New Zealand airline to launch bunks for economy class

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For the first time, economy class passengers will have the option of sleeping in real beds during flights.

THE Air New Zealand announced that its “Skynest” concept, which features six full-body sleeping pods, will be among the offerings on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are expected to enter service in 2024.

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Each sleeping pod will be located between the Premium Economy and Economy cabins and includes a full-size pillow, bedding, earplugs, reading light, USB port and vent. The pods are stacked like bunk beds, with two rows each containing three beds.

An Air New Zealand media representative told CNN via email that the airline is still working on the exact details of how they will be booked, but offered some information on how it might go.

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“At this stage, each passenger will be limited to a four-hour session in a capsule, at an additional cost to regular economy class seats,” says the representative. “The airline has done good research on sleep cycles. A typical sleep cycle is around 90 minutes, so a four-hour session gives clients the opportunity to relax, fall asleep and wake up.”
Bed linen will be changed between each session.

Considering that Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights on the planet, the beds will provide a welcome respite for travelers who cannot sleep sitting up.

In September 2022, Air New Zealand will launch nonstop flights between Auckland and New York’s JFK airport. The flight time? 5 pm – one of the longest scheduled passenger flights in the world.

“The New Zealand location puts us in a unique position to lead the way in the long-distance travel experience,” CEO Greg Foran said in a statement.

“We focus on sleep, comfort and well-being because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they’re heading straight to a meeting or their first vacation spot – they want to start with everything.”

New offerings include ‘Business Premier Luxe’ suites

Creating innovative new seating concepts is the easy part. Getting them into the skies is a long and complicated process that involves mountains of testing and government approvals.

CNN first reported on the Skynest concept in early 2020, when the airline filed patent and trademark applications after three years of research, development and testing based on input from more than 200 customers in a hangar in Auckland.

As mentioned above, it will still be another two years before Skynest is available for booking.

In addition to eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which will be delivered to the airline from 2024, Air New Zealand is also upgrading its current 787-9 fleet.

The planes will have eight or four Business Premier Luxe seats, 42 or 22 Business Premier seats, 52 or 33 Premium Economy seats and 125 or 213 Economy seats.

The aircraft used on the long-haul routes will include the six Skynest sleep pods.

“Research shows us that the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep, so everything we do on board is to help create a sense of calm – from lighting and the sleep ritual, including teas and balms, to healthier food choices and breathable fabrics,” said Leanne Geraghty, Director of Customers and Sales.

“On-screen meditative content, Zentertainment, will also help customers relax and prepare for rest.”

Economy class passengers aren’t the only ones to receive an upgrade either. The new cabins will also feature “Business Premier Luxe” suites, which offer greater privacy.

These will feature the same amenities as the airline’s Business Premier class, but with a fully closed door and enough space for two people to dine together.

Source: CNN Brasil

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