Air New Zealand is planning to install beds in its economy class cabins on long-haul flights if its patent and trademark applications for its Economy Skynest is successful.
The Skynest is a separate sleeping compartment with up to six full length sleeping pods, which passengers will be able to book in addition to their economy seat.
Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said the airline had spent three years developing the product, with input of more than 200 customers.
The airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland to New York service, which will take up to 17 hours and 40 minutes.
“A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of theEconomy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge,” said Tod.
Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynestnext year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.
General manager of customer experience Nikki Goodman said customer and cabin crew feedback on the Economy Skynest during its final phase of development has been ‘outstanding’ with significant partners also keenly involved.
“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,” she said.
“We’re so excited to be sharing this product development with our customers. This is one of the highlights of three years’ intensive work centred on customer wellbeing. We’re sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying. We expect other airlines will want to explore licensing the Economy Skynest from us just as they have with the Economy Skycouch.”