Air New Zealand has filed patent and trademark applications for full-length sleep pods in economy class, as it mulls installing them on its ultra long-haul routes.
Unveiling the Economy Skynest, the carrier says it will decide whether or not to install the product after assessing the performance of its upcoming Auckland-New York non-stop service.
The Star Alliance carrier previously announced that it would be launching the non-stop in October this year, with flight time in the region of 17 hours. The thrice-weekly service will be operated with Boeing 787-9s, configured in a slightly lower seat count than the airline’s existing 787-9s.
Economy Skynest, if installed, will have six lie-flat sleep pods, each around 2m in length, installed in the economy class cabin. The carrier has not decided on the beds’ exact positioning in the cabin though.
The concept is the result of “three years of Air New Zealand research and development, with the input of more than 200 customers” at its Auckland innovation centre.
Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod adds: “A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge.”
Nikki Goodman, who is Air New Zealand’s general manager of customer experience, adds that the idea was to have customers on long-haul flights “book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat”.