Chicago. A vibrant city known for its architecture, its deep-dish pizza, its museums, Wrigley Field and the most surprising thing of all – that bluer-than-blue expanse of Lake Michigan with its pretty beaches.
The other surprising thing is that a great way to get to Chicago is with Air New Zealand – direct from Auckland. You read it right – direct from Auckland. For Australians, it is a seamless connection in and out of the same terminal and if eligible, passengers can relax in the Air New Zealand lounge.
Operating three flights per week with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, you have the choice of Economy, Economy Skycouch™, Premium Economy and Business Premier™.
Having recently flown in Business Premier on an Air New Zealand Dreamliner, the flight to Chicago would indeed be a dream. Business Premier has 18 seats configured in three rows of one in a herringbone style. The gorgeous pale leather seats are extremely comfortable, with a black leather ottoman that becomes part of the lie-flat- bed (one of the longest in the sky) – complete with two pillows – when time for bed. There is a very large table that slides up and out from a clever compartment in the side wall, storage for phones or passports under the left armrest, and as soon as I have stored my bibs and bobs in the various hidey holes, I am straight onto the entertainment system to watch a movie. The gate-to-gate system is exactly that, meaning you can watch movies or TV shows from go to whoa. As for the onboard meal and wine service, it is spectacular. In fact I still salivate at the memory of the lamb shank I inhaled, as well as the passion fruit and lemon curd ice cream with mango sauce and lemon meringue. As for wine, it is from New Zealand so no more needs to be said.
Premium Economy is also uber comfy, with the largest seat pitch in its class and the seat has 50% more recline than Economy.
After you arrive, well rested and relaxed from the flight, the delights of Chicago await. One tour that you should not miss is the Chicago Architecture Foundation cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady. The 90-minute tour glides along all three branches of the Chicago River, under 13 bridges, with the commentary highlighting some of the many historic buildings along the way. The cruises run between March and November.
Go watch the Cubs play at historic Wrigley Field, catch the ‘L’ train out to Armitage, head to Grant Park and Instagram yourself in front of ‘The Bean’, show your respect at the Agora sculptures and admire the Frank Gehry-designed stage. Shop till you drop along the Magnificent Mile, spend hours in the Museum of Science and Industry and the acclaimed Art Institute of Chicago, and head up to the 103rd floor of the 412-metre Willis Tower for jaw-dropping views over the city and some of the 41 kms of sandy beaches on that gorgeous lake. For something really special, go out on The Ledge – glass boxes that hang out from the side of the building.
In addition to the Chicago flight, Air New Zealand continues to fly into Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Honolulu in the US, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Vancouver in Canada.