Customers flying with Air New Zealand will have one less thing to look forward to in the New Year, as the airline has removed all food and drink from its flights, giving passengers no justification to remove their face masks.
On the 1st of January 2022, all Air New Zealand domestic flights will have a limited (non-existent) in-flight service.
The majority of Air New Zealand’s internal flights are mercifully short, with the longest flight between Auckland and Invercargill being less than two hours.
Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, told Traveller magazine that the decision to cease inflight service was made to ensure that passengers had no reason to remove or lower their face masks while flying.
“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,” Geraghty explained.
Passengers will receive a little snack from flight attendants only when they exit the aircraft at their destination.
New Zealand tentatively sought to reopen and learn to live with the virus after the Delta variety proved so transmissible that the country’s once successful methods to wipe the virus out were failed.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern even put out a plan to restore New Zealand’s foreign borders, but the Omicron variety has thrown that plan into disarray. New Zealand is adopting a ‘Zero Omicron’ approach, despite the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay.
Although the country has been able to stop Omicron at the border, New Zealanders were surprised to learn that a British DJ had broken his quarantine and visited a nightclub while infected with Omicron.
Contact tracers haven’t been able to locate anyone in the community who has been infected with the highly transmissible variety so far.
However, according to Geraghty, Air New Zealand does not believe Omicron can be stopped for long.
“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,” she told Traveller.
Although an Air New Zealand crew member tested positive for Omicron after returning from an international trip, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday that all close contacts had tested negative for the virus. At the border, New Zealand has found 88 cases of the Omicron strain thus far.
The measures would be “examined and adjusted on a regular basis,” according to Geraghty. At the outset of the epidemic, several other airlines imposed similar limitations on food and drink service, but these restrictions have now been relaxed.
However, starting Monday, passengers on long-distance public transportation in France will be prohibited from eating or drinking in vehicles such as trains and buses, eliminating the need to go bare-faced.