It seems Air New Zealand is pulling back more of the curtain about its Skynest (the economy class bunk-bed) product.
It was unveiled at TRENZ – New Zealand’s largest international tourism business event – where a real-life Skynest experience was available for the first time.
The Skynest will be a six-pod configured sleep zone that offers sessions for economy passengers to lie down when travelling long haul.
It will be available from September 2024, with Air New Zealand on its New York and Chicago routes from 2024.
When deployed, each pod will include a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, a personal device USB outlet, a ventilation outlet, and lighting designed for rest.
The Skynest will be located between Premium Economy and Economy cabins, and each pod will come with a separate seatbelt to ensure passengers can fasten them and stay in the pod should the seat belt sign come on during turbulence.
The bedding will be changed between each session, and a 30-minute transition time will be allowed for this. The lights will gently come on at the end of each session, and crew will politely wake any passengers who sleep through this.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said:
“Our 83-year history is marked by a commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. SkyNest is the latest example, and we’re proud to be leading the way with this world-first cabin feature.
“SkyNest has captured the imagination of a global audience and its uniqueness has already been acknowledged by multiple awards – the latest being a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards. We’re delighted that customers are as excited about this new innovation as we are. Our extensive research and design process, which spanned five years and 170,000 hours, has resulted in a product that we’re confident will revolutionise the in-flight experience for Economy passengers.”
On the deployed, she added
“We’re delighted to announce that our innovative Economy Skynest will be launching on ultra-long haul flights, starting with the popular Auckland – New York and Auckland – Chicago routes.
“North America is the perfect market for Skynest, as it has a premium segment that values comfort and sleep during long-haul travel.
“With our ultra-long haul routes to destinations such as New York and Chicago, Skynest provides a unique and innovative way for our passengers to rest and recharge, making their journey with us even more enjoyable. By launching Skynest on these routes, we are bringing to life our commitment to providing choice, alongside the best possible experience for our passengers, and to continue to innovate and lead the way in the aviation industry.
Air New Zealand has not confirmed pricing yet, with the airline working through how it will integrate into the booking prices. However, they are looking at charging between $400 to $600 for the 4-hour period you’ll be occupying the SkyNest.
Would you pay for it?
$400 is a chunk of cash – and in some cases, can make a substantial amount of the cost of the airfare. The question is – is it worth it for four hours of flat-bed rest, compared to being reclined in a seat, or using a Skycouch?
It’s certainly an interesting proposition – with the airline targeting ultra-long haul segments in the first deployments to Chicago and New York, with a flight time of 16 hours and 15 minutes – real Sicily, that works out to three “four-hour sessions”, including an hour in total for cleaning time (assuming no one is in the bunks for take-off or landing and allowing a first service to be carried out).
For those that need to be bright and breezy, whilst flying economy class on landing, it could be the trick – but four hours feels a little short in your sleep-deprived author’s eyes…
Images, Air New Zealand.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond. Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, in-depth coverage, unique research, as well as the humour and madness I only know how to deliver.
Also, remember that we are part of the BoardingArea community, bringing you the latest frequent flyer news from around the world.