Matteo Colombo

Now it's easier—and cheaper—than ever to take a trip to Hobbiton. 

It's now cheaper than ever to book a flight to New Zealand, thanks to a little healthy competition amongst airlines. 

This week, American Airlines announced that it would begin non-stop service from its Los Angeles hub to New Zealand in June 2016. In doing so, it became the first airline to compete with Air New Zealand since Qantas ended service on that route in 2012.

Travelers are winning all-around since the news broke, as the Kiwi carrier slashed its rates from May through August to $328 in response.

Last month, United also tossed its hat into the Auckland ring—they’ll be servicing New Zealand with nonstop flights, three times a week, from San Francisco starting in 2016.

Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s CEO, told the New Zealand Herald, “We’re ready for [the competition] and we look forward to it.”

If you’ve been waiting for a reason to visit the land of the hobbits, there’s no better time than next summer. 

UPDATE, 11/23/15: Air New Zealand confirms that all $328 fares have sold out.

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