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Air New Zealand is looking for a squadron of "walking Wikipedias" to be concierges on long-haul flights.

People chosen for the new role, believed to be a world first, will help cabin crew handle passengers' travel questions and itinerary planning and, if necessary, will stay with passengers stranded at airports.

Air New Zealand hopes the 90 concierge jobs will "revolutionise" long-haul passengers' travel.

The airline's international manager, Ed Sims, said concierge duties could include escorting passengers to and from the aircraft, recommending "must-do" New Zealand activities to tourists, helping with onward bookings, supporting those affected by weather disruption or explaining the finer points of in-flight wine lists.

"I love the idea that these are inflight travel gurus," he said. "That's what I'm after for this role - a one-person Wikipedia."

Mr Sims said the only other airline he knew of that had an inflight service additional to traditional cabin crew was Virgin Atlantic, which carried masseurs.

"Clearly this is a very different proposition and a very different role."

The concierges would be trained in safety and emergency procedures, but would be distinct from cabin crew.

Full Boeing 747s carry 386 passengers, and the idea for the concierge role came from cabin crew who said they were too busy to answer in-flight questions.

"The fact our planes are so full has been a major driver," said Mr Sims. "Because our crew are so fully engaged in delivering service to full flights, we need to have someone who stands apart."

Passenger numbers on Air New Zealand's long-haul routes was up 28 per cent in October on the same time a year ago, largely because of new services to London via Hong Kong, and to Shanghai, introduced in November last year.

Mr Sims said he did not expect fares to rise as a result of the addition of a new crew member.

Boeing 747 flights have 14 cabin crew, long-haul Boeing 767-300 flights have eight and Boeing 777s have 10.

Mr Sims said that offering extra services, rather than gadgets, was one way of making Air NZ stand out from its competitors.

"This is a better way of ensuring customer loyalty ... than simply to improve on a product like the lie-flat bed."

Concierges would be available to all passengers.

The Flight Attendants and Related Trades Association said the move was positive.

"This could give flight attendants another opportunity to develop their careers," secretary Heather Stanley said.

The new service will start in April, and the first international services to have concierges on board are expected to include those between Auckland and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Hong Kong.