Trans-Tasman bubble: Free champagne, Koru lounge access and business class kits for first flights

Air New Zealand is surprising trans-Tasman travellers with lots of freebies for the start of quarantine-free travel with Australia.

The airline has ordered 24,000 bottles of champagne for Monday's flights. All passengers on all Tasman aircraft will be offered a free glass of bubbles to celebrate the bubble.

From midnight, New Zealand's border officially opened to travellers in Australia, marking a significant milestone in the country's Covid-19 recovery.

The national carrier is planning a series of surprises for customers travelling on Monday. That will include business class amenity kits for those leaving New Zealand.

The airline's first quarantine-free flight into Aotearoa is NZ246 from Sydney to Wellington. All passengers aboard the historic flight are being treated to free Koru Club access in Sydney.

One of those passengers is John Harris, who will be travelling to the capital to see his father, who has had heart issues, and his mother who has recovered from cancer. Despite being 06am, Harris went straight for a Champagne, saying he can't wait to see his family.

Most states in Australia have been open for several months to Kiwi travellers, but Monday marks the first day New Zealand has opened its border.

A significant welcome is planned in the capital's airport, which includes live music and a huge banner at the end of the runway to welcome passengers. Stuff is going to be aboard the flight.

WellingtonNZ general manager Anna Calver said: "We are buzzing over the fact that we can welcome our Australian whānau back and delighted there is a light at the end of a dark Covid tunnel for those local businesses hurting through a lack of international visitors. Bring it on."

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Air New Zealand said Monday is a "mammoth day" with more than 5000 people expected to travel on its aircraft across the Tasman.

The airline's CEO Greg Foran said Monday would go down in history as one of the most monumental days for Air New Zealand and a turning point for the airline.

"It's Day 1 of our revival."

Thirty flights will be operating on Monday between Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, flying into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

"This will build to more than 300 flights a week as we reach the peak New Zealand and Australia school holidays in July," Foran said.

Qantas landed a crew-only flight less than an hour after the bubble opened at midnight, and a Jetstar service is also due into Auckland at 11.20am.

The author is travelling on the first flight into New Zealand courtesy of Wellington Airport.

Stuff.co.nz

See also: Flights, hotel bookings surge as Aussies prepare for NZ travel

See also: Emotions run high as first NZ travel bubble flight departs

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