Air New Zealand has eliminated food and drink service onboard its domestic flights, citing concern over the omicron variant and a desire for passengers to remain masked throughout the flight.
Air New Zealand Eliminates Food And Drinks Onboard Domestic Flights
Effective January 1, 2022, food and drinks are no longer served onboard. Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty explained:
“It’s anticipated that we will soon see the Omicron variant within the New Zealand community, so we are making this change now to further safeguard our customers and crew.
“Masks are one of the key ways to limit transmission, so making this change will enable our customers’ masks to be kept on throughout the flight and ensure they are as safe as possible while onboard an Air New Zealand aircraft.”
Indeed, the omicron variant has now reached Kiwi shores, with two cases reported over the weekend (a British DJ and an Air New Zealand crew member). Instead, passengers will be offered a snack upon arrival.
“We know customers look forward to their cookie, popcorn or bliss bites so rather than pause food and beverage service, we have made the decision to offer our popular snacks to our customers to enjoy when they arrive at their destination.”
Air New Zealand says this change is “temporary” and would be reviewed on a regular basis. Water will still be available upon request.
A Logical Policy?
I’m not onboard with this policy, so to speak, because airplanes are amongst the safest indoor environments and because I believe it is time we embrace a new “normal” with the virus; full containment policies are much easier for geographically isolated nations like New Zealand, but even there are ultimately unworkable.
That said, I have to respect Air New Zealand for recognizing the logical inconsistency of an onboard mask policy that allows everyone to lower their masks to eat and drink at the same time. I’ve never called the mask mandate worthless and the idea that partial coverage is better than no coverage at all seems very clear.
At the same time, if we are going to be making cost/benefits allowance to allow the temporary removal of masks for eating and drinking, it seems to me that masks should be optional on airplanes as a general policy, reflecting both the relatively safe environment that airline cabins represent and the idea that passengers, at this point in the game, can weigh their own risks and travel accordingly. Want to best safeguard yourself from COVID-19? Wear a N95 mask and get boosted.
Air New Zealand has suspended food and drinks onboard its domestic flights, citing a desire to reduce the risk of omicron spread. While Air New Zealand casts its policy as short-term, we’ve seen that some service reductions have been very slow to return onboard.
image: Air New Zealand
Given the short duration of domestic flights in NZ I hardly see this as being anything. I mean, that’s pretty much the case in the US for the equivalent flight times.
Never flew them and never will.
I think the issue is that just because airplanes are among the *safest* indoor environments, that’s not the same thing as *safe*. We know nothing about how transmissible Omicron is on board an aircraft.
Also, NZ is considering the health and welfare of its employees, who can’t “weigh their own risks and travel accordingly.” I know people in healthcare who are positive for Omicron despite being fully boosted and reliably wearing N95 masks, so that’s not a guarantee any longer.
I don’t have a problem with this on a short domestic NZ flight. Where it gets tricky is on longer haul runs.
Will this happen in the US?
Assume Biden and Fuaci would support as they are pro restrictions, but assume the CEOs would push back?
I think the CEO’s are far more likely than the feds to do this. It would solve multiple problems – fewer pax incidents, significant cost reductions and it would quiet Sara Nelson down for a week.
You could just bring your own snack.
Not sure if that is an option – don’t think masks can be removed during flight except for emergencies.
I wouldn’t say this is anything new. I flew Bangkok Airways last month and they did the exact same thing giving you a takeaway bag with a couple snacks and water in. Food imo is completely unnecessary on flights of 1 hour.
I believe these restrictions are responsible for some of the behaviors we are seeing on planes. The poor treatment of passengers, the infantile mask announcements, threats, withholding of service, darkened cabins, etc…. Is enough to drive some people bat shit crazy. These mandates need to go, enough is enough.
While a lot of companies seem to be cost cutting then blaming it on covid, the fact that they are still giving you the snacks upon arrival helps show that this is not the case here
LOL… if United or any other US carrier did this… everyone here would be bashing them; yet because this is an respected int’l airline, it’s ok for them to do AND take care of their employees…. and I do agree. Lots of hypocrisy here, which is expected. SMH.
This is only on domestic flights. Most of which average an hour, lol. So it IS like most of the airlines now in the U.S. and few here are complaining about it. Dunedin, Christchurch, and Queenstown from Auckland ranks as about your longest flight and is the equivalent of a shuttle flight in the U.S.
I’m really not sure what your point is.
It helps that Air New Zealand doesn’t have any meaningful competition on domestic flights. Omicron doesn’t behave differently when crossing borders, so it’s clear that the airline is cost cutting and virtual signaling to the NZ public while still remaining competitive internationally.
How are they cost cutting? They are providing a free snack to passengers upon deplaning. The same that would have been given on board.
President Macron of France (as Trump said) has required that also on domestic flights in France.
He will be pleased to see that other countries follow this requirement.
Does the transatlantic flight to/from FDF count as ‘domestic’?
Wow. Air New Zealand may have just jumped into the lead for boldest cost savings move disguised as a covid measure.
I will be sure to avoid them anytime competition exists on a route.
You can thank Ted “why yes, I AM nursing this Diet Coke for 5 hours so I don’t have to wear that mask, why shouldn’t I?” Cruz, and other selfish a-holes for this.
Behave like a spoiled 4-year-old, expect to be treated like one. (Apologies to all spoiled 4-year-olds for being compared to Ted Cruz).
Imagine thinking that the NZ government or Air New Zealand actually gives a rat’s ass about what Ted Cruz thinks, or better yet, even knows who Ted Cruz is
New Zealand has become a deeply sick society. How does a population go from rugged individualists to docile sheep terrified of phantom fears, essentially overnight? Absolutely bizarre?