flights if the first trip is delayed for whatever reason and you don't have to worry about research or historic data.

  • 1
    Thanks! Agree that it'd be better to use AirNZ for both trips but the first flight (from DFW to AKL) wasn't an option with AirNZ, and the price was extremely low compare to other ways for me to reach AKL. Thanks for the general time recommendations. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 22:19

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