AUCKLAND, July 1 — Air New Zealand’s world first will be music to the ears of passengers hoping to get some shut-eye on a long-haul flight when traveling in coach class. The airline plans to install bunk-bed-style sleeping pods in its economy class cabins, starting in 2024.
Some might try raising the headrest. Others might roll up their sweater and stuff it behind their head, all the while regretting not having bought a travel pillow at duty-free like the person in the next seat. So you shuffle, you change position, over and over again hoping that sleep eventually comes...
Sleeping in economy class is an ordeal — a real challenge! So as airlines vie to fly the longest non-stop long-haul routes in the world, prospective passengers have every right to wonder about the comfort of the coach cabin. Air New Zealand has naturally thought about this issue, since the airline is set to start an ultra-long-haul flight between Auckland and New York next fall.
The trip will last 17 hours. Beyond this atypical itinerary, the carrier has decided to help improve the sleep of passengers who book to fly in economy class by installing a six-bed sleeping pod in the cabin, available for passengers looking to get some shut-eye. The airline recently shared images of its concept, entitled “Skynest.”
According to Condé Nast Traveller, passengers wishing to take advantage of this space will have to reserve their slot in advance and pay an additional fee.
And they will not be able to use these beds for the entire duration of the flight. Their use is planned for specific times during the journey (access would probably be forbidden during take-off and landing, for example), while each individual would be granted a single four-hour slot per flight. That said, it’s unclear how the flight crew will manage to evict oversleeping passengers...
This type of facility is not currently available on any commercial flight to date and is set to roll out from 2024.
This “Skynest” will not be the only solution for bunking down on your next long-haul flight. As part of the redesign of its economy cabin, Air New Zealand is also planning to equip its 787 Dreamliner aircraft with seats that can extend out to offer more space, even making it possible to lie down. However, you’ll have to book the seats next to you in the row to really take advantage of it. — ETX Studio