Air New Zealand will launch lie-flat pods in its economy class cabins, giving passengers the opportunity to grab a few hours of uninterrupted sleep while in the air.
The Economy SkyNest concept has been five years in the making and will be rolled out in 2024. The "seats" are flat, with real mattresses, cooling pillows and bedding. They will be located at the back of the aircraft, behind the premium economy cabin, but will not be included in the price of an economy ticket.
They are envisaged as a separate product, which can be booked in four-hour increments. The airline hopes passengers can complete two sleep cycles, which typically last around 90 minutes, with time on either side to wind down and wake up. Bedding will then be replaced and the pods sanitised in 30-minute cleaning windows.
The SkyNest pods will be fitted on the airline’s new Dreamliner aircraft, which are being delivered in 2024, and will serve Air New Zealand’s ultra long-haul non-stop routes, such as Auckland to Chicago or New York. There will be six of these pods, which are stacked in threes like bunk beds, and will be available to anyone with an economy or premium economy ticket, at an additional cost.
"New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra long-haul travel experience,” says Air New Zealand chief executiveGreg Foran. "We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested.
"Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot — they want to hit the ground running.
"We wanted to offer our economy customers a lie-flat option and that's how SkyNest was born. It's going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience.”