Air New Zealand have recommenced selling The Works fares on trans Tasman flights flown by alliance partner Virgin Australia.
Both airlines formed an alliance to fly between New Zealand and Australia in 2011. Flights are shared between both airlines, however some routes such as Wellington to Brisbane are operated exclusively by Virgin Australia.
As part of the alliance both airlines had to align their product offerings on flights. Both airlines offered a seat only fare, a seat and bag fare, and a fully inclusive offering marketed as The Works by Air New Zealand. On Air New Zealand services The Works fare offers a meal as well as access to movies on their seat back inflight entertainment (IFE) system - customers on seat and seat and bag fares only have access to TV shows, documentaries and audio channels. Virgin Australia do not have seat back IFE screens on their Boeing 737-800 fleet and all inflight entertainment is accessible only by connecting to the on-board WiFi.
Sales of The Works tickets on Virgin Australia flights were discontinued in January after numerous complaints from customers who had paid for The Works product and were caught out by Virgin Australia's decision to discontinue handing out airline owned tablets to passengers. Customers who did not have their own devices and those who had not installed the Virgin Australia mobile app on their device before the flight were unable to access any of the inflight entertainment content.
The decision to end sales of The Works tickets ironically then resulted in complaints from passengers who now had no option to buy a fare including a meal when flying on Virgin Australia. While many travelers, including myself, aren't interested in a meal or drinks, on leisure routes such as Wellington to Brisbane where a lot of families travel it was a common complaint.
The return of The Works fares sees customers now being clearly informed of the IFE restrictions while booking. As you'll get access to all IFE content (including movies) on Virgin Australia on a seat as well as seat and bag fares, customers will need to decide whether it's worth the $25 extra for a meal and drinks on-board or whether that money is better spend at the airport before the flight or purchasing something specific from the in-flight menu using a credit card.