Lie-flat beds for economy passengers could become a reality with Air New Zealand bunk bed-style pods

Feb 26, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Flying long-haul in economy could get a whole lot more comfortable thanks to a brand new prototype unveiled on Wednesday by Air New Zealand called the Economy Skynest.

The Economy Skynest will feature six fully lie-flat sleeping pods, giving passengers flying in economy on long-haul flights the ability to stretch out and get proper rest. The six pods will be spread across three levels of beds, with two beds on each level.

(Photo courtesy Air New Zealand)

Each pod boasts a full two metres (or 78.7 inches) in length — only a couple of centimetres less than the airline’s lie-flat beds in business class. Passengers can also expect up to 58 centimetres (22.8 inches) of width at the shoulders.

Added comforts are set to include many of the amenities that are usually exclusive for business-class passengers. Plans are to provide a full-sized pillow, sheets and blanket for each passenger in the Skynest, as well as ear plugs, privacy curtains and lighting designed to help passengers sleep. In the future, Air New Zealand might add extras like a reading light, USB port and in-pod ventilation outlets.

“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft,” said Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod. “A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Skynest is a direct response to that challenge.”

The final decision about the viability of the operation of the seat will be made next year after the airline’s inaugural Auckland (AKL) to New York (EWR) flight — set to take around 17 hours 40 minutes.

Related reading: The world’s longest nonstop flights, updated

Photo courtesy Air New Zealand
(Photo courtesy Air New Zealand)

The exact position in the cabin of the Economy Skynest as well is the routes it will fly and pricing are yet to be confirmed by the airline, and it still needs to be certified by regulators. However, booking the Skynest would be in addition to booking an economy seat. Meaning, you would likely need to be seated in your standard economy seat for taxi, takeoff and landing, before being able to head to the Skynest to stretch out.

A spokeswoman for the airline said that it is testing the option of being able to rent one of the pods for a set period of time. Crew would have the ability to refresh each pod during the flight to accommodate new passengers looking to use the Skynest.

Air New Zealand was the first airline to introduce a dedicated couch product for economy passengers in the form of the Skycouch. With it, passengers can stretch out across three seats, with leg rests extended to make the “couch” wider. Other airlines have taken to adapting the design, such as ANA.

“We expect other airlines will want to explore licensing the Economy Skynest from us just as they have with the Economy Skycouch,” said Nikki Goodman, general manager of customer experience.

Featured photo courtesy Air New Zealand.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.