Known for its highly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek inflight safety videos and advertisements which have seen cameos by some big name celebrities, Air New Zealand has always been an airline that has generated buzz online.
And the country’s national airline has done it once again with its announcement that it will launch bunk beds in economy class. This groundbreaking announcement makes it the first airline to ever do so, which means us lowly peasants who fly cattle class will have the luxury of actually laying down to sleep. That is especially awesome for long haul flights.
But are they really as good as they sound? Let’s find out more details about these bunk bends and how they stack up against what’s on offer.
Air New Zealand’s new economy class bunk beds
Called Skynest, they are the world’s first “sleep pods” in an airplane for economy class travellers, and will be launched on the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that are due to arrive in 2024.
The new planes will contain six Skynest sleep pods comprising three stacked beds in two rows. They will be available for rent for four hours during the flight.
These are targeted at economy and premium economy passengers, giving travellers looking for a good night’s sleep when flying the option of getting some comfortable shut eye mid-flight.
The Skynest bunk bed pods are set to be available on long haul flights such as the one from Auckland to New York, one of the world’s longest non-stop flights at 17 hours.
According to Air New Zealand’s press release, innovation was the driving force behind this new cabin experience.
“We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that’s how Skynest was born. It’s going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience,” says the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran.
He adds: “New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long haul travel experience. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot – they want to hit the ground running.”
The Skynest was a result of five years of in depth customer research and innovation that found that having a good night’s sleep was key. Hence this new concept was developed to provide “a home away from home that leaves customers refreshed and raring to go at their destination.”
Air New Zealand’s Skynest offers comfort in the skies
The Skynest is designed to offer passengers six feet two inches tall or shorter ergonomic support and space to stretch out horizontally after long stretches of sitting in a confined space.
An upper and lower bunk can be reserved for a single traveler, with a curtain between them for privacy.
Each Economy Skynest will include a full-length mattress, sheets, cooling pillows, ear plugs, eye masks, and bottled water.
Comfort is the key experience that Air New Zealand is trying to achieve here with the new Dreamliners, and this includes creating an environment that extends beyond just a physical bed.
Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says: “Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep so everything we do onboard is to help create a sense of calm – from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to the healthier food choices and breathable fabrics. Meditative on screen content, Zentertainment, will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest.
Hungry passengers can also fill their stomachs and rehydrate at the Sky Pantry, available to Premium Economy and Economy passengers during the flight.
Air New Zealand’s New Dreamliner’s luxury experience
Apart from the Economy Skynest, the new Dreamliners come with upgraded options for the other travel classes too.
Business Premier Luxe
Designed to give customers more space and privacy, Business Premier Luxe affords full privacy to passengers with a door that can fully close and ample space for two people to sit across each other and share a meal.
Stay secluded in the Business Premier seat as it allows you to relax in comfort. If you’d like for more interaction, the middle row lets you open the shutter to talk to your travel partner.
Passengers in this class can also look forward to more space as you can now recline without disturbing the person behind you.
The Skycouch is equipped with footrests to let passengers sit or lie down more comfortably.
Slightly bigger than the economy seat, the Stretch, as its name suggests, allows you more legroom to give your legs some space to stretch out.
The regular economy seat will come equipped with more legroom, a larger inflight entertainment screen, and extra storage capacity for carry-on luggage. You can even connect via Bluetooth to pair your phone or wireless headphones to the inflight screen.
With all those bells and whistles, what has yet to be released are prices for the sleep pods. As the new planes will launch only in 2024, the airline has not made a mention of prices.
What remains to be seen is whether the cost of renting the Skynest sleep pods will put the cost way above what one would willingly fork out for an economy class ticket and how sustainable the airlines’ model will be.
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