New Zealand airlines can begin packing passengers in again with social distancing no longer required on board domestic flights. Air New Zealand’s website has updated its travel advisories to reflect the change that comes into effect at midnight (local time) on September 14.
At the same time, the airline is has announced a sale to get Kiwis back in the air. Air New Zealand is offering 180,000 seats on flights around New Zealand for less than US$35.
“This is our way of saying thanks to our customers for their support over the past few months,” Air New Zealand CEO, Greg Foran, told NewsHub today.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Not everything is back to normal on Air New Zealand
If the thought of been squeezed into 18B on an Air New Zealand Airbus for the run down to Wellington makes you all nostalgic for 2019, not everything is back to normal.
“The usual inflight food and beverage services on all domestic flights will not be available. If you are after a drink of water, please let your crew member know, and they will be able to assist. Our Koru Hour services will also be put on hold until further notice,” says the Air New Zealand website.
No late afternoon Koru Hours? Oh no. You might think you’ll easily fit in a couple of chilled New Zealand sauv blancs in the lounge before departure, but the Koru Club is only letting in 100 people at a time. This is fine if you are one of the one hundred, but not ideal if you’re not.
Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Government also require passengers to wear a face mask during a flight. The airline would prefer you BYO. But it does have face masks at the boarding gate if passengers do not have one. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed to board.
So it’s still far from normal when it comes to flying in New Zealand.
Jetstar New Zealand back in the air
In the wake of the decision, Jetstar announced it was resuming flights in New Zealand. Jetstar said in a media statement seen by Simple Flying;
“Jetstar has announced today it will resume domestic services in New Zealand from 17 September. The decision comes after it was confirmed that on-board social distancing restrictions will be eased, allowing airlines to utilize the middle seat.”
Jetstar has a difficult relationship with New Zealand. Before the travel downturn, they were a relative minnow compared to Air New Zealand when it came to domestic market share. Around this time last year. Jetstar announced it was exiting regional routes in New Zealand.
Jetstar’s problem is that while Kiwis appreciate the downward pressure the airline puts on prices, invariably they’ll opt to jump aboard an Air New Zealand flight. Earlier this year, Jetstar suspended all their remaining mainline flying in New Zealand as the travel restrictions began to bite. Then mid-year, Jetstar’s mainline jet services resumed again, only to be suspended again four weeks ago.
By the end of the week, Jetstar will be running at around 60% of its 2019 capacity. The airline will offer 75 flights across six routes in New Zealand. Jetstar Group CEO, Gareth Evans said in the media statement.
“We’re really pleased to get our planes and our people back in the sky, right in time for school holidays so we can help reconnect family and friends across the country.”
Jetstar will let you have your own personal Koru Hour on their flights. Only you’ll have to be organized. Food and drink need to be pre-ordered and paid for at least 24 hours in advance. Better than nothing.