Air New Zealand cabin crew may soon be using augmented reality

Microsoft HoloLens

In-flight service may soon be getting an augmented reality boost, at least as far as Air New Zealand is concerned.

The airline has been exploring the possibility of developing unique software for Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality viewer with technology service provider Dimension Data.

The aim is to create a system by which cabin crew would be able to see important passenger information displayed in front of their eyes as they carry out tasks. Preferred meal and drinks choices, for example, as well as loyalty membership details, onward travel information and other details.

That’s not all. According to the airline, the technology is apparently even able to pick up on passenger emotions using audio and visual cues. Whether this is aimed solely at anticipating customer needs or more broadly towards helping cabin staff identify potentially disruptive passengers and diffuse tense exchanges remains to be seen.

“This software is a great example of us collaborating with other partners and exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalisation,” said Avi Golan, the airline’s chief digital officer.

Augmented reality remains a relatively new and underused tool within the travel sector, though there have been some recent developments. Among these are testing an augmented reality platform called Tango at San Jose International Airport, developed by Google, that was demoed by British Airways following the launch of its London-San Jose route.

Air New Zealand deploying new B787-9 Dreamliner to Houston

Air New Zealand B777-200ER _916

Air New Zealand’s Auckland-Houston service will be the first to see its new-configuration B787-9 Dreamliners, which have been set up to offer a greater number of premium seats at the cost of overall capacity.

The airline will be switching out the route’s existing B777-200ER with the new variation Dreamliner starting December 8 this year, a representative from the airline has confirmed with Business Traveller.

Compared with Air New Zealand’s current Dreamliners, these new-layout iterations cut the number of economy seats from 263 to 215, but up the number of Business Premier seats from 21 to 27, and premium economy seats from 21 to 33. Seat pitch in economy and premium economy is also slightly improved compared to the model’s current layouts, with each getting about an inch extra space.

What this will mean for travellers on the Auckland-Houston route is an extra Business Premier seat compared with the B777-200ER. This, however, comes at a price – seven fewer premium economy and 31 fewer economy class seats per flight. Overall capacity on the route per flight will decrease by 37 seats.

Air New Zealand has three of the reconfigured B787-9 Dreamliners on order, with the first due to be received this October.

There is also a good possibility these new Dreamliners will feature in-flight wifi, which Air New Zealand announced back in October 2016 that it would begin rolling out on its jet services towards the end of this year. A pricing structure for the on-board connectivity has yet to be released, though a business model is expected to be announced in the first half of 2017.

Air New Zealand will fly the new Dreamliner on its NZ028/NZ029 Auckland-Houston service year-round, with daily flights during peak season.

Air New Zealand’s revamped Melbourne Lounge opens tomorrow

Air New Zealand's renovated Melbourne Airport lounge

Air New Zealand’s recently renovated Melbourne International Airport lounge will be opened to the public starting Tuesday, May 9, following an extensive overhaul and expansion that has seen its seating capacity grow by about 50 percent.

The ground-floor lounge has been designed by architectural firm Gensler and design firm Marsen Collective, with the overall style following that of Air New Zealand’s lounge at Sydney International Airport. The revamped Melbourne lounge has been split into five separate areas with focuses on work, relaxing or refreshment. Among the facilities are a self-service food buffet, two self-service drink stations and a barista station.

The enhancement of the lounge at Melbourne International is part of a wider four-year plan that has seen the carrier pour NZ$100 million into the development of its lounge network.

“The airline has been investing heavily in the Australian market and promoting its services through its ‘Better Way to Fly’ campaign starring Dave the goose, which encourages Australians to travel Air New Zealand to North and South America,” said the airline’s general manager customer experience, Anita Hawthorne.

The revamped Melbourne lounge, which the airline says offers about 50 percent greater seating capacity with space for 250 people, follows the opening of a slew of new lounges elsewhere across Australia and New Zealand. These include the aforementioned Sydney lounge as well as its spaces in Brisbane, Auckland, Nadi, Wellington, Queenstown, Hamilton and Invercargill.

