When it comes to long-haul economy flights, flying from places like the US to New Zealand can just be brutal! No matter how you slice it, it is a long flight! This is why Air New Zealand had released their SkyCouch ten years ago and why they are now considering their next major move for economy travelers.
Air New Zealand’s Lie-Flat Bed for Economy Travel
The Air New Zealand SkyCouch was a three-seat economy solution that allowed it to be turned into a couch of sorts for two passengers. It required those two passengers to purchase three seats to make it happen but it was a nice way to turn cheaper economy prices into a make-shift business class solution.
Now that Air New Zealand will be flying their ultra-long haul of Auckland to Newark (a flight that will clock in at 17 hours and 40 minutes one way), they are again coming up with some innovative designs to ease the flying burden for economy travelers. Their solution? A new prototype called the “Economy Skynest”.
According to Air New Zealand, this product is the result of 3 years of research and development and is meant for six full length lie-flat sleeping pods. Think about a sleeper car – but on an airplane.
Economy Lie-Flat – Will We Ever See It?
At this point, it is a prototype and a patent. Air New Zealand says they will make a final decision next year as to whether they will institute this product. That means we are at least over a year away from seeing this potentially being available as an onboard product.
As to how this would be booked, Air New Zealand says that the Economy Skynest would be something that would be booked in addition to an economy seat. So, it would be something that would be an add-on. Maybe it would be a timed-option, like booking in 6 hour increments? This would allow multiple passengers to use the same sleeping pod. I’m not sure how it will work out that way.
But, this would definitely be priced cheaper than a business class seat but my guess would be that it would be priced slightly higher than a premium economy seat.
Here are the specs of the Economy Skynest bunk.
There is a lot to happen before we would see this, including how well the Auckland to Newark flight goes when it launches later this year. Putting something like this on an airplane would mean removing a lot of seats and Air New Zealand (or any airline) will not do something like that without making sure they can make up that lost seat revenue with the replacement option.
But, I definitely love where Air New Zealand’s mind is on economy travel! I only regret that I had never had a chance to try their Skycouch. One more interesting thing with this – since it would be a different purchase than just an ordinary seat, it would preclude these Skynests from being booked using miles from partner airlines. That would definitely help out Air New Zealand since they would actually only have cash customers in these pods.