Virgin Australia will include meals and bags with all fares in what's shaping up as an intensifying fight with Air New Zealand and other airlines across the Tasman.

The airline will also include limited free WiFi on flights and improve its frequent flyer scheme.

The carrier announced the changes at a free burger giveaway in central Auckland's Takutai Square, where hundreds queued up at midday to get a free lunch from food truck The White Lady.

The first person in line, AUT student Edward Wild, had been waiting since 11am and was surprised others didn't get there before him.

Checking out Virgin Australia's new transtasman food and bag launch at The White Lady in Auckland.

Virgin Australia Airlines group executive Rob Sharp was on site at the marketing stunt and said the airline was continuing to stamp its mark on this market.

While the free WiFi will be for just 15 minutes, Virgin says it is the only airline to offer the service across the Tasman on all its planes. At least 23kg of baggage will be included in all fares.

"Last year, more than 1.3 million New Zealanders flew to Australia and we're looking forward to making their journey even more enjoyable with a meal and drink as well as WiFi so they can keep connected while in the sky," Sharp said.

AUT student Edward Wild queues up in Auckland's Takutai Square to get a free burger from The White Lady as part of a Virgin Australia marketing stunt. Photo / Grant Bradley
AUT student Edward Wild queues up in Auckland's Takutai Square to get a free burger from The White Lady as part of a Virgin Australia marketing stunt. Photo / Grant Bradley

Virgin will join Qantas in a fully inclusive ticket, whereas Air New Zealand passengers pay extra for bags and meals across the Tasman.

Virgin was dumped as an alliance partner by Air New Zealand in April and from October 28 the airlines will go their separate ways.

Air New Zealand had raised concerns about the consistency of cabin product as a reason for ending the seven-year partnership. In a surprise move Air New Zealand has gone on to form a domestic code-share deal with rival Qantas, although both of those airlines say they will continue to compete hard on international routes.

The Virgin announcement today, and the aggressive marketing campaign aimed at Air New Zealand, follows on from a commitment to fly more services across the Tasman.

There are about 900 flights a week across the Tasman and earlier this year a Flight Centre report found Air New Zealand had 32.5 per cent of the market, Qantas had 25 per cent, Virgin had 18.5 per cent and Jetstar had 12.2 per cent.


The rest is shared between Emirates (which ended transtasman services from Auckland in March but still flies to Sydney from Christchurch), China Airlines, Latam, Singapore Airlines and Air AsiaX

Following the bust-up with Air New Zealand, Virgin will fly more frequently across the Tasman with tens of thousands of more seats.

It will start up to five flights a week between Sydney and Wellington, as well as up to four flights a week between Melbourne and Queenstown. It will also fly between Auckland and Newcastle over summer.

Air New Zealand has also announced two new routes across the Tasman from December and added an extra 15 per cent seat capacity across all its Tasman services year-on-year.

It will operate up to four times a week between Queenstown and Brisbane, increasing the airline's total international capacity out of the resort town by 20 per cent.

Virgin Australia last week launched a ''Got Beef'' campaign to recruit a New Zealand supplier of beef.

Sharp said the airline had already had 25 New Zealand producers contact it.