About your adventure
Depart from Christchurch on your chosen adventure date at 7pm on your Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. With windows 30% larger than any other Boeing wide bodied aircraft, the plane lends itself to the best viewing opportunities possible.
Aboard you will experience unparalleled viewing of the magical Aurora Australis. Enjoy full Air New Zealand service – including premium drinks, delicious meals, and access to full inflight entertainment when outside the Aurora zone.
The duration of the flight is approximately 10 hours, and the Aurora can typically be seen after about two and a half hours flying – it’s an experience like no other. Viewing of the Aurora is an exciting experience, but it is important to note that there is a difference between viewing the Aurora with the naked eye versus what the camera captures. Striking images and videos of the Aurora that you may have seen are captured thanks to the extreme sensitivity of modern digital cameras. To help guests we will have a photographer onboard who can assist you in getting the best possible results. If you are an avid photographer or astronomer, we highly recommend you choose a premium seat or book a full row in economy to guarantee window access throughout the duration of the flight.
Guests should be aware that once in the Aurora zone the cabin lights will be turned off to enable best viewing. Cabin crew will not be able to move through the cabins with their trolleys to serve drinks. However you can access these at any time by moving to one of the galley areas on the plane where cabin crew will be waiting and will have light so they can safely provide your beverage. Also note that onboard this special flight people will be moving around the different cabins as they interact with our astronomy team. This is a fun and
exciting experience, please approach it with an open mind.
Your hosts onboard include Dr Ian Griffin, an astronomer who has been Director of the Otago Museum since 2013. Originally from the UK, after falling in love with the clear dark skies of the Otago Peninsula he became a NZ citizen in 2018. A self-described aurora fanatic, Ian has led four successful Air NZ charter flights into the southern auroral zone. On the two most recent Southern Lights by Flight in March 2021 passengers enjoyed more than four hours of Auroral displays as the aircraft flew thousands of kilometres south of New Zealand. Ian has also photographed the southern lights during five flights on NASA’s SOFIA Observatory.
Along with Dr Ian Griffin, some of New Zealand’s most experienced and knowledgeable astronomers and educators who are experts in their field and
they love chasing Auroras. Working alongside Dr Ian Griffin, the planes pilots and navigators our astronomers will help plan our flight path and assist the pilots to navigate the flight to the most active areas of the Southern Lights. Further, we will have a team of astro photographers onboard, who will take photos of the Aurora so we can share these images with you at no additional cost. The astro photographers will also be there to assist you with any photography questions you may have, please be sure to familiarise yourself with camera settings before coming onboard.