Air New Zealand Wants To Trial Flat Beds In Economy


One of the greatest luxuries of flying in business or first class is the ability for passengers to lay back and stretch their legs out on long journeys. Those with economy tickets could also soon enjoy this benefit with Air New Zealand’s Economy Skynest.

The Skynest could be a gamechanger for long haul flying. Photo: Air New Zealand

Potential game-changer

According to a press release, the flag carrier of New Zealand has been working on a prototype that provides six full-length lie-flat sleep pods.

The airline has been working on this initiative for three years, with the help of over 200 customers in Auckland. Now, it is one step closer to becoming a reality. This is because a patent has been filed and a trademark application been made.

Economy Skynest
The pod has been designed to be able to offer enough room for passengers while fitting in the economy cabin. Photo: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod shared how his company wants to offer greater comfort for economy passengers. He recognizes that long-distance flights are primarily a struggle for these customers.

“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft,” Tod said, as per the press release.

“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.”

Photo: Air New Zealand

Good timing

One of the key routes that the pods will be appreciated on is the upcoming Auckland-New York service, which launches in October 2020. Passengers traveling between New Zealand and the United States on this flight will have to endure 17 hours 40 minutes one way. Therefore, this is the perfect route to test the Economy Skynest on.

The concept will be tested on ultra-long-haul routes. Photo: Air New Zealand

Nikki Goodman, the carriers’ general manager of customer experience also shared her excitement about the project. She said that feedback from customers and cabin crew during the final phase of development had been fantastic. Goodman also sees other airlines following Air New Zealand’s approach and predicts that others will license the product from the firm.

The concept is a result of three years of research and development. Photo: Air New Zealand

What’s included?

Each pod will hold a length of 200cm, with the width at the shoulder area measuring at 58cm. Ultimately, the carrier plans to have a full-sized pillow, sheets, and a blanket included in each pod.


Furthermore, there will be earplugs, ambient lighting and a curtain for privacy. Additionally, the company is looking at other features such as reading lights, ventilation outlets, and USB outlets.

Simple Flying reached out to Air New Zealand for comment on the introduction of the Economy Skynest into operations. A spokesperson shared that since this is a prototype, the company will make a final decision on whether to operate it next year after it has evaluated the performance of its first year of Auckland-New York services.

Altogether, this project will definitely be welcomed by several passengers that struggle to catch some sleep in the air.

Can you see yourself catching up on sleep in Economy Skynest? Let us know what you think of the project in the comment section.