Passengers “break every rule” in flight amid pandemic
After two months of strict social distancing and quarantine measures, a number of impatient passengers flying on an Air New Zealand flight have been photographed completely disregarding the rules set in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A passenger who sat in on the flight going from Auckland to Queenstown showed other flyers purposefully breaking social distancing rules.
The man told the NZ Herald that while he remained firmly sat in his seat after landing, other passengers on flight NZ369 were caught on camera shoulder to shoulder in the aisle.
“I felt vulnerable, really unsafe,” the passenger admitted.
“Everyone got up and stood in the aisle while we waited for the bridge to be attached.
“That disembarkment ruined everything I’ve been doing for the last two months. The whole thing flew out the window, it’s been so difficult these past two months.
“Every rule has been broken in this five minutes of disembarking the plane. That one process could restart the whole thing.”
An Air New Zealand spokesman says the flight must not have followed the disembarkation process in this particular circumstance.
He said the airline has amended its boarding and disembarkation procedures to introduce social distancing during these stages of the journey.
“Air New Zealand is following Ministry of Health and WHO guidance to ensure flights are safe for crew and our customers. This includes supporting physical distancing on-board by allocating seating where we can to allow for extra space between passengers,” he said.
“Blocks are currently in place for the middle seats on our domestic jets and aisle seats on turboprop services. We're allowing groups of people or families travelling together to be seated together, but if they wish to be seated separately, we will provide for this.”
The brazen act by passengers on flight NZ369 follows as the Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday there were 28 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
One person is in the hospital with COVID.
There were also no new cases or deaths announced yesterday.
"This is a pretty unique situation where we're not meant to be close to people," the man who shot the picture of passengers shoulder to shoulder on the Air New Zealand flight said.
"That was the first time I've travelled since lockdown and I felt like we were so exposed. It didn't feel any different from before (COVID-19)."