“It’s also clear Australians love the Air New Zealand products and services after recently taking out the number one spot in AMR’s 2017 Australia Corporate Reputation Index so we look forward to welcoming customers to our new lounge.”

In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Launching second half of 2017

Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.



Available to all classes

B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

Cathay Pacific



Available to all classes

US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

China Airlines


Available to all classes

B777-300ER, A350

TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

Eva Air


Available to all classes

B777-300ER (select aircraft)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

Garuda Indonesia


Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

Japan Airlines


B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

Korean Air


Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

Malaysia Airlines


Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

Philippine Airlines


Available to all classes

Select aircraft on international flights

US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.


Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Available to all classes on domestic flights

One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018


Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

Singapore Airlines


A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Available to all classes

Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

Thai Airways


Available to all classes

A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

Virgin Australia

Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Available to all classes

One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

Cathay Pacific to begin direct flights between Hong Kong and Christchurch

Cathay Pacific A350

Cathay Pacific (CX) will introduce a seasonal service between Hong Kong and Christchurch from December 1, 2017 until February 28, 2018.

The new service will directly link the two cities by air for the first time.

The non-stop Christchurch service will operate three times a week, with an A350 being used to serve the route.

Flight schedule is as follows:

Flight no From To Departure/Arrival Days of operation
CX123 HKG CHC 2045/1255+1


Wed, Sun, Fri
CX126 CHC HKG 1425/2055


Mon, Thu, Sat

The service will join CX current seasonal double daily flights to Auckland and Air New Zealand’s daily service between Hong Kong and Auckland.

Tickets for the new route will go on sale later this week via both CX and Air New Zealand websites.

Cathay Pacific has expanded its long-haul network significantly recently. In March, the airline will commence a four-times-weekly service to Tel Aviv, while July sees the introduction of a four-times-weekly seasonal operation to Barcelona. These new services follow the addition of both Madrid and Gatwick in 2016.

The two airlines have also announced they will extend their strategic alliance partnership on services between Hong Kong and New Zealand for a further five years until 2022. and

What are Asia-Pacific’s most punctual airlines?

Delayed traveller

Each year, air travel intelligence company OAG publishes its Punctuality League report assessing the on-time performance (OTP) results for the world’s airlines and airports.

This year’s report – tracking the punctuality of flights across the world throughout 2016 – drew upon the largest-ever number of flights tracked in a single year. Approximately 54 million flight records using full-year data from 2016 were used in the compilation of OAG’s 2016 assessment.

What constitutes an on-time flight? According to OAG, any flight that departs or arrives within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled time is considered on time. Cancellations are also included in the report.

With that in mind, here’s a look at OAG’s findings and the most on-time carriers from across Asia-Pacific in 2016.

1. Qantas

Main hubs: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Airports
OTP in 2016: 87.56 per cent
2015 ranking: 4
OTP vs. 2015: +0.52 percentage points

Taking the number one spot this year, Qantas managed an impressive climb from fourth to first versus its 2015 ranking. Its OTP score of 87.56 per cent also saw it rank fourth among all airlines in OAG’s assessment, behind Hawaiian Airlines, Copa Airlines and KLM – itself an impressive increase from its 2015 position as 15th most punctual airline in the world.

2. Japan Airlines

Main hubs: Tokyo (Haneda and Narita International Airports)
OTP in 2016: 86.74 per cent
2015 ranking: 1
OTP vs. 2015: -3.7 percentage points

The top Japanese airline in OAG’s 2016 report, Japan Airlines slid this year from the number one best Asia-Pacific airline spot that it had secured in 2014 and 2015. That said, the Japanese carrier remains a highly reliable airline, taking the number five spot just below Qantas when looking at all airlines globally. And according to independent aviation performance tracker Flightstats Inc., the carrier achieved an on-time arrival rate of 87.33 per cent in 2016, a figure that cemented its position as Asia-Pacific’s best major international airline in both mainland and network by Flightstats.

