Air New Zealand unveils lie-flat beds for economy passengers

The airline says the new design is a “game-changer” for economy-class customers on long-haul flights.

Air New Zealand has revealed a new lie-flat prototype sleep product for economy class travellers.

The airline has filed patent and trademark applications for the Economy Skynest which provides six full-length lie-flat sleep pods.

The Economy Skynest is the result of three years of Air New Zealand research and development with more than 200 customers at its Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland.

The airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland-New York service at up to 17 hours 40 minutes one way.

Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said: “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.”

Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest next year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.

General manager of customer experience, Nikki Goodman says customer and cabin crew feedback on the Economy Skynest during its final phase of development 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. This is a game-changer on so many levels.”

The exact positioning of the economy Skynest within the aircraft has still to be confirmed, but the airline has confirmed it will be in the Economy cabin. Each pod will include a pillow, sheets and blanket, earplugs, privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep.

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