Air New Zealand Reveals New 'Bunk Beds' In Economy Class
If you've been dreaming of a good night's sleep on a long-haul flight, this might just be the news you've been waiting for.
Air New Zealand has unveiled a groundbreaking new lie-flat prototype sleep product (read: bunk bed) for its economy class travellers -- and it'll send you straight to dreamland.
The Economy Skynest is the result of three years of Air New Zealand research and development, and was designed to make economy travel more bearable on long-haul flights.
The Economy Skynest is a pod of six lie-flat beds in the economy cabin, lit by dim purple "sleeping" lights, equipped with a pillow, blanket, sheets, privacy curtains and earplugs.
The 'pod' is designed in a stacked bunk bed fashion measuring three beds high. Each bed will be about two metres in length and about 60 centimetres wide.
Air New Zealand operates some of the world's longest flights, including the upcoming Auckland to New York service, clocking 17 hours and 40 minutes one-way. As such, the airline is committed to putting "more magic back into flying economy".
Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod said the airline is always working on ways to develop product innovations across all aircraft cabins.
"A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out -- the development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge," Tod said.
The airline will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest in 2021, after it assesses the performance of its debut year of its Auckland to New York direct service.
General Manager of Customer Experience Nikki Goodman said feedback from both cabin crew and customers has been "outstanding".
"We see a future flying experience where an Economy Class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go," she said.
The airline is looking to add features such as separate reading lights, personal device USB outlets and ventilation outlets.
Passengers will be able to go to a pod during the flight for an "allocated session".
But no word yet on what a good night's sleep will cost you -- Air New Zealand has not yet decided how to price this new comfort feature.
Head of Airline Programmes Kerry Reeves said the scale of the challenge in developing the Economy Skynest was immense, "but it was a prize worth chasing, and one that we think has the potential to be a game-changer for economy class travellers on all airlines around the world."