As my son and I were plane spotting in the Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, I noticed a very odd 777 pulling up to the gate.
Take a look at the pictures below. It is clearly an ex-Singapore Airlines 777-200 with the iconic SQ cheatline remaining, but the tail logo and name “Singapore Airlines” crudely scrubbed.
As I watched it pull up, my first thought was that this was a charter.
Continuing my “sleuthing”, I sat and waited for the plane to deboard. In the Tom Bradley International Terminal, international arriving passengers deplane the aircraft to a glass-enclosed upper level which leads to the immigration facilities.
Sure enough, passengers began to disembark. It was a diverse group and I still had no idea where they were coming from.
I continued to wait.
Finally, a cadre of uniformed Air New Zealand crewmembers stepped off.
I did some research. A New Zealand travel blog reported last May that Air New Zealand had leased a 777-200 from Singapore Airlines under registration ZK-OKI.
Sure enough, this aircraft bore the same registration.
The plan was to use this aircraft on the Honolulu to Auckland route, though…not LAX.
The aircraft is fitted with 26 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 245 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
This includes Singapore standard longhaul business class seats, not the regional configuration I flew from Sydney to Singapore. Depending on your perspective, that may represent an upgrade to the herringbone seats found on Air New Zealand’s own 777-300s.
Looking up the flight on Flightradar24, it appears Air New Zealand is now using this aircraft on its once-weekly flight from Los Angeles to Raratonga.