Air NZ answers key questions about interruptions to inflight live sport viewing

  • 31/08/2023

This week Air New Zealand announced it is adding live sport broadcasts to the onboard entertainment options of its widebody fleet thanks to a deal with Sport 24.

While the news would have been welcomed by sports fans set to travel internationally with the airline - especially during the upcoming Rugby World Cup - it did raise questions on what will happen during certain inflight situations, especially around the issue of interruptions.

AM put some of those questions to Air NZ chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty on Thursday morning.

She acknowledged that it will be "tough" if a flight lands before the game is finished - but there may be a reason that means they can.

"That is going to be a tough one. We can't necessarily disrupt our schedule just to see that last five minutes, but you never know -  there might be a need to do a loop around," Geraghty joked.

She also confirmed live matches will be interrupted by announcements from the cabin crew and pilot, and may suffer other interruptions if connection is lost.

"I don't think we can pause the captain [making announcements], but it will just be a brief moment that you wouldn't be able to watch and then will resume the game," Geraghty told AM.

"[If the connection is lost], as soon as connectivity is restored, you come back to the live game. It is in fact, live - there's no pausing or rewinding or fast-forwarding. So, yeah, it will be a great opportunity for customers to watch their games while they're travelling."

While there are passionate sport fans and Air NZ hopes to please with the offering, it is urging the need for appropriate etiquette to be observed.

Geraghty compared it to jostling over who gets the arm rest in economy, saying generally people were well behaved and there isn't an issue.

"We want people to cheer on their teams, we want them to have some fun and really enjoy watching the game, but we want them to be very mindful of their neighbour," she said.

"We don't want them jumping up out of their seat or shaking the seat in front because they're excited or potentially frustrated. So just enjoy it, but be mindful of the people around you."

Air NZ is far from the first airline to offer inflight live sport broadcasts. Emirates has had it since 2013 and tomorrow, September 1, is offering a first-of-its-kind live interview with an Emirati astronaut from the International Space Station.

The interview with Dr Al Neyadi while he's 400km above the planet will be shown live on the Emirates World Channel the same day the astronaut begins his journey home to Earth.