Air New Zealand cabin crew share tips for travellers flying to New York on airline's longest route yet

Air New Zealand is set to mark a major milestone over the weekend with its first ever non-stop flight to New York.

It will take off from Auckland this Saturday, kickstarting the airline's new flagship route.

"New York is just a hop skip and jump to Europe. So we've just opened up the world to come to us," Air NZ flight attendant Peggy Bourne told Newshub. 

Joining her on board the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be more than 250 passengers and 12 other crew.

"Eighteen months ago, these aircraft were just flying cargo," in-flight service manager Briar Fredericksen told Newshub.

"This is huge. It's massive for Air NZ, it's massive for New Zealand."

The flight will be the longest non-stop route that Air NZ operates. All up, it takes around 16 hours northbound, but it's even longer on the way back - with the southbound journey taking just over 17.5 hours. 

That's a long time up in the air - so what are their top tips for travellers when it comes to ultra long-haul flights?

"Water, water, water and more water!" Peggy said. "Because you dehydrate so fast up in the aircraft."

And if you're wondering if flight attendants get to rest, the answer is yes.

"Half the crew stay on, looking after all the cabins and making sure the customers are all looked after, and half the crew go upstairs into a little tiny bunk area where we have rest."

While passengers will be travelling to the city that never sleeps, Air NZ recommends getting some shut eye on the way there.

"We really want to make sure they're safe, they get to New York really well rested, and ready to take on that massive city," Fredericksen said. 

When they finally touch down, Fredericksen already knows which moment will stand out.

"To see our koru in New York - all the other aircraft lined up and all those tails there, and seeing this amazing black tail with a koru on it - it doesn't get any better than that."

It's a dream that will very soon become a reality.

After the special inaugural flight leaves at 4pm on Saturday, Air NZ's regular non-stop Auckland-New York schedule starts on September 19.

From then on NZ1 will depart New York every Monday, Thursday and Saturday evening at 9:55pm, and NZ2 will depart Auckland every Monday, Thursday and Saturday evening at 7:40pm.