Price check: New Zealand Christmas airfares on track to be the cheapest in decades

Even Santa himself is tempted.
Even Santa himself is tempted. Photo credit: Getty Images

It looks like this Christmas may offer the cheapest to travel in a very long time with Auckland - Christchurch airfares selling for as low as $39 on days which are usually the busiest, most crowded and most expensive time of the year.

Analysis by Newshub of both the Air New Zealand and Jetstar websites taken simultaneously on Friday morning revealed Jetstar has a much lower average airfare for the Christmas period with Auckland - Christchurch one-way for $87 compared to Air NZ's $123 on the same route.

Prices were compared on dates considered to be some of the busiest at Auckland International Airport: December 17 - 27 and January 2 -12.

For this analysis, we looked at the cheapest airfare from each day. Air NZ offers fully refundable or changeable tickets at a higher price.

On flights to Auckland from Christchurch, the average prices were much closer, with Air NZ's average airfare being $95 compared to Jetstars $55.

However, it wasn't the price which proved to be the biggest difference between the two airlines over the Christmas period, it was the number of flights.

On some days Air NZ has as many as 17 flights scheduled between Auckland and Christchurch, allowing them to essentially operate an hourly service. However, on some days Jetstar has as few as two flights available on the same route.

The more daily flights, the more options a traveller has as to what time of the day they want to fly. It also means you're more likely to be able to be catered for should any of the flights need to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Across the sample period, Jetstar has 124 flights scheduled between Auckland and Christchuch, while Air NZ has 329.

As for the cheapest days to fly, as of Friday, departing Auckland for Christchurch on December 19, 20, 21 and returning on either January 6 or 11 will cost $176 return on Air NZ and $99 return on Jetstar. 

These return fares are comfortably half the cost of what one-way Christmas airfares were before the COVID-19 pandemic.