Air New Zealand is giving travel-loving kiwis a new option when it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID. For one day only, the airline is offering local avgeeks the chance to experience its Dreamliner firsthand and get jabbed simultaneously. The event will take place on what’s being dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – October 16th – as New Zealand pushes hard to up its vaccination rate.
Take a ‘jabaseat’
Air New Zealand is offering Auckland avgeeks a unique opportunity to get protected against COVID with added benefits. The airline has taken one of its 787 Dreamliners and set it up to be a pop-up vaccination clinic. Based at Auckland Airport, the 787 will welcome those looking to get both their first and second vaccinations onboard on Saturday, October 16th.
Destination vaccination ✈️ We're transforming a 787 aircraft into a special vaccination clinic, 'Jabaseat', to encourage Aucklanders to get vaccinated this Super Saturday 💜 More info here: https://t.co/C9kLZ7LBWo #GetReadyForTakeOff pic.twitter.com/vGhkpMeaXi
— Air New Zealand✈️ (@FlyAirNZ) October 13, 2021
Dubbed ‘Super Saturday,’ this weekend will see New Zealand’s biggest ever push towards increasing vaccination rates. This national day for action will see various vaccine clinics popping up across the country, open for drop-in visitors all day and, for some, into the evening too.
But for those wanting to receive their dose onboard Air New Zealand’s plane, pre-booking is essential. The airline is planning to give people their shots in its comfortable business class cabin, moving them to economy for the mandatory waiting period, with snacks and Air New Zealand hospitality on hand. In a statement, the airline said,
“People will board through the front door into Business Premier, where they will receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine in their arm of choice. Vaccines will be administered by Tāmaki Health. They will then move through the cabin into Economy where a snack service will commence while they wait to disembark after the observation period.”
Dubbed the ‘jabaseat flight – destination vaccination,’ visitors will also be able to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at an aircraft hangar, and will receive a special boarding pass to commemorate the occasion. Face masks will be used throughout the experience, and physical distancing will be in place for safety.
No jab, no fly
Air New Zealand came out earlier this month with one of the industry’s first clear policies on post-pandemic flying. From February 2022, anyone traveling internationally with the airline will be required to be fully vaccinated before being allowed to board. This includes both those traveling to New Zealand from elsewhere, and applies to all passengers over the age of 18.
New Zealand has done a sterling job in managing the pandemic, with only 4,760 confirmed cases and 28 deaths. Swift border closures and lockdowns kept its citizens safe, but has also led to a sense of apathy about the vaccine. According to Our World In Data, only just over 50% of the population are fully vaccinated to date.
While New Zealanders likely feel cushioned from the impact of COVID that has been experienced elsewhere, the roadmap out of the crisis is becoming clear. Many countries are keenly looking to open their borders only to nations with high vaccination rates, and in order to ‘live with the virus’ as PM Jacinda Arden described it previously, getting needles in arms is crucial to New Zealand getting back to normality.