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.
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:
Our 4 pax SIN AKL on their own corporate jet. A bloody big one too! pic.twitter.com/D98lrQAbBZ
— Philip Kirk (@philipkirk6) March 25, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.