Air New Zealand has recently created a bit of a stir by installing pillows that have previously been used by NASA. The pillows that are usually used by astronauts is being adopted by Air New Zealand with the intention of improving comfort for passengers. But what’s so special about these particular pillows?
Sleeping for astronauts
The first thing to note about sleeping for astronauts is that it doesn’t exactly involve bedding down for the night! Instead, astronauts sleep in sophisticated sleeping bags that are fixed to the wall or ceiling of the pod in which they’re sleeping. This ensures that they don’t float off or bump into something in the often zero-gravity conditions that they experience.
This means that astronauts also need specialist pillows in order to be comfortable for the night, in their often somewhat uncomfortable conditions. And this is where the NASA pillow comes in. The pillows that have been adopted by Air New Zealand have been coated with a substance referred to as Outlast, which provides a variety of benefits.
Top of the list is the temperature moderation provided by Outlast, with the substance originally developed for use in space gloves. Outlast helps protect astronauts against extreme fluctuations in temperature, and thus the pillows used by Air New Zealand will help ensure that passengers are kept cool at all times.
Commenting on the new innovation, Air New Zealand senior manager of customer experience Niki Chave told Business Traveller that the new pillows would make a major contribution to the in-flight experience for Air New Zealand customers.
“We know quality sleep is important to our passengers, particularly those travelling in business premier on our long-haul routes. This pillow allows passengers to lay on the side that regulates their temperature or sleep on the regular side, which ultimately gives them more control over their environment,” Chave stated.
Aside from the benefits for passengers, the pillow is also ecologically-friendly, as it is manufactured via an entirely carbon-neutral process. German bedding company Paradies are responsible for the production of the pillow, which will be pleasing to those concerned with green issues, as the manufacturer places climate protection and sustainability at the heart of its business and ethos. Air New Zealand also notes that the Outlast-coated pillow is hypoallergenic.
The pillow will only be available for business premier customers and has been initially introduced on the airline’s Chicago route – the longest flight on the Air New Zealand network. However, if the product is popular with customers then there is a good chance that it will be rolled out more extensively in the years to come.
Air New Zealand has faced a challenging period in recent months after its most recent financial reports revealed that its annual net profit had plummeted by 31%. The airline also recently retired the Boeing 747.