Debate rages over how many Air New Zealand lollies it's acceptable to take: Here's the official answer

Air New Zealand giving out lollies onboard.
One, two, a handful.. or more? Photo credit: supplied

Long before the wacky safety videos, Air New Zealand set itself apart from other airlines by offering free hard-boiled sweets toward the end of its flights. 

For some Kiwi travellers, those inflight lollies will be one of the earliest memories they hold about air travel - along with being taken into the cockpit mid-flight, which used to be permitted when security was more relaxed than it is now. 

Not only are the lollies a sweet treat, they are also helpful as the jaw movement involved in eating them can help people equalise as the aircraft is descending. 

But how many of the lollies is it OK to take? 

This is a question that has ignited heated debate online before and on Reddit this week, the discussion was once again raised on the New Zealand forum - prompting Newshub to get a new official answer. 

"How many Air NZ lollies is it acceptable to take when the basket comes round on a flight?" asked user u/chooseyourguilt

"My kid asked me this on the weekend and I said two, but he pointed out others were taking far more."   

The post quickly racked up over 180 comments suggesting a wide variety of numbers people thought appropriate. 

"No more than two. Unless they smile when you take two, then three at most," one said. 

"I generally snag three: one for the flight, one for the trip home, and one to be a little surprise a week later when I find it in my pocket," said another. 

"There was a kid handing them out last time, but he couldn't reach the window seats. The flight attendant handed me five. So, five," said another. 

"As much as you can grab in one hand, in one go," a greedier commenter said, with another agreeing: "A handful. You get more as your hands get bigger." 

Child handing out sweets on Air New Zealand flight.
Children are sometimes invited to hand out lollies with cabin crew. Photo credit: supplied

Some applied more thought to the question - one even came up with a mathematical equation, sharing: "I think a realistic upper limit is: Lollies to take = 2 + 2(N), where N is the number kids and spouses you have waiting for you at the gate/baggage claim." 

A frequent flyer advised: "The [cabin] crew don't care and are happy for you to take a decent handful if you want and you are polite. Just don't be rude and take a handful and stuff them in your bag like I've seen some idiots do, they don't like that." 

"I have asked several different attendants on differing flights and all have been mostly indifferent to how many are taken," another frequent flyer said. "I usually take a small handful as I quite enjoy them. Except the mint one... if the basket is full, don't feel like you're only allowed one or two. Go for gold, get all the colours you like [and] stash some for later give them to all the kids in the terminal like a weirdo, whatever. Better living everybody!"

The official answer

To get an official ruling on what is an appropriate number of lollies to take, Newshub approached the airline - and the generous response may surprise you. 

Leanne Geraghty, Air NZ's 'chief customer, sales and lolly officer', did not put a numerical limit on how many each passenger is allowed - but confirmed a handful is indeed acceptable. 

"While most of our customers only take one or two of our lollies when offered, we do sometimes come across a lolly enthusiast who snags a handful. We're more than happy to support either approach to lolly eating - even if your dentist doesn't!" she told Newshub. 

"The iconic Air New Zealand hard-boiled lolly has been onboard and enjoyed by our customers for more than 50 years, and some argue it's now part of Aotearoa's DNA.  

"While favourite flavour comes down to individual taste, we hear that there is a rather large fan base for the green lolly right across the motu, and a smaller - but mighty - group of white lolly lovers who aren't shy about making their favourite lolly flavour known." 

So, a handful is indeed OK. Keep this in mind for your next Air NZ flight - especially if someone is waiting at the airport to pick you up who would love a sweet too.