Air New Zealand drops seat-only fares for Perth and medium-haul services

Cheree Kinnear talks to Kerry Reeves, Head of Aircraft Programs at Air New Zealand, about the exciting changes coming to their cabins. Video / Jed Bradley / NZ Herald / Air NZ

Air New Zealand is removing seat-only fare options for services to Western Australia and two other medium-haul routes.

From Thursday, October 20, passengers to Perth and Tahiti will no longer be able to opt for the economy seat and 7 kg hand luggage option.

Instead, economy class fare options will be simplified to “The Works”, including meal and checked baggage allowance.

Starting later this month, Honolulu will no longer offer a carry-on only option, to “bring it in line” with other North American destinations – only offering Economy, Premium Economy and Business cabin classes.

“The majority of our customers on these services are already buying [fares with a meal and luggage allowance]”, says Jeremy O’Brien, the airline’s general manager of short-haul flights.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said “Seat” fares only accounted for around 5% of tickets from Perth. In Honolulu, that figure is closer to 4% of fly-only carry-ons.

O’Brien says the decision is driven by customer preference and the launch of a new food and beverage offering in November gave the airline an opportunity to look at the underutilized product reserved for seats .

“It’s not about regulations but about what customers are looking for. Especially on flights over 5 hours,” he said.

For passengers who have already purchased seat-only fares to these destinations – by October 20 for Perth and Tahiti or October 30 for Honolulu – they will receive a full meal and in-flight entertainment package for the service.

The original baggage allowance will apply to existing tickets.

“With our new economy product, we are looking to be competitive in the marketplace. Rates will remain consistent with current rates,” O’Brien said.

Why is Air New Zealand getting rid of seat-only fares on these routes?  Picture / File
Why is Air New Zealand getting rid of seat-only fares on these routes? Picture / File

There is currently a $50-$80 fare difference between the base “seat only” option and the premium “The Works” economy package, depending on your itinerary.

Streamlining economy cabin classes would also greatly simplify Air New Zealand’s short-haul business.

“This allows our crew and operations to benefit from the standardized economy options,” O’Brien says.

There is a huge potential fare difference between the 246 Economy Class passengers traveling to Perth on The Works or Seat only package. Although the airline says the number of passengers opting for these routes with the basic package only remains low.

Seat and carry-on only options will continue to be offered for all other short-haul and transtasman journeys.