Sleep pods for economy passengers, Air New Zealand confirms

Economy passengers who are already breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of a long-haul flight will be happy to hear that things are finally changing.

Air New Zealand confirmed this week that it will launch its first “Skynest” sleep pods with the new Dreamliner jets that will be added to its fleet in 2024.

“It’s time to swap out the headrest for some bed rest,” the Kiwi wearer said in a tweet featuring images (below) of the new economy class sleeping pods for flights to the US and Europe.

Unveiled a few years ago by the airline, the sleeping capsules will be approximately 79 inches (200 centimeters) long and 31 inches (58 centimeters) wide and will come with bedding, a charging port and a reading light. A privacy curtain is also part of the design. To make way for a set of six pods, the airline has removed five economy seats on its inbound Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The downside – yes, this is economical, so there must be at least one – is that you can’t use a Skynest pod for the entire long haul. Instead, you’re limited to a four-hour slot, with only one slot available per passenger per flight. The additional costs – another drawback – have yet to be announced.

Air New Zealand said customer feedback had “highlighted the importance of a good night’s sleep and the need for more space and comfort”, leading to the design for the sleep pods.

Commenting on the new position, Greg Foran, CEO of the carrier said: “New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead the way in ultra-long travel experiences. We have focused on sleep, comfort and well-being because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well rested.”

Foran added: “Whether they go straight to a meeting or to their first holiday hotspot, they want to get started right away. We wanted to offer our economy customers a lay-flat option and so Skynest was born. It will be a real game changer for the economy travel experience.”

Even if it’s just for four hours, a nap in a sleeping pod is sure to relieve the stress of being trapped on the bus during a very long flight.

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