Air New Zealand reopen Koru lounges: What airport lounges will be like after coronavirus pandemic lockdown

Air New Zealand's lounges reopened across New Zealand on Monday.

The Auckland Regional, Wellington Domestic and Christchurch Domestic lounges, along with nine regional airport lounges, are welcoming customers.

But new hospitality rules designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will make it a different experience for travellers.

Self-service buffet and alcoholic drinks are no longer available.

Instead, customers will be required to be seated once they enter the lounge and there will be table service with packaged snacks on offer, as well as beverages.

Air New Zealand general manager customer experience Nikki Goodman said the changes were made in line with Government regulations.

"We know those travelling will be looking forward to once again being able to order a flat white before they fly and in lounges with a barista, customers will be given the choice of ordering through the Air New Zealand app, or through their server."

More food and alcohol options will be introduced in the coming weeks.

There will also be a maximum of 100 people able to be in any lounge.

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While Koru lounges aren't necessarily busy in the current climate, should travel pick up and customer number restrictions remain in place, the lounges could continue to be less crowded.

Air New Zealand's Auckland domestic lounge has seating for 350 guests, Wellington has seating for 374 guests and Christchurch has seating for 244 guests.

Its regional lounges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown also have seating for well over 100 people.

Under alert level 2 hospitality workplaces must also have customers seated and served by a single person.

Each customer must order a meal and there must be one metre between all groups of customers, or between individuals not in groups.

Groups can't be larger than 10 and records must be kept to enable contact tracing of staff and customers.

Due to the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on air travel demand, seating constraints in Koru lounges will probably be of little concern for Air New Zealand in the short-term as it focuses on encouraging New Zealanders to travel domestically again.

In late March Air New Zealand reduced its international and domestic capacity by 95 per cent in response to travel restrictions and reduced customer demand resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak.

See also: Flight shaming is back and it's nastier than ever

See also: Qantas health rules at odds with experts' advice

Stuff.co.nz

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