Lonely Planet Writer

Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch just got even better for family travellers

For those of us at the back of the plane, travelling long-haul is pretty challenging at the best of times, add taking your kids across the world to visit family and friends and you’re entering room 101 territories. Back in 2011, Air New Zealand helped ease the long-haul for economy travellers when they introduced the award-winning Economy Skycouch, a row of three Economy seats that convert into a flat, flexible surface for rest, relaxation and play.

Skycouch infant harness
Air NZ Economy Skycouch infant harness. Photo by: Air New Zealand

Now they’re taking it a step further for people travelling with children, by introducing a dedicated infant harness and belt, so infants can remain lying down throughout the cruise phase of a flight even when the seatbelt sign gets turned on. A new infant pod also provides additional comfort and protection for the airline’s youngest Skycouch customers.

The Skycouch Cuddle Belt (what a name!) was previously only certified to allow two adults or an adult and child travelling together to lie down side by side on the Skycouch. It’s also been updated to allow two children to use it.

Air NZ's Skycouch
Boeing 787-9 Skycouch. Mum with kids sleeping. Photo by: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne expects the changes to be popular with family groups. “The Skycouch has proven to be a real game-changer in the Economy cabin.  While we initially marketed it to couples, we quickly found the product suited parents with young families especially well.  Parents can relax while their children are able to have their own space and flat area to play without interrupting other passengers.

“Through this process, we’ve spoken to many customers who have travelled on the Skycouch and their feedback has helped to inform the updates and refinements we’re introducing this year.”

Air New Zealand plans to make the modified Skycouch product available progressively onboard its Boeing 777 and 787-9 Dreamliner fleets in the coming months. For the plane fanatic, the airline will be displaying the updated Skycouch at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from 10 to 12 April 2018.