Air New Zealand no longer requires social distancing, reopens most lounges

With the complete lifting of domestic travel restrictions in New Zealand, the country’s flagship carrier has revealed what to expect when flying Air New Zealand at “Alert Level 1”. The new measures have been shared to prep passengers for the months ahead and the “new norm” on board, and hopefully let Aussies know what to expect if/when the highly touted Trans-Tasman bubble becomes a reality.

“Social distancing is no longer a requirement, unaccompanied minors will once again be able to travel domestically, and customers will be able to travel around New Zealand again with pets as checked baggage,” said Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Nikki Goodman, who flags a return to normal given that New Zealand has successfully stamped out community transmission and is currently free of any known cases.

Customers are still being encouraged to take sensible planning measures such as checking in online to save time at the airport and allowing for plenty of time to process through the airport given the expected surge in domestic travel.

“As we’ve adapted our processes to support customers through Alert Level 2, we’ve gained some great insight into changes that we will adopt going forward, and customers can expect to see some of these as they travel,” adds Goodman, who has also highlighted the reopening of all domestic lounges except for the ones at Auckland Domestic, given its currently being refurbished, as well as Wellington and Christchurch regional lounges.

Those checking into Air New Zealand lounges across the country can expect to see the return of hot food as well as pre-proportioned options at the buffet.

On board, customers will enjoy food and beverage services as normal, given it already resumed under Alert Level 2. Koru Hour, which is the onboard snack service, will remain off the cards for now but the airline is currently working with suppliers to bring it back over the coming weeks.

Air New Zealand will continue to take sanitation very seriously, with regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, lounges and airport spaces. Hand sanitiser will continue to be available at various points throughout New Zealand airports, like kiosks, service decks and onboard all aircraft.

“We’re thrilled to welcome more people on board, but please remember to be kind to our frontline employees – and if you are unwell or have Covid-19 symptoms please do not travel.”

The airline plans to operate around 55 percent of its usual domestic capacity (compared to pre-COVID-19 levels) from July and August. On Monday the airline began operating to all 20 of the domestic ports it previously flew to.

More information can be found at the official Air New Zealand website.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.