Cyclone Gabrielle: Air New Zealand offering extra flexibility, urges customers to delay non-urgent travel

As Cyclone Gabrielle approaches, Air New Zealand is encouraging people to delay non-urgent upper North Island travel and offering extra flexibility on airfares.

Passengers booked to fly to or from Auckland, Whangārei, Kerikeri, Tauranga, Hamilton and New Plymouth on February 12 - 17 can hold their fare in credit for up to a year or rebook without a penalty fee.

The airline advises customers be prepared for probable delays or cancellations, adding that affected passengers will be emailed directly but suggesting travellers keep an eye on the Air NZ app and travel alerts page of its website.

"Teams around the business have kicked into gear to start planning for any disruptions to our network due to Cyclone Gabrielle," said Air NZ Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty.

"We will do everything we can to limit the impact on our schedule, however, with severe winds forecast for the North Island, it's likely we'll need to make some changes.

"At this stage, our customer care teams don't have any more detail around potential schedule changes so we ask customers to bear with us and we will be in touch once we have more information."

The airline said it is receiving thousands of calls and asks people only call if their enquiry is urgent.

Air NZ also said if the weather improves, "the flexibility guidelines will cease and will revert to standard fares conditions".