Air NZ bans self-service booze at two regional lounges

Wed, Mar 15
Air New Zealand planes (file photo).

Air New Zealand has decided to stop passengers from pouring their own spirits at its Dunedin and Queenstown lounges after one passenger got too drunk to fly.

Spirits at the airline's lounge in Queenstown are now served from behind the bar, while spirits are off the table in Dunedin without a serviced bar, according to Air New Zealand.

Police Inspector Ian Paulin told 1News that the change happened after a "prevention conversation" with the airline though they weren't directed to make the change.

"Our Canterbury Alcohol Harm Reduction Team had a prevention conversation with Air New Zealand around how they were monitoring patrons alcohol intake… following an incident in November where a Koru Lounge member was unable to board an aircraft due to her intoxication," he said.

"Following that conversation, Air New Zealand made the decision to remove the spirits to ensure they could be adequately monitored. They were not directed to do this by police."

Paulin is the police's national coordinator for alcohol harm prevention.

Air New Zealand's chief operational integrity and safety officer, David Morgan, said the safety of their customers and their people was their biggest priority.

"As Queenstown and Dunedin also function as international lounges, spirits were previously available," he said. "However, we have recently changed this, so we now serve all spirits from behind the bar in Queenstown, and we no longer offer spirits at the Dunedin lounge as it does not have a serviced bar."

"We want to ensure our customers are still able to enjoy a drink at the bar in our lounges but also ensure they are safe and we creating a responsible drinking environment."

The airline's Koru Lounges offer benefits for travellers, including access to lounges, additional baggage allowances and priority check-in and boarding.


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