Air New Zealand / United combo to get to New Zealand from Philly cheaper than we have ever seen it. Pair that with the fact that Air NZ has some of the cheapest board bag fees and you have a serious shot to score some great Fall (our Spring) surf on the North Island.
Philadelphia to New Zealand (with a single stop) routinely runs $1500+ — these cheap surf flights save 77% and get you there with One Stop on Air New Zealand.
So this is absolutely a price mistake. That being said I just got back from a $368 RT trip to Greece that was ALSO a price mistake (but got honored). That doesn't mean you will 100% score, but it does 100% mean you should give it a shot and see what happens.
As a reminder all U.S. Travel sites are required to let you cancel your fight within 24 hours free of charge. That means you can snag this one NOW before they kill it, and take some time to decide whether or not you really can make it happen.
Just wait a little (2 weeks or so) before booking your hotel etc to make sure.
Surfboard Bag Fees
As mentioned a lot of the cheapest flight options have your connection to the west coast on United (where you then pickup Air New Zealand to Auckland). The ones I would look to book are badged as Air New Zealand, but operated by United.
The key here is that Air New Zealand has surfboard bags / coffins under 6'5'' for free. Not only that but I have see people fly with bigger stuff and not get hassled. United is a different story as Surfboard Bags run $150 each way (Ugh).
While I don't think you can argue your way out of baggage fees entirely (United charged $25/$35) you MAY be able to argue them down a bit on this if you buy the flight that is badged as Air New Zealand. Particularly if you go the extra mile and book on Air New Zealand's site.
Worst case scenario you have to pay to get your boards to the west coast adding $300 to your total bringing you in at $653 Round-Trip with boards.
Exchange Rate 40% Bonus
So as another option I figured I would mention that the U.S. dollar currently gets you roughly a 40% bonus down in New Zealand. That's roughly the same as my last trip and just like this board bag fees were nuts.
I ended up not bringing my decks and just bought a board down there (since the exchange was so good). Got a brand new HIC, performance fins, track pad, leash and form fit bag for $400USD out the door.
Not a bad option since you then cut your board bag fees down to just the $150 to bring it back. Plus no haggling with United hah
That 40% off knocks down your Hotel, Food Costs, Car — EVERYTHING is dramatically cheaper.
Note the $1600 price (which is what they ALL normally cost) below the cheap one...