Air New Zealand will transform a Boeing 787 into a vaccine clinic, allowing Aucklanders to get their shot in a unique location — and the tickets sold out in just five hours.
The "Jabaseat flight" will offer a lucky few the chance to get vaccinated while also enjoying the hospitality of one of the best airlines in the world, including a tour of the company's Business Premier cabin and free inflight snacks, according to the airline. It proved so popular, the carrier tweeted spots for the clinic sold out in a matter of hours.
"Vaccinations are key to protecting our communities and opening New Zealand up again," Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan said in a statement. "We're getting ready to reunite families and fly Kiwis to their holiday destinations - but first New Zealand needs to get vaccinated… We hope the idea of boarding an international aircraft for the first time in a long while will lift some spirits - while also encouraging people to protect themselves."
Those who get to board will receive a special boarding pass to commemorate the day and a behind-the-scenes look at an aircraft hanger (as well as a Pfizer-BioNTech jab "in their arm of choice," of course).
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After entering through the business class cabin, participants will move into the economy section to sample the airline's snacks and enjoy the inflight entertainment while they wait during the observation period.
The unusual vaccine clinic is being set up in time for Super Saturday, a national "Vaxathon."
New Zealand has implemented some of the strictest border restrictions in the world during the coronavirus pandemic, requiring nearly all arrivals to the country to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel. On Nov. 1, the country will also require arriving foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated before entering, according to the New Zealand government.
So far, 83% of eligible people in New Zealand have received at least a first dose of a vaccine and 61% are fully vaccinated.
For its part, Air New Zealand has said it will require all international passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding a flight starting next year, becoming the latest airline to require the shot to fly. Air New Zealand's mandate will go into effect on Feb. 1, 2022, and will apply to all passengers 18 and older traveling on any one of the carrier's international routes.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.