3. Singapore Airlines

Main hub: Singapore Changi Airport
OTP in 2016: 85.19 per cent
2015 ranking: 7
OTP vs. 2015: +0.88 percentage points

Singapore Airlines (SIA) achieved the largest OTP increase of any returning top-ten Asia-Pacific airline from 2015, improving its punctuality by 0.88 percentage points. This increase resulted in an impressive jump from seventh to third among Asia-Pacific carriers for reliable arrival and departure times – an impressive feat.

4. All Nippon Airways
Main hubs: Tokyo (Haneda and Narita International Airports)
OTP in 2016: 84.71 per cent
2015 ranking: 2
OTP vs. 2015: -4.94 percentage points

Of all the airlines to make it to the top ten list in 2016, All Nippon Airways (ANA) operated the highest number of flights – though OAG notes that, while there are other Asia-Pacific airlines that are larger, none had a high enough OTP to make it into the top ten. Overall, ANA had a capacity of 73,444,281 (arrivals) and a frequency of 359,075 (arrivals), with Singapore Airlines coming second with over 20 million less capacity and about 80,000 behind ANA in terms of frequency.

5. Virgin Australia
Main hubs: Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Airports
OTP in 2016: 84.52 per cent
2015 ranking: 3
OTP vs. 2015: -4.04 percentage points

The second Australian carrier to make the top ten Asia-Pacific airlines list, Virgin Australia slid in the rankings this year slightly, dropping from three to five. And while the carrier had a lower capacity and frequency than its fellow Australian carrier, Qantas, the airline’s 84.52 per cent OTP makes it among the most reliable for on-time departures and arrivals, achieving the number 14 rank among the top 20 airlines globally by OTP.

6. Fiji Airways

Main hub: Nadi International Airport
OTP in 2016: 81.77 per cent
2015 ranking: N/A
OTP vs. 2015: N/A

One of 2016’s newcomers to the top-ten list, Fiji Airways soared in the rankings to enter at number six in Asia-Pacific. While its OTP of 81.77 per cent is only marginally lower than 2015 newcomers Jet Airways (81.98 per cent) and Skymark Airlines (81.94 per cent), the Fijian carrier’s debut on the top ten list has seen it exceed the number nine and ten positions achieved by last year’s newcomers. Of the ten most punctual airlines of 2016, Fiji Airways operated the lowest capacity (1,922,663 arrivals) and had the lowest frequency (20,492 arrivals) of flights, a fact that has undoubtedly helped the airline maintain a high standard of OTP.

7. Silkair

Main hub: Singapore Changi Airport
OTP in 2016: 81.28 per cent
2015 ranking: N/A
OTP vs. 2015: N/A

The second newcomer to the top ten list this year, regional Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silkair managed an impressive OTP just 3.91 percentage points below its parent carrier. As with fellow newcomer Fiji Airways, its OTP of 81.28 per cent is lower than that of its 2015 newcomer counterparts, though its coverage is the highest among Fiji Airways, Jet Airways and Skymark Airlines.

8. Air New Zealand

Main hubs: Auckland Airport, and Wellington and Christchurch International Airports
OTP in 2016: 79.20 per cent
2015 ranking: 5
OTP vs. 2015: -8.13 percentage points

Despite seeing the largest decrease in OTP from its 2015 performance of all top ten airlines in Asia-Pacific this year, Air New Zealand nevertheless managed to hold on to its position as one of the top ten airlines in Asia-Pacific for punctuality. That said, its 2016 OTP of 79.20 per cent did see it drop out of the top 20 airlines globally this year, having previously managed to achieve the number 18 spot in 2015.

9. Thai Airasia

Main hub: Don Mueang International Airport (Bangkok)
OTP in 2016: 78.60 per cent
2015 ranking: 8
OTP vs. 2015: -5.68 percentage points

While Thai Airasia did drop in the Asia-Pacific rankings by one place, the budget carrier has managed to hold on to its title as the most on-time low-cost carrier in Asia-Pacific. In 2016, Thai Airasia secured the position of ninth most-punctual low-cost airline in the world.

