Living in New Zealand, you will be taking a lot of domestic flights to get around the country. Our New Zealand domestic flight guide is to help you get the best airfares and travel experience around New Zealand.
New Zealand domestic airport security is very different than most countries. There are no ID checks against your ticket for domestic flights. Airline employees do have the right to ask for an ID, but I have never seen it done. New Zealand law only requires passengers to go through airport security if you are flying a jet. If you are flying on a propeller plane, you do not need to go through any security screening.
The rules state that you can not fly with liquids higher than 100ml and they have to be contained in a one-liter plastic bag. If you are flying on a propeller plan, no one screens your bag to check for this. If you are flying on a jet, this is screened, but I have not seen anyone called out for exceeding the limits within reason.
Arriving at Airport
If you are flying a propeller aircraft, you will not have security or an ID check. The bag drop typically closes 30 minutes before flight time. If you are not checking a bag, many people arrive 15-20 minutes before boardings.
If you are flying a jet aircraft, you need to leave more time to go through security. Security usually is faster than many other countries, but I have seen the line reasonably long at the Auckland airport.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is the airline the flies the most domestic routes in New Zealand.
- Base fares include one 7kg carryon. If it needs to be gate checked, they do weigh it. They do not typically weigh all carryons.
- You can purchase a checked bag when you book the ticket or up until when you check in for the same rate. The rate varies depending on the route.
- You are allowed a max of three checked bags
- Sporting equipment and larger items have their fee chart and are not permitted on all routes.
- All routes include water, most include coffee/tea and a biscuit.
- There are strategies to get more flight options and cheaper tickets then listed on the site
- New Zealand has a very wet and windy climate, and it is not uncommon for there to be flight delays and cancellations, especially into smaller airports. Air New Zealand is very flexible on rerouting you if there is a problem and they are often willing to route you to a different airport or on a different day.
- If your flight is significantly delayed or canceled, Air New Zealand frequently proactively provides letters stating the reason for the delay which can be used for travel insurance claims
- Seats are not assigned for free on most ticket types. Seat selection typically starts at $5
- There is a fee for using a credit card for the ticket purchase
Jetstar is a budget airline that has the second largest route map in New Zealand
- Expect the budget airline experience
- No water or food provided for free
- Food and beverage available for purchase on many routes
- Flights cheapest if purchased direct
- Fee for using a credit card for purchases
- Seats have limited recline and less legroom than most Air New Zealand flights
- 7kg of carryon luggage is allowed, frequently weighed
- Checked bags available for a fee based off of the route. Cheapest if purchased at the time of booking. Price does increase if you purchase at check-in or airport.
- Additional handling fee for large items and sporting equipment
- Flights tend to be less frequent than Air New Zealand, so fewer options to reroute if flight delayed or canceled
There are several small airlines including Originair, Barrier Air, Sounds Air, Fly My Sky, Air Chathams, Stewart Island Flights, Sunair, and Golden Bay Air that all have a limited route map and serve small regional airports.
Flight Delay Compensation
There is no flight delay compensation statute like EU Regulation 261/2004. Airlines will normally only route you on their aircraft in times of delays or cancellations.