Air New Zealand is doing away with seat-only fare options for services to Western Australia as well as two other mid-haul routes.
From Thursday, October 20, passengers to Perth and Tahiti will no longer be able to opt in for the budget seat and 7kg carry-on luggage option.
Instead the economy fare options will be streamlined to “The Works”, including meal and check-in luggage allowance.
And from the end of the month, flights to Honolulu will no longer offer a carry-on only option, to “bring it in line” with the other North American destinations – offering only economy, premium economy and business cabin classes, New Zealand Herald reports.
“The majority of our customers on these services already purchase [fares with a meal and luggage allowance],” Air New Zealand general manager short haul Jeremy O’Brien said.
An airline spokesperson said seat-only fares represented around 5 per cent of tickets from Perth. On Honolulu this is closer to 4 per cent of people flying carry-on only.
Mr O’Brien said the decision was driven by customer preference and the launch of a new food and beverage offering in November gave the airline a chance to review the underused seat-only product.
“It’s not about regulation, but reflective of what customers are looking for. Particularly on flights over five hours,” he said.
For passengers who have already bought seat-only fares to these destinations prior to October 20 for Perth and Tahiti or October 30 for Honolulu, they will be given a full meal and in-flight entertainment offering for the service.
However original baggage allowance will apply to existing tickets.
“With our new economy product, we look to be competitive in the market. Fares will remain in line with current rates,” Mr O’Brien said.
There is currently a $50 to $80 difference in fare between the base seat-only option and the top economy package, depending on the route.
Streamlining the economy cabin classes would also make Air New Zealand’s short-haul business a lot simpler.
“It does enable our crew and operations to benefit from the standardised economy options,” Mr O’Brien said.
Seat and carry-on only fare options will remain on offer for all other short-haul and trans-Tasman routes.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and has been republished with permission