San Francisco, CA - A San Francisco Giants fan and their companion who whisked away from AT&T Park on Friday night to board an Air New Zealand flight for a 'Giant New Zealand Weekend' return to the ball park today to share their incredible experience.
Bay Area resident, Thuy Thi Le and her boyfriend, Kim Dang, were declared the winners of a unique Air New Zealand sweepstake at the top of the first inning during the San Francisco Giants vs Arizona Diamondbacks game at AT&T Park on July 19 and immediately departed for the airport - and the trip of a lifetime.
The pair enjoyed an overnight flight in Air New Zealand's lay flat Business Premier seats and woke up in Auckland for an exhilarating day of activities which gave them a taste of some of the great things New Zealand has to offer, before boarding another overnight flight to bring them back home to San Francisco.
During their whirlwind experience the pair was treated to private helicopter transportation between locations as they dined, jumped, sipped and zipped their way through picturesque New Zealand landscape and memorable experiences.
The Giants partnered with Air New Zealand to challenge their fans to tweet why they should be chosen to take the direct Air New Zealand flight to Auckland for the 'Giant New Zealand Weekend.'
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon, who was in San Francisco for the event, said, "Market research shows Americans tend to overestimate the amount of time it takes to get to New Zealand. The reality is that it's a comfortable 12-hour overnight flight. You can jump on board, enjoy a great meal of New Zealand food and wine, go to sleep and wake up in Auckland. The Air New Zealand 'Giant New Zealand Weekend' was the perfect way to show San Franciscans how accessible New Zealand is."
After arriving in Auckland; the winners headed to check out the incredible view from New Zealand's tallest building, the Sky Tower. They then boarded their private helicopter to depart Auckland and fly over the breathtaking scenery of Waikato and the Rotorua thermal region, including spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu and Hobbiton.
The pair landed at an exclusive luxury lodge for a gourmet lunch before flying north again to Waiheke Island, home to boutique vineyards, olive groves and adventure activities. They explored the island without their feet touching the ground via Ecozip, one of the island's eco-friendly tourist attractions.The final stop was at one of Waiheke Island's premier vineyard restaurants to sample fine wine and canapés before a short helicopter transfer back to Auckland International Airport and their direct Air New Zealand flight home to San Francisco.
"This was truly a GIANT weekend experience I will never forget," said Thuy. "From the breathtaking views of Auckland atop the Sky Tower, the serene atmosphere of Huka Lodge in Taupo, the wild and crazy zip lining adventure on Waiheke Island, and the magnificent wineries dotted throughout, New Zealand truly has something for everybody. Now knowing it's only a 12-hour flight from San Francisco, I am definitely going back to reunite with our fellow Kiwis and new whanau*!"
In addition to the grand prize, four Giants fans also won trips for two to New Zealand as lucky seat prizes and all fans in attendance received up to $500 off their return Air New Zealand flights from San Francisco to Auckland. Giants fans also learned more about New Zealand and Kiwi culture via a series of entertaining scoreboard features shown during Friday night's game.
The Giants partnership is part of a broader Air New Zealand campaign to promote destination New Zealand to Northern Californians as an exciting vacation destination. Air New Zealand flies daily between San Francisco and Auckland with convenient connections to a range of domestic New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Islands destinations.
* Maori word for family.