Travel | June 29, 2022 2:46 pm

Economy Sleep Pods Are Coming to Air New Zealand Long Hauls

Did somebody say bunkbeds?

Air New Zealand Sleep Pods
Air New Zealand Sleep Pods
Air New Zealand

From double-decker plane seats and floating airplane furniture to supersonic passenger jets and even nuclear-powered flying hotels, there are always a lot of lofty ideas circulating when the future of air travel is involved. But one airline is putting their money where their mouth is and delivering on one of their more outlandish proposals.

Per a new report from The Guardian, Air New Zealand is set to install sleep pods on some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners that will allow economy passengers access to a fully flat bed sleeping experience for what the airline is calling the first time ever.

Starting in 2024, economy passengers will have the option to book four-hour sessions in what is being coined “Skynest” on long haul flights like the airline’s direct flight from Auckland to New York’s JFK, which clocks in at 17 hours. Skynest will consist of six sleeping pods, stacked on on top of one another a la bunk beds, with sheets and mattresses that the crew will change following the conclusion of each session.

While the pricing has yet to be determined, Greg Foran — Air New Zealand’s chief executive — said the addition of the bunk-style beds will be “a real game-changer for the economy travel experience.” Further, the new Dreamliners will continue to feature the airline’s popular Skycouch, which is the option to buy a row of three economy seats that turn into — you guessed it! — a couch.

“New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long-haul travel experience. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested,” Foran said. “Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot — they want to hit the ground running.”

The idea of Skynest was originally unveiled in 2020, just before the pandemic, but similar to double-decker plane seats, no one expected it to come to fruition. That said, this year Air New Zealand was named the safest airline in the world and, in 2020, it was voted the best airline in the world, too, so it really isn’t all that surprising to see them follow through on an amenity like Skynest for economy passengers. This is also fresh off the heels of Air New Zealand launching the first direct route from the East Coast to New Zealand — one of the current longest flights in the world.