Air New Zealand announces special credit option in response to COVID-19 level change

Passengers can apply for credit even after their flight has departed.
Passengers can apply for credit even after their flight has departed. Photo credit: Peter Clark/Newshub.

Air New Zealand has announced more details around what passengers should expect as Auckland enters COVID-19 alert level 3 for at least three days and the rest of New Zealand moves to alert level 2.

The airline is offering a special credit option that will allow customers to simply not turn up for a flight, then get in contact later move it to a different date or be given a credit note. 

As Newshub reported earlier, customers on all flights departing Auckland Airport will be required to wear masks. People are welcome to bring their own, otherwise single use masks will be provided by Air NZ. 

"Customers are welcome to bring their own masks, otherwise these will be provided by the airline once onboard. We're also encouraging customers travelling from other ports to consider wearing a mask, however this is not compulsory," said the airline's CEO Greg Foran.

"We'd appreciate it if customers could exercise patience as everyone adjusts to the change in alert levels. We'd also advise allowing a little more time to navigate through the airport, as social distancing requirements will make things a little slower. Customers should not travel if they are unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms - flights can be changed free of charge if needed."

The airline's Auckland-based front of house employees and domestic cabin crew will wear masks and gloves and pilots will wear masks when interacting with customers or moving through the terminal.

Customers are encouraged to check in for their flight via the Air NZ app and should expect longer processing times at check-in and security

For those checking in at larger airports, every second self-service kiosk will be operating to support social distancing. There will also be floor markers for queuing at check-in counters, service desks, bag drops and departure gates, and fewer customers will be boarded and disembarked at a time.

Inflight, seating will be allocated to allow an empty seat between customers travelling alone from Thursday through until Sunday. 

The airline says it will aim to keep families and some travelling companions together.

Food and beverage services are being suspended on all domestic flights to minimise contact between customers and cabin crew. Passengers are asked to let cabin crew know if they'd like a cup of water.

The inflight magazine Kia Ora, which only made its return last week, will be removed from seat pockets and Air NZ lollies won't be handed out inflight.

Air NZ's Auckland lounges and valet parking will be closed until further notice.

The airline is not accepting new bookings for unaccompanied minors at this time, however those with an existing booking will be able to travel.

Customers who hold a ticket for a domestic flight within New Zealand and are scheduled to depart before 11.59 PM Sunday, August 16 may opt to hold their fare in credit, which can be arranged on the airline's website.

Due to high demand at the airline's contact centre, it says those who are unable to manage their booking online and no longer wish to travel don't need to contact Air NZ immediately or prior to their flight's departure. They instead can be assisted at a later date to find an alternative flight option or be provided with a credit note.