LONDON – Air New Zealand (NZ) has announced new strict requirements and measures for all of its passengers traveling from Auckland. The announcement comes after the Prime Minister said last night that the Auckland Region will be entering COVID-19 alert level 3 at 12.00 pm today.

The alert will last for a period of at least three days, with the rest of New Zealand moving to Alert Level 2.

With this announcement, NZ began to outline the many changes that customers can expect to see with the carrier. One of the major changes is the requirement for all passengers to wear masks to travel.

This is not a new policy for many airlines around the world, but is new to NZ as a requirement.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-10, Photo: Air New Zealand

Comments from Air New Zealand

The carrier said that all customers are welcome to bring their own masks. However, if they do not own one, the airline will provide protective maks on all flights from Auckland.

The carrier added that “it is also recommended for customers traveling from other ports to wear masks. However, this will not be a requirement.” Thus, these restrictions today just affect customers’ flights in and out of the Auckland region.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said, “Customers are welcome to bring their own masks, otherwise these will be provided by the airline once on board. We’re also encouraging customers traveling from other ports to consider wearing a mask; however, this is not compulsory.”

“We’re working through our schedule at the moment and making sure we can continue to move people with social distancing requirements in place out of Auckland. There is currently no change to our international services.”

A321neo. Photo: Air New Zealand

Further Measures

The announcement also included many other additional changes that will affect customers traveling from Auckland.

The airline has confirmed that on all domestic flights, there will be no food and beverage services to minimize the contact between customers and cabin Crew.

In addition, the Air New Zealand Auckland lounges and valet parking will now be closed from midday. Furthermore, inflight seating will now be allocated. This is to ensure an empty seat is left between customers traveling alone from Thursday through to Sunday.

Air New Zealand said it will try to ensure all family and some traveling companions seat together. However, it is believed this will be done on a flight-per-flight basis.

The carrier says that it would appreciate it if customers could exercise patience. it asks this “as everyone adjusts to the change in alert levels.”

It also advises allowing “a little more time to navigate through the airport.” Social distancing requirements will make things a little slower, it said. Customers should not travel if they are unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms. “flights can be changed free of charge if needed.”

Air new zealand
Boeing 787-9. Photo: Air New Zealand

Stopping the Spread of COVID-19 amid more Flights

While these changes may confuse or cause disruption to some passengers, it is an important step for the airline to take. NZ continues, as other airlines around the globe working with their respective governments, to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease on its flights.

These changes are particularly important as the carrier is looking to move more and more flights back into its service schedules.

Any customers who have already booked and are unable to manage their booking online and no longer wish to travel do not need to contact the airline immediately or prior to the flight departure.

Customers will be able to have assistance at a later date. They will be able to find an alternative flight option or be provided with a credit note for a future flight.