Air NZ announces Chicago route

Air New Zealand has confirmed a new non-stop service between Auckland and Chicago.

Speculation about an announcement regarding flights to Chicago skyrocketed after the airline hosted Barack Obama who comes from Chicago.

The airline will fly to the largest city in the state of Illinois three times a week on a newly configured Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The flight time will be Air New Zealand's longest at 15 hours northbound and just over 16 hours coming home.

The advantage for travellers is that Chicago's O'Hare airport operates as United Airlines' hub with more flights out of Chicago than any other airline to around 100 destinations across North America.

As part of the announcement, fellow Star Alliance airline United will make its service between Auckland and San Francisco year-round rather than seasonal.

Flights to Chicago on Air New Zealand and United's expanded Auckland-San Francisco service are on sale today.