Travel Crisis: Warning for Air New Zealand’s busiest day of the year

An Air NZ A321 lands at Auckland Airport. Photo / Auckland Airport

According to Air New Zealand, December 23 will be the busiest day of the year for the airline.

The airline wants customers to plan ahead, allow extra time, anticipate delays and be patient with airport staff and flight crew as illnesses and shortages across the airline industry coincide with an exceptionally busy flight time.

Air New Zealand expects to fly 2.8 million customers across the country and world to their holiday destinations this summer.

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On December 23, it will carry more than 55,000 customers on holiday – up from 31,000, or 77 percent more than last year, when international borders were closed.

More than 50,000 customers are also expected on December 15, 16, 22, 27 and 28.

Immediately prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the airline’s busiest day was just before Christmas, when it carried 60,000 passengers

This will be the first summer in three years that the airline’s full network will be operational and airports will be busy, according to Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer.

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“While it’s great that more people are traveling this year, it does bring some challenges. Flights will be full, with many queues and extra baggage. As we prepare for a bumpy summer, we’re pulling out all the stops to ease tensions with new aircraft, hiring 2,200 additional staff, 300 airport volunteers and contingency plans for disruptions.”

Even with the additional measures, the entire airport community will be under pressure, she said.

Airports, security checkpoints and check-in areas will be much busier than usual.

“We are asking our customers to allow additional time to get to and through the airport they are traveling from and to be as patient as possible as our staff work to get everyone to their vacation destination,” Geraghty said .

Auckland to Christchurch will be the busiest route this Christmas and the airline is using its new A321neo aircraft to provide customers with as many seats as possible.

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Queenstown will be the busiest regional airport with more than 6000 passersby on December 23rd. The airline asks customers to arrive at least three hours before their flight for international travel and no later than 60 minutes before their flight for domestic travel.

Travelers with pets, oversized bags, or anyone requiring special assistance are asked to allow a little extra time. Customers are also encouraged to take out travel insurance to cover them in the event of an unexpected situation and to sign up with Air New Zealand’s Travel Alert Service in the event the airline needs to contact you in the event of a travel disruption.

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