China Airlines begins flying between Sydney and Auckland from today, 29 October, adding to the list of business class options for trans-Tasman travellers.
Emirates, Air New Zealand and LAN already tick that box, with full business class (and First on Emirates) up front plus more room in economy, due to their use of larger aircraft than the Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s that make up the majority of the route's traffic.
A proper meal and touchscreen on-demand inflight entertainment are extra bonuses.
On board China Airlines' Airbus A330-300 you'll find 30 angled lie-flat seats in business class in a 2-2-2 configuration (down the back, it's 2-4-2 in economy).
With only four flights per week this isn't a schedule made for the time-pressed traveller, but introductory fares of A$388 one-way in economy and $692 in business (available from flightsflights.com.au for some flights in October and November) will tempt budget-conscious passengers.
The China Airlines flights run on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
CI51 departs Sydney at 1240, arriving in Auckland at 1750; CI52 leaves Auckland at 1900, getting into Sydney at 2030.
The Sydney-bound flight will be especially useful since it's the last Auckland-Sydney service of the day -- think of it as an insurance policy if your meeting (or Auckland's infamous traffic) delays you.
As a SkyTeam alliance member, you can credit your miles to any of China Airlines' SkyTeam partner airlines. However, as SkyTeam doesn't have Australian partners, your miles are probably best off heading into a Delta SkyMiles account for eventual redemption within the US or on Virgin Australia.
China Airlines also flies three times weekly between Brisbane and Auckland as part of its Taipei-Auckland service, which stops in Queensland en route.