10. Skymark Airlines

Main hub: Tokyo Haneda International Airport
OTP in 2016: 78.32 per cent
2015 ranking: 10
OTP vs. 2015: -3.62 percentage points

One of two newcomers to OAG’s 2015 top ten list (the other, Jet Airways, came ninth), Skymark Airlines was also the only one of the two to retain its top-ten position in 2016 and the only top ten airline to hold on to the same rank it achieved in the previous year’s rankings. Skymark Airlines is a low-cost carrier based out of the Japanese capital’s older Haneda International Airport that flies domestically across the country, and is the third Japanese airline to break into OAG’s top ten this year.

Six creative in-flight safety videos

Air New Zealand's Summer of Safety in-flight video

Air New Zealand has become something of a leader in the field of in-flight safety videos, ever since it unveiled its Lord of the Rings-inspired “An Unexpected Briefing” video in 2012. Now, the airline has just released its newest precautionary film – a star-studded Kiwi-style road trip titled Summer of Safety.

But the southern-hemispheric airline is far from the only carrier to launch interesting, innovative and sometimes purely entertaining in-flight safety videos. Here are six of those released recently:

Turkish Airlines – digital illusions

Released: November 2016

YouTube star Zach King, known for his short magic videos, joined Turkish Airlines last month for its new safety video. In it, the illusionist plays with perspective and video editing to create a safety film that has him fold laptops into pieces of paper, pull a fastened seatbelt through his waist and don a life vest by literally throwing on a t-shirt emblazoned with the image of a life vest.

Air New Zealand – Hollywood

Released: July 2016

Continuing the theme of block-buster movies set by its 2012 safety flick, Air New Zealand developed a Hollywood-themed video earlier this year starring actress Anna Faris (Brokeback Mountain and the Scary Movie franchise) and New Zealand actor Rhys Darby (of Flight of the Conchords fame). Starting as a police action spoof, the video quickly runs the gamut of Hollywood genres, from romance to horror to Western.

Pegasus Airlines – Marvel

Released: June 2015

Another Turkish carrier to make the list, Pegasus Airlines went a similar direction to Air New Zealand, employing the power of Hollywood for its in-flight video, namely the super-human characters from Disney’s Marvel universe. Partnering with Disney Turkey, the airline created a video featuring well-known Marvel characters including Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Loki, Hawkeye and Odin explaining airline safety regulations. Though it should be noted the original Hollywood actors that play the superheroes in Marvel’s blockbuster films did not reprise their roles for the safety demonstration.

American Airlines – Futuristic flying

Released: September 2016

With its sterile white backdrops, mirrored hallways and interactive moving sets, American Airlines’ clip resembles the beginnings of a sci-fi space adventure as much as an airline safety video. Directed by Jeff Tremaine, who’s been behind commercials including Bud Light’s Super Bowl “Up for Whatever” ad, the video was intended to offer passengers a safety demonstration that was “an unexpected treat for the eyes and ears”.

Qantas – In the Outback

Released: February 2016

Much like Air New Zealand’s “Summer of Safety” video, Qantas’ instructional video takes the opportunity to showcase the activities and natural splendour offered by the airline’s host country. Scenarios include a life-jacket demonstration at Bondi Icebergs, brace position demos during a yoga class on Hamilton Island and an emergency slide evacuation at Josephine Falls in Queensland.

Delta Air Lines – Play safely

Released: October 2016

If Pegasus’ Marvel-themed video felt as though it was geared for a more millennial audience, Delta’s video game-themed instructional film is perhaps even more so. Featuring references to modern and classic video game genres, including sports simulators, arcade-style fighting games and 2D platformers, the video is easily among the more creative takes on the traditional safety demo to come out in recent years.

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand to launch ski season night flights

Virgin Australia Crew

Snow-sports enthusiasts travelling Down Under for the 2017 ski season will have increased flight frequency between Australia and New Zealand with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand planning to introduce night flights.

