Air New Zealand plans to install world-first bunk beds on long-haul flights | New Zealand

Air New Zealand will soon allow economy travelers to lie down and nap in bunk bed-style dorm pods on its planes, as it tries to lure passengers on its 17-plus-hour long flights.

In what the airline says will be a world first when its new cabins are installed by 2024, Standard and Premium passengers will still be selling traditional no-bed seats.

However, those passengers will be able to book four-hour sessions in the flat sleeping pods – which the airline has dubbed “Skynest” – for an additional cost.

The pods have a mattress and covers – which will be changed by cabin crew after each booking – and will be stacked on top of each other to take advantage of cabin height.

Each pouch will have a privacy curtain, USB charging, and “ventilating ports”.

Five economy seats will be removed to make way for six Skynest aircraft to be fitted across the eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that Air New Zealand will acquire from the end of 2024.

Sleep pods will not be available for the launch of Air New Zealand’s direct flights between Auckland and New York in September – a route set to exceed 17 hours. The airline will also resume flights from Auckland to Chicago in October.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman told the Guardian that although the cost of a four-hour stay in a family had yet to be determined, it would only be open to regular travelers and premium economy class.

Passengers will only be able to book one session in the capsule per flight, as demand is expected to be strong from more than 200 seats across the economy class cabin.

The spokeswoman said the bedrooms would be limited to one person at a time. The airline is developing a reservation system for pods.

Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, said the designer bunk beds would be a “real game-changer for the budget travel experience”.

“The New Zealand location uniquely positions us to pioneer the ultra-long-distance travel experience. We have focused on sleep, rest and wellness because we understand how important it is for our customers to arrive in total comfort,” Foran said. “Whether they’re heading straight to a meeting, or to their first vacation hotspot They want to move forward.”

Leanne Geraghty, chief customer and sales officer for the airline, said: “Research shows us that the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep, so all we do on board is help create a sense of calm – from lighting and ritual Sleep including refreshing tea and conditioner, to healthy food choices and breathable fabrics.”

Each bedroom will have a privacy curtain.
Each bedroom will have a privacy curtain. Photo: Fraser Clements/Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s plans for sleeping tablets come amid a string of recent developments in the push for extra-long flights between the region and the east coast of the United States and Europe.

In May, Australia’s Qantas revealed more details of its long-awaited plans to operate non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York. So-called “Project Sunrise” flights, some of which will last 20 hours, will begin flying at the end of 2025. For its extra-long flights, Qantas has announced “luxury areas” for economy passengers to commute and stretch.

Air New Zealand also announced similar modular “care stations” for all passengers in its new cabin designs on Wednesday.

The airline first announced plans for the family for economy class passengers in 2020, and is already offering Skycouch, where family or passengers who have booked a row of seats in economy class, or have spare seats next to them, can request special footrests that flip the row. in a temporary bed.

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