Air New Zealand officially launches economy-class sleep pods, the Skynest

Jun 29, 2022

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Air New Zealand wants to make it easier for its economy-class passengers to catch some shuteye, and on Wednesday announced it was moving forward with sleep pods for economy-class passengers.

The airline’s newest batch of 787-9 Dreamliners will be delivered with the its innovative Skynest product starting in 2024. The product, which was first announced weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic ground air travel to a halt in 2020, will feature six sleep pods that can be purchased by economy-class as an add-on to a regular seat.

The Air New Zealand Skynest. (Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand)

The Skynest features two sets of three bunk beds stacked in an outward-facing V-shaped configuration. Many details about the product remain to be announced, including which routes will initially feature the Skynest and its pricing. It’s also unclear if Air New Zealand will sell passengers access to a Skynest bed for the entire flight (minus taxi, takeoff and landing), or if it could be purchased in blocks of time, with flight attendants refreshing the space mid-flight.

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The Skynest is just Air New Zealand’s latest effort to help its economy-class passengers catch some Z’s. The airline will continue to feature its popular Skycouch product — a group of three economy-class seats that convert into a bed.

Air New Zealand on Wednesday also formally announced details of its new business-class product. Preliminary details of that two-tiered product leaked in a filing with U.S. regulators in March, but now, more is known.

The airline’s Business Premier Luxe suite will feature a sliding door and enough room for a dining companion. Depending on the configuration, Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will feature either four or eight of the elevated business-class seats.

Air New Zealand’s Business Premier Luxe seat. (Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand)

The airline’s new Business Premier seat is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will feature either 42 or 22 of those seats.

More: Review of Air New Zealand’s Skycouch from Auckland to Houston

Air New Zealand Business Premier seat. (Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand)

In a statement, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran noted that the airline’s large number of ultra-long-haul flights makes investing in sleep important. Air New Zealand in September will begin a new ultra-long-haul flight: Auckland (AKL) to New York (JFK). Its flights to Houston (IAH) resume next month, while Chicago (ORD) flights resume in October.

“New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long-haul travel experience,” Foran said. “We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot — they want to hit the ground running.”

Featured photo courtesy of Air New Zealand.

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