Air New Zealand Ends Social Distancing as NZ Eradicates COVID-19

Air New Zealand has dropped social distancing from its domestic flights after New Zealand eradicated COVID-19. The airline has also restored flights to all of the airports it serves in New Zealand, as Jetstar announces it too will resume New Zealand domestic services. But international flights remain off the table for now.

Like most airlines, Air New Zealand had made numerous changes to its service offering during the lockdown period in New Zealand. This included blocking middle seats and closing airport lounges to ensure social distancing. But with no known active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand since the start of this week, the country is now back at Alert Level 1 meaning these measures are no longer required.

Under level 1, there are no longer limits on social gatherings in New Zealand and social distancing is no longer required because there is now a very low threat of COVID-19 spreading within the country. But international borders remain closed for the foreseeable future, with the possible exception of a Trans-Tasman and/or Pacific Island travel bubble starting soon.

Air New Zealand’s domestic airport lounges have reopened, with the exception of the Auckland domestic lounge (which is currently being refurbished, with customers sent to the regional lounge instead) and the Wellington and Christchurch regional lounges. A full food and beverage service, including hot food, is even available again. All international lounges remain closed.

Pets and unaccompanied minors are also being accepted once again on New Zealand domestic flights.

Last month, Air New Zealand jokingly threatened to bring back its awful rap safety video if customers did not adhere to social distancing guidelines. Luckily for everybody, it now looks like they won’t need to follow through with this!

As social distancing restrictions ease, Air New Zealand is also ramping up its domestic flight schedules once again. This week, Air New Zealand resumed flights to all remaining domestic ports, albeit with reduced frequencies.

Jetstar resuming New Zealand domestic flights

After suspending all domestic flights within New Zealand, Jetstar plans to restart limited services on five key routes from 1 July 2020:

  • Auckland-Wellington
  • Auckland-Christchurch
  • Wellington-Christchurch
  • Auckland-Dunedin
  • Auckland-Queenstown

In New Zealand, Jetstar is allowing one free date change on new bookings made for travel between 1 July and 31 October 2020.

Air New Zealand resuming flights to Tokyo

Although life in New Zealand is now able to return almost to normal, this won’t include international travel for some time. For now, Air New Zealand is operating just a handful of international flights from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Niue, and between Australia & Norfolk Island.

Air New Zealand will also resume one weekly return service from Auckland to Tokyo from 25 June 2020. But other international flights remain suspended, the Auckland-Buenos Aires route has been axed permanently, and Auckland-Hong Kong flights have been retimed to maximise cargo connectivity – a sign of what the airline is filling most of its international flights with at the moment.

With little prospect of long-haul travel returning to normal in the next year, Air New Zealand is now sending its entire Boeing 777 fleet to Alice Springs to be parked for 12 months. Many Air New Zealand staff have also sadly been made redundant.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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