Air New Zealand's up-and-coming Auckland to Chicago service has been named one of the most exciting new airline routes of 2019 by Lonely Planet.
The travel publishers included Air New Zealand's new offering on its Where to fly in 2019? The 10 most exciting new flight routes list, just two weeks before the inaugural flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on 30 November.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace said it was "terrific" that Lonely Planet had recognised the new link between New Zealand and the American Midwest as a must-do.
"We're experiencing great customer demand for what will be our sixth North American port, which not only opens up a direct link to Chicago, but makes popular East Coast cities such as New York, Washington DC and Boston even more accessible to Kiwi travellers", he said.
"It's also attracting significant numbers of American visitors from the Chicago area and beyond to commit to ticking a trip to New Zealand off their travel bucket list."
The route is set to be Air New Zealand's longest direct service, with a flight time of around 15 hours northbound and just over 16 hours southbound.
It will be operated by the airline's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft three times a week, departing Auckland Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Other routes on Lonely Planet's must-do list include a route between London and Osaka, just in time for the Rugby World Cup, that's a collaboration between British Airways and Japan Airlines, as well two new routes between London and Ukraine, offered by budget airline Ryanair.
British travellers were particularly lucky - six out of the 10 most exciting new routes leave from the United Kingdom.
Lonely Planet's 10 most exciting new flight routes
• London Heathrow to Osaka, Japan (British Airways/Japan Airlines)
•London Gatwick to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Norwegian Airlines)
•London Heathrow to Charleston, South Carolina (British Airways)
•London Gatwick to Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine (Ryanair)
•London Stansted to Burgas, Bulgaria (Jet2)
•Manchester and London Gatwick to Rijeka, Croatia (TUI Airlines)
•Auckland International Airport to Chicago, Illinois (Air New Zealand)
•Philadelphia to Bologna, Italy (American Airlines)
•Philadelphia to Dubrovnik, Croatia (American Airlines)
•Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Guayaquil, Ecuador (JetBlue)