Air New Zealand surprised trans-Tasman travellers with a glass of bubbles to celebrate the opening up of our borders with Australia.

Champagne was poured for every passenger who wanted it and Air New Zealand surprised trans-Tasman travelers with lots of freebies for the start of quarantine-free travel with Australia.

Hospitality businesses across New Zealand are ready to welcome what they hope will be an influx of Australian travelers, business people, and Kiwis returning home to visit family. Julie White, Hospitality NZ CEO, says businesses have been waiting for this day for a year.

Julie White, CEO Hospitality New Zealand.

“Our members are champing at the bit to welcome visitors back.There will be more than a few smiles out there today.

“We know it’s no silver bullet, and that there will be peaks and troughs as the initial surge will be people rushing to connect with family.

“It’s also natural for business travelers to be cautious, so I expect they’ll be waiting to see how the first weeks go before that ramps up. But businesses are excited at the prospect of what’s ahead after such a horrible year.

“Australians typically comprise the biggest chunk of our incoming visitor market, so I’m optimistic the bubble will be enough to save some businesses.

“With winter and our ski season just around the corner it’s crucial they grab every opportunity.

“The test will be to keep the bubble open. It’s crucial for businesses, families, and the wider economy that we accept some risk and stay open.”

Air New Zealand ordered 24,000 bottles of Champagne for day one’s flights. All passengers on all Tasman aircraft were offered a free glass of bubbles to celebrate.

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All passengers aboard NZ246 from Sydney to Wellington also got free Koru Club access in Sydney. The atmosphere was reportedly carnival-like, as major Australian TV networks did live crosses into the crowd.

One of the first passengers to check in was Tiffany Lauina. “My mother passed away two weeks ago and I couldn’t get a flight to go to the funeral,” she said with tears in her eyes.

She couldn’t wait to hug her dad, waiting at the airport.

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