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Air New Zealand to install world’s first economy bunk beds on long-haul flights |  New Zealand


Air New Zealand will soon allow economy class passengers to lie down and take a nap in communal bunk-style sleeping cabins on its planes, as it tries to lure passengers on its ultra-long flights- letters over 5 p.m.

In what the airline says will be a world first when its new cabins are installed by 2024, regular premium and economy passengers will still be sold traditional seats that do not recline into a bed.

However, those passengers will be able to book four-hour sessions in elongated sleeping cabins – which the airline has named “Skynest” – for an additional fee.

The pods will have a mattress and sheets – which will be changed by cabin crew after each booking – and will be stacked on top of each other to take advantage of the height of the cabin.

Each pod will have a privacy curtain, USB charging and “venting outlets”.

Five economy seats will be removed to make room to install six of the Skynest modules on eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that Air New Zealand will receive from the end of 2024.

Sleeping pods will not be available for the launch of Air New Zealand’s direct flights between Auckland and New York in September – a route which is expected to exceed 5 p.m. The airline will also resume its Auckland-Chicago service in October.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman told the Guardian that although the cost of booking a four-hour session in one of the beds has not yet been determined, it will only be open to passengers regular and premium economy class.

Passengers will only be able to book one session in a module per flight, as demand for the more than 200 seats in the economy cabin is expected to be high.

The spokeswoman said sleeping pods will be limited to one person at a time. The airline is developing a reservation system for the pods.

Greg Foran, managing director of Air New Zealand, said the bunk beds would be “a real game-changer for the economy class travel experience”.

“New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead the ultra-long-haul travel experience. We focused on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our guests to arrive well rested,” Foran said. “Whether they’re heading straight for a meeting or their first vacation hotspot, they want to be up and running immediately.”

Leanne Geraghty, the airline’s chief customer and sales officer, said: “Research shows us that the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep, so everything we do at edge is to help create a sense of calm – from lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to healthier food choices and breathable fabrics.

Each sleeping module will have a privacy curtain. Photo: Fraser Clements/Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s plans for the sleeping pods come amid a series of recent developments in the push towards ultra-long-haul flights between the region and the east coast of the United States and Europe.

In May, Australia’s Qantas unveiled further details of its long-awaited plans to operate non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York. So-called “Project Sunrise” flights, some of which will last 20 hours, will begin flying in late 2025. For its ultra-long-haul flights, Qantas has announced “wellness zones” for economy passengers to move around and expand .

Air New Zealand also announced similarly styled “care stations” for all passengers in its new cabin designs on Wednesday.

The airline first announced bed plans for economy class passengers in 2020, and already offers Skycouch, where a family or passengers who have reserved a row of economy class seats, or who have spare next to them, can request special footrests that turn the row into a makeshift bed.


theguardian Gt

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