Air New Zealand plans to introduce new lie-flat sleeping pods for its Economy Class customers, called Economy Skynests.
The carrier operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland-New York service, which can take up to 17 hours and 40 minutes one way. Although they are still in the prototype stage, the Economy Skynests are designed to maximize passenger comfort and significantly improve the experience of long-haul travel.
“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft. A clear pain point for economy travelers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Skynest is a direct response to that challenge,” said Mike Tod, chief marketing and customer officer, for Air New Zealand.
When they are installed, each pod will include a full-size pillow, sheets and blankets, ear plugs, privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep. The carrier will also offer features such as separate reading light, personal device USB outlet and ventilation outlet.
“We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go. This is a game changer on so many levels,” said Nikki Goodman, general manager of customer experience, for Air New Zealand.
“We’re sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying.”
The project, part of the airline’s “Future Aircraft Cabin Experience” program, is the result of three years of research and development, with input from more than 200 customers. The project is nearing its final phase of development, and Air New Zealand will make a decision on whether to operate the Skynest next year, after it assesses its performance during its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.