Air New Zealand's warning to travellers ahead of Christmas as more travel bans handed out

An Air New Zealand plane.
An Air New Zealand plane. Photo credit: Getty.

Air New Zealand has a warning for travellers on Friday as tens of thousands of passengers take to the sky.

Ahead of Christmas next week, Air New Zealand will have its busiest day of the year on Friday, with more than 600 flights operating across its network. There will be 60,000 passengers heading away on holiday - a jump of 20,000 on last year. The busiest route for travellers will be Auckland to Christchurch.

To ensure everything goes smoothly, the airline has a message for its customers. 

"Naturally, airports are going to be much busier than usual so we’re asking customers to be as patient as possible as our staff both on the ground and in the air work to get everyone to their holiday destination," general manager airports Todd Grace said.

"Customers are also encouraged to take out travel insurance so they’re covered in any unexpected situation and to sign up to Air New Zealand's Travel Alerts service in case we need to make contact with them in the event of any travel disruption."

Grace said travellers should allow additional time to get to the airport. It will also be a longer process once they're inside. 

It comes after the national carrier was forced to issue a record number of warning letters and travel bans this year. 

"Sadly, we have seen an increase in the number of customers behaving inappropriately to each other or toward our staff. This has included verbal and physical abuse. We're also seeing more instances of customers trying to overindulge in alcohol in lounges or in-flight," said chief operational integrity and standards officer David Morgan.

"The upshot of the poor behaviour is that we have issued 15 percent more warning letters to customers this year and seen a 60 percent lift in the number of customers who have been banned from travel on the airline for between one and five years."

Morgan says the airline won't tolerate poor behaviour and staff should be respected.

"We want all our customers to have an enjoyable experience and won't tolerate poor behaviour toward each other or our staff, who try to go the extra mile to deliver a world-class uniquely Kiwi experience."