Air New Zealand has unveiled a new design for its economy cabin, featuring cosy sleep pods with full-length beds.

People sleep in pod-style bunk beds in airplane cabin glowing with mood lighting
Air New Zealand announced plans to introduce Economy Skynest: pod-style beds for economy cabins ©Air New Zealand

New Zealand's national carrier operates some of the longest flights in the world. Auckland to New York, for example, takes about 17 hours and 40 minutes one way. Sitting in an upright position isn't the most comfortable way to pass those 17 hours. And let's not open the debate on reclining seats. So long-haul passengers will be happy to hear that the airline plans to introduce flat beds in economy for some flights, giving customers plenty of space to stretch and sleep.

Air New Zealand sleep pods
The beds will be fully dressed with a pillow, sheets and a blanket ©Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand announced this week it had filed patent and trademark applications for what it is calling the Economy Skynest. The Skynest, which looks like a pod hotel, would contain three rows of beds with two beds on each level, like a bunk bed. The beds would be welcoming and cosy with a pillow, sheets and blankets, ear plugs and a privacy curtain. Features like a USB outlet and a reading light may also be introduced.

"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 travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge," the airline's chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said.

Air New Zealand pods

Customers flying with New Zealand would have to book the Skynest on top of their economy ticket, as an extra purchase. And passengers may be able to book a session for a nap, rather than occupying the pods for the entire duration of their flight. Details are still being worked out, including prices and it won't be until next year before Skynest comes into play.

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