Everyone Upgraded On Air New Zealand Flight With 4 Passengers

Passengers on board Air New Zealand flight NZ283 on March 25th were in for a real treat. The flight’s four passengers were all upgraded to the aircraft’s business class cabin as they flew from Singapore to Auckland. Passenger numbers have been horrendously low due to increasing travel restrictions imposed by countries around the world attempting to contain the current outbreak.

Air New Zealand 787 Aircraft
The service was flown using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo: Air New Zealand

Flight details

Flight NZ283 on March 25th was operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration ZK-NZM. The aircraft is one of 14 787-9 aircraft the airline has in its fleet. According to News Hub, there were at least 15 cabin crew onboard serving a total of just four passengers.

Air New Zealand pilot Philip Kirk shared the experience on his Twitter account, posting a photo of the crew and their passengers:



NZ283 was heading from Singapore to Auckland as part of the airline’s reduced service. The flight is just over nine hours long, leaving Singapore at 1840 local time and arriving in Auckland at 0920 the next day.

Under normal circumstances, a flight with four bookings would be canceled. However, this operation was likely being run primarily for repatriation services and cargo. According to Forbes, the country of New Zealand officially closed its borders on March 19th to non-citizens. The exceptions to this are New Zealand residents and Australian citizens who normally reside in the country. In fact, Australia followed suit with a similar policy on Friday, March 20th.

Flight path of Air New Zealand’s flight NZ283 on 25 March. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Air New Zealand’s 787 business class

The business class cabin of Air New Zealand’s 787s has received mixed reviews by the many travelers who have written about their experience. Those who have flown it recently comment on the old and dated style of seating and the awkward layout that it presents.

One of the unfortunate aspects of this cabin is the fact that the “window seats” of business class face away from the window and in, towards the aisle. This may allow for a denser configuration and more efficient service from flight attendants. However, it ignores the fact that those who choose a window seat usually do so for the view.

Air New Zealand
The inward-facing layout of Air New Zealand’s business class. Photo: Air New Zealand.


Regardless of the unpopular design and dated seating, the four passengers on the flight were treated to a special experience. All of this took place during an extremely strange and challenging time in aviation history.

With the global aviation industry operating at a fraction of its normal capacity, we can only hope that this situation will pass sooner than later. In the meantime, the airline is getting NZ$900 million (US$527 million) in loans so that the airline can survive this crisis.

ANZ 787-10
Air New Zealand has reduced its operations by roughly 85%. Photo: Boeing

Have you ever flown with Air New Zealand in its business class cabin? What was your experience like? Share it with us by leaving a comment.

Simple Flying contacted Air New Zealand, requesting a comment on this story. However, at the time of publishing, no response was received.


Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted

The Air NZ business class searing configuration is, indeed, absolutely terrible. It feels squashed and lacking in privacy but the worse thing is that it’s impossible to see out of the windows. The crew are fantastic though and the food is excellent. The amenity kits are pretty cool too.


I’m a regular user of Air New Zealand long-haul business class and I choose to sit in a window seat. I’ve not had many issues with the view out the window: granted, the seat is angled away from the windows. Frankly, most of the time, there’s little to see except endless miles of ocean or darkness or the distant terrain of northern latitudes (NZ1 and 2), or the window blind might be down. It is possible to see out of the windows with perhaps a very slight extra effort, that is, moving your head a little. It’s a small issue, in my opinion, magnified only when close to the ground, particularly as most seats have two windows though the forward window may lie on the border between seats. I think that some seats match up with their pairs of windows better. I’m 6’5″ so maybe I can see out more easily. A person who is considerably shorter might have an issue with the view. When sleeping, I have my head cocooned in the apex of the space, and I can stretch out fully. I’ve never been uncomfortable.
The arrangement lends itself to face-to-face conversations when a travelling companion can sit on the stool that doubles as the footrest. This creates an open plan arrangement when wanted, but a reasonable amount of privacy when not.
The in-flight services and entertainment are consistently excellent and diverting, delivered with Kiwi charm that removes the stuffiness found in some airlines.
(Cathay use the same arrangement btw)


The Dreamliner, 777, and A350 will soon join the B747 and A380 in Victorville, Mojave, etc. Too big and too late.


I wouldn’t fly with anyone else. I flew business class from Melbourne to Auckland in March 2019 with my son. I found the seating really comfortable. The staff were amazing in particular a flight attendant named Gavin was amazing. He really was the icing on the cake. Thank you Air New Zealand and thank you Gavin.

Dave Hogg

Great crew…flew to NZ early January for my Parents memorial service…flew from Perth on a Boeing 777… first time I’ve flown business class… great food… great service…was a little disappointed with the seating layout… I chose a Window seat but seat was facing towards isle…

Paul McCormack

I haven’t flown business but I have flown premium economy, and I was extremely pleased and a little surprised at just how much of a step up it is from economy. And the service from Air New Zealand’s crew is outstanding. And wonderful food.


Yes was great from chch to Bris years ago …


Yes was great from chch to Bris years ago …


NZ to Bris..was great ..


I travelled to and from Canada on Air New Zealand recently business class. I could not fault the service, the flight attendants were amazing but the seats are terrible they are so small.
I have been lucky enough to fly business on Qatar Airlines and Westjet and they are both one hundred times better than Air New Zealand. If you have the chance to fly long hall on Westjet you will have an amazing experience.


I’ve flown the Air NZ 777 in Business plenty of times. I’m a solo traveller so I usually like to slot in at the back of the cabin in 7A or 7K they’re a good spot. A lot of AIrNZ flights are night flights out of Auckland or arrive back in early morning so the shades are closed most of the time anyway with not a lot to see. So I don’t have an issue with it.

Mister DB

I have flown the night flight from Perth to Auckland. There is nothing to see and after dinner in the lounge before the flight, usually get a good 5 1/2 Hr sleep befit breakfast prior to landing in Auckland. Great service from wonderful crew.


Dear Sir/Madame:
If I may put my “two bobs worth into the mix.” which is this,from either a: Flight Crew, or dare I say Company viewpoint,
(1) Flight Crew/Passengers:
I prefer seating which faces either Forward or Rearward (I am an Australian).
Not angled, because I believe the angled seat puts unbalanced forces on the human torso during any form of severe, abrupt, or retardation action during an abnormal airfield stop or off-field stop.


On the 25th march got a chance booking from nz back to melb, after jetstar cancelled our flight, never informed us (by chance we checked the night be4, and had the service Eva with airline nz. They now have all our business. A huge thankyou to them all!


Flew the same route last year, seating same as Virgins old hardware…..horrible. Cramped, unable to look out window and because seats flips over to a bed sitting recline is very limited. Best thing, crew and being offered toast when longing for something plain and unfussy to eat.

Barbara Maley

The flight was great. The cabin crew were all wonderful. My only complaint is that I just hated not being able to see out of my window easily.


We have Loved our business flights but I will say I really liked flying premium on the 777-300 with the bucket seating.. so much nicer than Side by side in premium now.. we love Air NZ it never fails to please..


Air New Zealand’s Business class seating is not ideal but their premium economy is fantastic. Regardless Air NZ’s service is amongst the best I have experienced long haul or short.

Martyn Williams

I found business class very good i have flown between perth to auckland several times in different classes even sky couch and bsiness class was the most memorable