Air New Zealand transforms 787 Dreamliner into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Steve Worner /

Are you interested in taking a tour of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in exchange for a COVID-19 jab? Air New Zealand is offering just that as an incentive to encourage people living in Auckland to get vaccinated. 

The ‘Jabaseat’ flight at Auckland Airport (AKL) takes place on October 16, 2021, a date dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ by the New Zealand government, which has announced a day of vaccination events to boost take-up of the jab.  

New Zealand’s borders have been closed since March 2020, as part of a strategy to keep COVID-19 out entirely. However, with the Delta variant having got through, lockdown measures were re-imposed and the government has switched its focus to driving vaccination rates.  

“In addition to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of an aircraft hangar, visitors will tour Business Premier, enjoy free inflight snacks and receive a special boarding pass to commemorate the moment,” Air New Zealand announced on October 13 in a social media post. 

The ‘passengers’ will board through the front door and receive their Pfizer vaccine in the plane’s business class section before exiting via economy class. Air New Zealand has stated that face masks and physical distancing are mandatory.  

Aucklander Lauren Tinsley, studying for her private pilot’s license (PPL), is among those who snapped up the chance to receive a vaccination onboard the Air New Zealand plane. 

“I had a booking in a few weeks to get my second jab but I am absolutely made up that I managed to secure a spot on Saturday instead,” the student, originally from Britain, tells AeroTime. “Under Level 3 restrictions, my flight training is on pause and I haven’t been on a wide-body jet in nearly two years, so I am really looking forward to this.” 

On October 3, 2021, Air New Zealand announced that, as of February 2022, it will require passengers traveling on its international network to be fully vaccinated.

According to data from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, 80% of Kiwis aged 12 and over have had their first jab, while 57% are fully vaccinated.  


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