According to reports, the man, aged 31, started to choke just 90 minutes into his 11-hour Jetstar flight from Singapore to Auckland.

A doctor and two nurses onboard tried to perform CPR, but could not revive him.

The man’s family told local newspapers in New Zealand that he had a pre-existing heart condition. The coroner is yet to confirm whether he died from choking.

The body was removed by crew to a rest area behind a curtain and the man’s girlfriend, who had been sitting next to him, stayed with the body for the rest of the flight.

The couple had been living together in Singapore and were apparently en route to a family party to celebrate the birthdays of the man’s parents.

Jetstar is the budget division of Qantas. It is said to be the main origin of profits for the group in recent troubled economic times.