SkyNests will go into service in 2024 on aircraft serving Air New Zealand’s ultra long-haul nonstop routes, such as Chicago or New York to Auckland. The company has had the concept in development for the past five years.
New Zealand's national carrier Air New Zealand announced it would introduce lie-flat “pods” in an economy class airplane section in 2024.
The pods dubbed "SkyNests" will go into service on aircraft serving Air New Zealand’s ultra long-haul routes, such as Chicago or New York to Auckland, which take up to 17.5 hours.
The seats are fully flat, made up with real mattresses plus cooling pillows and bedding, and located in the back of the plane, right behind the premium economy cabin. The description of the concept sounds very charming, however, it comes with some strings attached.
First, the seats won’t be included in the price of an economy ticket, as SkyNests are a separate product. The cost of one SkyNest "seat" has yet to be determined, but it will be available to anyone in economy or premium economy.
Secondly, one will be able to book them only for four hours, since it is the amount of time the airline has determined it takes to allow guests two sleep cycles (which are typically about 90 minutes), with additional time to wind down and wake up.
All the beds will be turned around by cabin attendants, who will sanitize and replace the linens in 30-minute cleaning windows.
It’s been 170,000 hours of design, constant evolutions of small and large design developments, tweaks and engineering feats to get to where we are,
says Leanne Geraghty, the airline’s chief customer and sales officer.
SkyNest comes as a further development of the concept called SkyCouch already introduce on Air New Zealand flights. This is a lie-flat option in economy which allows passengers to extend specially-designed footrests from all three seats in an economy row, to effectively widen those seats and turn the section into a little bed.
In contrast to the SkyCouch, the SkyNest won’t have awkward gaps and raised armrests between seats. Add to that, the thickness of the mattress and you get a perfect bed in an airplane.