Economy fliers on Air New Zealand's long-haul flights will no longer have to rely on their neck-pillows or reclining seats for a comfortable sleep 30,000 feet in the air. The airline has revealed that it is considering the possibility of introducing flat beds for economy-class passengers on its long-distance flights.
Bunk beds for economy passengers
The company announced on Wednesday that it has filed a patent and trademark applications for sleeping pods for economy passengers, which it has dubbed the Economy Skynest. The airline came up with the idea after three years of research, development and testing based on feedback from more than 200 passengers.
Each Skynest will comprise of six full-length lie-flat beds that will be 200cm long and 58cm. There will be three levels of beds with two beds on each level, one on each side.
The Skynest resembles sleeping capsule or pods that have gained popularity in recent years and will come with a full-size pillow, sheets, blankets, ear plugs, and a privacy curtain. Air New Zealand is also thinking about adding other features like a USB outlet and a reading light.
When will it arrive?
Air New Zealand's chief marketing and customer officer, Mike Tod, said in the announcement that the product would be introduced on some of Air New Zealand's longest haul flights, including the Auckland to New York sector launching next year, the duration of which is 17 hours and 40 minutes. Tod said when the route launches, the company will take a call whether or not to go ahead with the Skynest.
How will it be priced?
The cost of the Skynest is yet to be determined but a spokeswoman for Air New Zealdn told Guardian that it would be an additional purchase separate from the cost of booking a seat on the flight. "The concept is designed as a pod you go to during the flight," she said. "You will still have your economy seat separately for the other portion of the flight."
Customers will be able to book slots for the bed during the flight, instead of the whole flight, and the cabin crew will change the freshen up the beds with new sheets, blankets, pillows etc for each session.Air NZ general manager of customer experience Nikki Goodman told Newshub that it is likely to cost over $100, but the exact prices are yet to be determined as it depends on a variety of factors.