Air New Zealand progresses to the ‘old normal’

As New Zealand has lowered its Covid-19 threat level to Alert Level 1 – the lowest level – the airline has shared what this means for the passenger experience. In short, there are no elements of ‘new normal’ – it is just a return to normal, the state most people would like to return to.

“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,” explained Air New Zealand’s general manager of customer experience, Nikki Goodman.

The airline plans to operate around 55% 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.

“Customers are still encouraged to check-in for their flight via the Air New Zealand mobile app to save time at the airport. We recommend allowing plenty of time to process through the airport as we expect to see more people travelling at this level. 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,” added Goodman, referring to hygiene measures.

At the airports, all the airline’s domestic lounges are open except for Auckland Domestic, which is undergoing refurbishment, and Wellington and Christchurch regional lounges, which remain closed at this stage. Hot food will be available again, while other food will be pre-portioned and available at the buffet.

Inflight, the airline’s food and beverage service resumed under Alert Level 2 with the exception of Koru Hour, a snack and drink offer on flights lasting under an hour. “We are working closely with our partners and suppliers to bring this back over the coming weeks,” said Goodman.

The experience is delightfully normal, but the experience of Covid-19 has led the airline to retain heightened hygiene practices. High-touch surfaces on board aircraft and in lounges and airport spaces will continue to be cleaned regularly, and hand sanitiser will continue to be available across the airport, kiosks, service desks and all aircraft.

“As we get back into more frequent flying, please be patient with us, as our contact centre and customer care teams continue to receive a high volume of enquiries. If your travel isn’t urgent, we’d appreciate if you would wait to contact us so that those with imminent travel can be prioritised. 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,” said Goodman.

Further details on the customer journey for Alert Level 1 can be found on the COVID-19 hub on the Air New Zealand website.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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