Air New Zealand is rolling out new safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the carrier plans to fly more domestic flights starting today amid the easing of lockdown restrictions in New Zealand.
The airline said on its website that it has been “working hard” to further add to its domestic schedule and will progressively start flying additional routes starting today (May 14). Air New Zealand is planning to fly around 20 per cent of its usual domestic flying capacity (compared to pre-covid-19 levels) with flights to the majority of its domestic airports as New Zealand enters Alert Level 2 – a level that allows domestic travel to restart.
The domestic routes the carrier is flying can be found here.
The new health and safety measures means travelling will look slightly different for passengers flying with the airline during this time.
Social distancing will be introduced onboard. Passengers travelling alone will be seated near empty seats, but the airline said “to keep families and some travelling companions together” passengers may notice some people sitting together with no additional space.
Food and beverage services have been scrapped until at least May 25 on these flights “to minimise contact between customers and cabin crew”. The airline is also removing its inflight magazine Kia Ora and won’t be providing lollies, it said in a statement on its website.
The carrier also said high-touch surfaces will be cleaned regularly and it’s “taking extra steps” to ensure all its aircraft, lounges and airports are “cleaned throughout the day”. Hand sanitiser will also be available across the airport, kiosks, service desks and all in the aircraft for both customers and staff, said the carrier.
The airline said it is encouraging customers to check in for their flight via the Air New Zealand app.
At the airport, the carrier said every second self-service kiosk will be open to support social distancing. There will also be floor markers for queuing at check-in counters, service desks, bag drops and departure gates, and the carrier said it will be boarding and disembarking fewer customers at a time.
“It would be appreciated if customers could exercise a bit of patience as everyone gets used to this new way of travelling. We’d also advise allowing a little more time to navigate through the airport process and be mindful of social distancing requirements. Customers should not travel if they are unwell or have Covid-19 symptoms – flights can be changed free of charge if needed,” said Air New Zealand general manager customer experience Nikki Goodman.
Air New Zealand released a YouTube video outlining the changes it’s making: