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Soon you’ll even be able to have a flat bed when flying economy

Air New Zealand has revealed more details around its Skynest – the world’s first sleep pods in the sky, which has been confirmed for New York and Chicago routes from 2024. The announcement was made at TRENZ – New Zealand’s largest international tourism business event – where a real-life Skynest experience was available for the first time.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says Skynest is going to be a real game changer, adding more flexibility to the economy travel experience. “Our 83-year history is marked by a commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. SkyNest is the latest example, and we’re proud to be leading the way with this world-first cabin feature. SkyNest has captured the imagination of a global audience and its uniqueness has already been acknowledged by multiple awards – the latest being a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards. We’re delighted that customers are as excited about this new innovation as we are. Our extensive research and design process, which spanned five years and 170,000 hours, has resulted in a product that we’re confident will revolutionise the in-flight experience for Economy passengers.”

Skynest to feature on ultra-longhaul flights

“We’re delighted to announce that our innovative Economy Skynest will be launching on ultra-long haul flights, starting with the popular Auckland – New York and Auckland – Chicago routes. North America is the perfect market for Skynest, as it has a premium segment that values comfort and sleep during long-haul travel. With our ultra-long haul routes to destinations such as New York and Chicago, Skynest provides a unique and innovative way for our passengers to rest and recharge, making their journey with us even more enjoyable. By launching Skynest on these routes, we are bringing to life our commitment to providing choice, alongside the best possible experience for our passengers, and to continue to innovate and lead the way in the aviation industry.”

Skynest to be designed and installed in New Zealand

“As a proudly New Zealand company, we’re delighted to announce that Skynest will be designed and installed right here in Aotearoa. While our overall 787 refit will occur offshore in the best Boeing facilities, our best engineers and designers will develop SkyNest in New Zealand, using the latest in cutting-edge technology and design.”

More details about Skynest

The Skynest will be a six-pod configured sleep zone that offers sessions for economy passengers to lie down when travelling long haul. It will be available from September 2024. Each pod will include a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet, ventilation outlet, and lighting designed for rest.


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Each passenger will be limited to one session, with families travelling on the same ticket able to book a session for each passenger, pending availability. Skynest provides economy passengers another opportunity to lie flat and rest during longer flights.

The Skynest will be located between Premium Economy and Economy, and each pod will come with a separate seatbelt to ensure passengers can fasten them and stay in the pod should the seat belt sign come on during turbulence. The bedding will be changed between each session, and a 30-minute transition time will be allowed for this. The lights will gently come on at the end of each session, and crew will politely wake any passengers who sleep through this.

“We’re still working through the exact details of how the booking process will work, and we have yet to determine the price. At this stage are looking at around $400 to $600 for the 4-hour period.”

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I really can’t see why it has taken so long. For decades we have all known that the problem is that passengers get poor quality sleep on planes. Yet the design of the standard cabin has hardly changed in 7 decades. When you look at the cubic capacity of a plane there is plenty of potential for using that space differently.

    1. But the way we use aircraft space has changed! We’re all taking our luggage on board. The hold is half-empty and the cabin is packed. Which slows down boarding. Time for a radical rethink about how we use aircraft space.

    2. There have been some quite radical design ideas in the past. The Aviointeriors’ 3.0 Skyrider seat is one that’s worth Googling. It’s essentially a “stand-up seat” but the concept has faced quite a lot of criticism. Just 58cm of space rather than the usual 76cm you typically get in economy… a scary thought!

  2. Only 6 pods and not ready until September 2024? It looks as if Air New Zealand is progressing very cautiously on this one.

    1. Soon? How soon? I’m not sure that we’ll see airline’s rolling this one out in the very near future.

  3. Paul – you seem to have touched a raw nerve here. There’s a lot of us not enjoying our time rammed in upright in cattle class.

    1. It will be interesting to see if this ‘halfway house’ proves popular. I have my suspicions if I’m honest. Do people travelling in economy really want to pay $100-$150 per hour for just a little bit of rest? We’ll see.

    2. At that sort of money, some passengers will soon start thinking about a full upgrade to business class. By the time I get to sleep the 4 hours would almost be gone and I’d probably be better off in business class.

    3. Yes, this is what I’m kind of thinking, Mary… I think people are either going for a cheap seat and will withstand the discomfort that inevitably comes with that, or they’ll go ‘all out’ and opt for business class (when they can sleep when they are tired and not necessarily at a pre-determined time).

  4. The thing is that human beings can adapt to almost anything. Put them on a long haul flight with a screen and headphones and most of them will switch to zombie mood for 10 or 12 or 14 hours. And the more we do it, the better we get at long haul.

    1. Auckland – New York and Auckland – Chicago is a little longer still. There must be a point, I guess, when we say enough is enough!

    2. If we did the maths we’d probably find that on average Air Zealand has more ultra long haul flights than most other airlines. At the end of the day New Zealand is a long way from most places. This is probably what’s driving them to experiment with the beds.

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