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Air New Zealand revamps short-haul fares

written by Jake Nelson | April 23, 2024

Rob Finlayson shot this Air New Zealand A320-200, ZK-OXG, at Auckland Airport in 2017.

Air New Zealand is overhauling its short-haul booking options, including for trans-Tasman and Pacific Islands flights.

The Kiwi carrier is rolling out what it bills as its “Seats to Suit” program, which it says will offer simpler and more flexible fare choices starting from 11 June.

Under the changes, the airline will discontinue its seat plus bag option, with seat-only customers now able to add a bag for $30. All customers will be given access to in-flight entertainment, plus tea, coffee, or water, with seat-only customers also offered free snacks.

The airline will drop “inflight bites” purchases onboard, with beverages still available for purchase; additionally, voucher purchases at airports will be discontinued and all transactions will now take place in-flight.

“Works customers will continue to receive the same great inclusions currently on offer including one checked bag, a full meal and drinks, entertainment and free standard seat selection,” said Air New Zealand’s general manager short haul, Jeremy O’Brien.

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“Our customers have told us affordable flexibility is important, especially for many of our frequent fliers, so we’re introducing a new fully flexible and refundable fare option in each cabin.

“The new Seats to Suit updates are based on customer feedback and changes our passengers were looking for. We’re excited to make these a reality for those jumping onboard for short haul international travel and can’t wait to see them introduced in June.”

The news comes not long after Air New Zealand announced Auckland-Hobart flights, which were paused this month due to engine maintenance issues, will restart in October.

The problems involved a “rare condition” on the powder metal used for certain parts that were thought to affect up to 700 Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines over the next three years.

“While this maintenance issue does not present a safety issue, it has caused Air New Zealand to revise its flight schedule as a result of adjustments made to the engine maintenance plan,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said last year.

The carrier in February warned that its second-half results were likely to suffer due to increased costs and competition from US-based airlines, with factors including “significant inflation” and “ongoing weakness in domestic corporate and government demand”, as well as the “temporary cost headwinds” from the GTF maintenance issues, expected to hit its bottom line.

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