- Air New Zealand plans to equip eight Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets with bunk beds and couches by 2024.
- "Skynests" will be available to economy passengers flying on ultra long-haul flights, as per the airline.
- The airline will begin non-stop flights between Auckland and New York in September.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Anyone used to flying economy class will know that comfort and the possibility of a decent night's sleep often comes at a premium. But one airline is looking to change that.
Air New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it planned to equip eight Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets with bunk beds and couches by 2024.
The airline claims it is the first carrier to put sleep pods on a plane. It is the first to offer economy passengers — those paying the cheapest ticket prices — the option.
Ultra long-haul flights are generally deemed to be non-stop journeys of more than 16 hours.
In September, Air New Zealand will begin non-stop flights between Auckland and New York, lasting more than 17 hours, as per Bloomberg. From 2025, Qantas, its Australian challenger, plans to launch a non-stop service between Sydney, New York, and London, with journeys lasting up to 20 hours.
"New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra long-haul travel experience," said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran, in a release on the company website. He added that the company had "zeroed in" on sleep and comfort, and designed the pods after hearing customer feedback.
"It's going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience," Foran said in the press release.
The plans are yet to receive regulatory approval, as per Traveller. They have been announced as part of a wider suite of changes to premium, business, and regular economy classes.
Take a look at the plans.
Each ultra-long-haul flight will have a 'Skynest' consisting of six sleep pods, akin to bunk beds.
Usage of the pods, which were first announced in 2020, will be limited to four hours, passengers will also have to pay per traveller.
Passengers will only be able to book usage of the pods once per flight, according to the Guardian.
A spokesperson for the airline told The Guardian that only one person will be able to use a bunk at a time.
Flight attendants will change bedding between each session, as per CNN.
It's not the only opportunity that economy passengers will have to lie down mid-flight.
The airline already offers economy passengers the option to fold their seats into a couch after take off.
Seats have an adjustable footrest and fold-down armrests, which can be turned into a private couch seating up to three people.