Tokyo Olympics: 'Understandable' of NZ athletes to blow off some steam - Kiwi swimmer Lewis Clareburt on 'party' flight

Reports New Zealand Olympians turned an Air NZ charter flight back from Tokyo into a "party" is being played down by swimmer Lewis Clareburt - who was on the plane in question.

Stuff reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed witness, that athletes on board were drinking excessively while singing and dancing in the aisles to music played from personal speakers. The "riotous drunken action" inside the "party cabins" forced the plane's captain to intervene, the witness said.

While Clareburt was on the flight in question, he was in a different section of the plane to where the alleged party took place. 

"I was up in business class so I was just cruising," Clareburt told The Project from managed isolation. "We had a pretty good time up the front but I'm not sure if we had as much fun as anyone else. We weren't really sure, to be honest, what was happening."

However, Clareburt said he understood why his fellow athletes were enjoying the trip home.

"I think you can probably understand that Olympians have been training for five years for this and to blow off a little bit of steam is probably understandable."

Clareburt. Photo credit: Getty Images

Clareburt's comments echo those of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, which said it was aware some athletes had "celebrated" after "years of training" and no complaint had been received from Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand said it had spoken to crew members and confirmed it wasn't aware of any complaints.