Air New Zealand has announced it could have flat beds in Economy Class for some long-haul flights, but it will be more than a year before passengers get the chance to sleep with pillows, sheets and blankets.
The airline has filed patent and trademark applications for the Economy Skynest, which would contain six full-length sleep pods at 200cm long and 58cm wide each, with three levels of beds and two beds on each level.
Accompanying each bed, which resembles a hotel pod hotel, will be a full-size pillow, sheets and blankets, ear plugs, and a privacy curtain. Air New Zealand is still assessing whether it will include other features such as a USB outlet and a reading light.
Mike Tod, Chief Marketing and Customer Officer, Air New Zealand, said that the product would be aimed at some of Air New Zealand’s longest-haul flights, including the Auckland to New York service launching next year that will take 17 hours 40 minutes. Air New Zealand will make a decision on whether to go ahead with the Skynest when that route launches.
The cost of the Skynest for passengers has yet to be decided but will be additional to the cost of booking a seat on the flight. Passengers could book a session in the bed during the flight, rather than the whole flight, and cabin crew would change and freshen up the pods with new bedding for each session.
The airline has yet to get the Skynest certified by regulators, but “it is 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,” said Kerry Reeves, Air New Zealand’s Head of Airline Programmes. Air New Zealand has said it is open to licensing the Skynest to other airlines.