How will commercial passenger flights operate in the COVID 19 age?

How will flying operate in the COVID 19 age? The best experiment to watch is Air New Zealand reopening of domestic routes. We are sure other airlines around the world are closely monitoring this as well!

Air New Zealand plans to operate around 20 per cent of its usual domestic capacity (compared to pre-COVID-19 levels) during Alert Level 2.

“Alert Level 2 will see the return of flying (in addition to major cities) to the likes of Queenstown, Invercargill and Blenheim in the South Island and Rotorua, Gisborne, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Whangarei and Kerikeri in the north,” he said.

Today, Air New Zealand has shared how it is planning to keep customers and employees safe with more flights taking to the skies. Air New Zealand’s General Manager of Customer Experience Nikki Goodman said they’ll be encouraging customers to check-in for their flight via the Air New Zealand app, but 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 our check-in counters, service desks, bag drops and departure gates, and we’ll be boarding and disembarking fewer customers at a time,” she said.

“Inflight, we’ll be allocating seating to allow an empty seat between customers travelling alone. We’ll do our best to keep families and some travelling companions together, so you may notice some people sitting together with no additional space”.

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Nikki Goodman

Food and beverage services will not be available until at least 25 May on flights within New Zealand to minimise contact between customers and cabin crew. “High touch surfaces will be cleaned regularly, and we are taking extra steps to ensure all our aircraft, lounges and airports are cleaned throughout the day”. “Our jet aircraft are fitted with hospital-grade air systems that filter out viruses. Hand sanitiser will also be available across the airport, kiosks, service desks and all our aircraft for both customers and staff to use as they wish,” she said.

Air New Zealand’s domestic lounges and valet will re-open from 25 May but in accordance with government regulations, the self-service buffet will not be available in lounges. Instead, they will offer packaged snacks and beverages.

“Finally, it would be appreciated if customers could exercise a bit of patience as everyone gets used to this new way of travelling. We’d also advise allowing a little more time to navigate through the airport process and be mindful of social distancing requirements”.

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Nikki Goodman

Customers should not travel if they are unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms – flights can be changed free of charge if needed.


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