Airlines compete to get you to California cheaper

Airlines compete to get you to California cheaper

With temperatures hovering around 0degC, you'd be forgiven for dreaming of a summer holiday.

If you're in the mood for a bit of Californian sunshine, now's the time to buy your ticket.

In the early hours of this morning, United Airlines' first Dreamliner service touched down in Auckland.

And just one week ago, United's main competitor, American Airlines, was being welcomed in Auckland too, in a meeting of cultures - a haka welcoming the Americans. Kiwis were given an all-American experience too, with hot dogs and cheerleaders.

The arrival of the two new airlines marks a massive change in trans-Pacific travel, which until recently had been dominated by Air New Zealand. With increased competition comes cheaper fares, you'd hope.

"Someone once said that the airline business is the most civilised form of warfare," says United Airlines' David Hilfman. "There's so much competition."

"Fuel is a lot cheaper, and modern aircraft means that New Zealand is a very attractive market for these airlines," says Auckland International Airport's Adrian Littlewood.

In 2012, an average return fare to Los Angeles cost around $1700. Today that's more likely to be around $1000, and it could get lower.

The advice from travel agents is to keep your eyes open. You could grab a real bargain.

"It's been as cheap as $799 recently, so it's definitely come down, and there's always specials," says Flight Centre's David Coombes.

Both American Airlines and United are flying state-of-the-art Boeing Dreamliners, which can operate onboard Wi-Fi throughout the flight, but with prices getting this low, tweeting from on board may just be the icing on the cake.