Travellers within New Zealand can now save money and simplify their journeys to and from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown Airports.
Air New Zealand Taxis now offers a booking and pre-payment taxi comparison service, comparing standard cabs, executive cars, vans and shared ride shuttles.
We compared the costs with recent journeys to and from Wellington and Auckland airports, and the price quotes ranged from NZ$2-5 (A$1.50-3.75) cheaper than walking up to the taxi stand at the airport or ringing local firms for a pickup.
The fact that the service is pre-paid at a fixed rate is a real benefit for business travellers arriving or departing in the notorious Auckland and Wellington rush-hours, when key traffic bottlenecks mean normal cab fares can skyrocket as passengers sit in gridlock.
Business travellers unfamiliar with the airport where they're arriving will appreciate the meet-and-greet service: the driver picking them up will have a signboard with their name on it, although none of the New Zealand airports are large enough for getting lost to be a real problem, even for infrequent flyers.
A 15-minute pickup guarantee on the way to the airport is a big plus too. If your ride is more than 15 minutes late, your money is refunded and Air New Zealand Taxis will send a replacement vehicle that you don't have to pay for either.
This guarantee doesn't apply to the shared ride shuttles, though. Plus, if you're 15 minutes late, your ride will be cancelled and you won't get a refund.
A careful read of the terms and conditions does throw up a few particular issues that prospective customers should note as well.
If your plans change, you'll need to cancel in advance, though the amount of notice varies according to the service booked. For standard taxis, it's 1 hour before the time you booked. For executive transfers or shared ride shuttles, 2 hours, and for luxury cars it's 4 hours before scheduled pickup.
Business travellers hauling luggage should also note that there's a baggage limit too -- one piece of luggage under 23 kg per person, even if you book a taxi just for yourself. This seems a little unreasonable, especially since the shared ride shuttle allowance is two pieces.
If you're considering using the service to pick up family and friends if you're stuck in a meeting and can't get to the airport, be aware that the service won't accept unaccompanied minors under 18 either.