Air New Zealand forced to stop self service spirits at airport lounges

Shot Glasses with colored alcohol

Following a passengers inability to board an Air New Zealand flight, the airline has called time on its self service spirits bar at two airport lounges.

Most Air New Zealand lounges only offer beer and wine, however lounges in Queenstown and Dunedin had an open spirits bar as they double as international lounges.

In November of 2022 a customer was refused entry to a flight after appearing highly intoxicated, Air New Zealand decided to stop the offering all together following ‘conversations’ with NZ police.

“Following an incident in November 2022 where a Koru Lounge [sic] member was unable to board an aircraft due to her intoxication, our Canterbury Alcohol Harm Reduction Team had a prevention conversation with Air New Zealand around how they were monitoring patrons’ alcohol intake,” national coordinator for harm prevention, New Zealand Police, Inspector Ian Paulin, said.

Queenstown Airport Lounge. (Air New Zealand)

“Following that conversation, Air New Zealand made the decision to remove the spirits to ensure they could be adequately monitored.”

All spirits are now served behind the bar in Queenstown, and removed from the Dunedin lounge all together.

In a statement to Travel Weekly, chief operational integrity and safety officer, Air New Zealand, David Morgan, said, “The safety of our Air New Zealand Customers is our biggest priority.”

“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 are creating a responsible drinking environment.

“As Queenstown and Dunedin also function as international lounges, spirits were previously available 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.”

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