Virgin Australia will operate night services from Queenstown (ZQN) to Brisbane (BNE) on Fridays, from June 23 to July 21, and Sunday, from June 25 to September 17.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand will introduce night services from Queenstown to Sydney (SYD) on Saturday and Sunday from July 1 to July 30.

The increased flight frequencies will bring the number of return services between Australia and Queenstown during the ski season to 38.

“As the popularity of Queenstown grows, particularly during the ski season, we are excited to be offering even more flexible scheduling options for our guests with these new night time Ski Shuttle services,” said Virgin Australia Airlines group executive, John Thomas. “Our new night flights from Queenstown to Brisbane enable Virgin Australia guests to enjoy a full day of skiing or snowboarding before travelling home.”

The enhanced services come following the introduction of the first domestic evening services between Auckland and Queenstown by Air New Zealand in May this year.

Tickets for the new services are currently available.

Details of the additional night flights are as follows:


Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
VA 118 BNE ZQN 1450 2020 Fri, Sun
VA 119 ZQN BNE 2115 2305


Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
NZ 0838 SYD ZQN 1155 1700 Sat, Sun
NZ 0839 ZQN SYD 1800 1920;

Kiwi stars join Air New Zealand in new safety video

Air New Zealand's Summer of Safety video

Having made Hollywood the focus of its previous airline safety video in July, Air New Zealand is back with a new instructional video that sees local New Zealand stars demonstrate airline safety against a backdrop of the country’s Northland region.

Titled “Summer of Safety”, the new clip was inspired by New Zealand road trips and follows actor Jayden Daniels of soap opera Shortland Street fame as he travels Northland’s Bay of Islands and Hokianga regions.

Throughout the short film, Daniels encounters other famous homegrown talents, including supermodel Rachel Hunter and actor Joe Naufahu, who recently appeared in the latest season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones in the role of Khal Moro.

Speaking about the video, Naufahu said: “I join the road trip in Hokianga and travel down to check out New Zealand’s largest living Kauri tree Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua Forest, before cooling off with a swim at Opononi. With dolphins swimming around the set and awe-inspiring sights like Tane Mahuta, Northland is certainly a special place to be – and a world away from Westeros.”

Also making an appearance are stuntwoman Zoe Bell with her sidekick Blossom the British Bulldog, Indycar driver Scott Dixon and pole vaulter Eliza McCartney, who took bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

“One of our goals at Air New Zealand is to inspire visitors to travel beyond the traditional gateways to discover the warm welcome and breathtaking landscapes on offer in our regional destinations,” said the airline’s general manager of global brand and content marketing, Jodi Williams.

“Our safety videos have an impressive global following, collectively attracting more than 100 million views and gaining significant international media exposure. This latest edition is a great opportunity to not only deliver a safety message, but also to showcase the very best of the North to help drive economic benefit for the region.”

Air New Zealand’s new safety video is being rolled out across its fleet starting today.

Air New Zealand to add in-flight wifi

Air New Zealand B777-200ER

Air New Zealand has announced plans to add in-flight wifi connectivity to its aircraft from next year.

Flights between Australia and New Zealand will be the first to see the service from the second half of 2017, with wifi becoming “progressively available on Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of next year”, and domestic services from 2018.

The technology will be supplied by Inmarsat’s new global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with ANZ’s Panasonic Avionics system.

Announcing the service CEO Christopher Luxon said:

“Given Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, we have patiently worked with partners until comfortable that a service which meets the high expectations of our customers is available.

“Proving flights on a partner company test aircraft have now given us the confidence to introduce what we believe will be the world’s most reliable inflight connectivity. Customers will be able to use their social media channels, stay on top of emails and browse the internet.

“Our new system will also allow us to enhance real time features within our state of the art Inflight Entertainment System as well as providing our flight crew with an enhanced ability to manage customer requests related to their ground travel.”

Pricing for the service has not yet been released, but ANZ expects to publish details in the first half of next year.