Flying long-haul in economy is hell, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. I’ve never slept well in an economy class seat, no matter how many pillows I bring. Maybe it’s easier to sleep in the luxurious enclaves of business class, but I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never slept in it.
Recognising that a good night’s sleep in economy is little more than a pipe dream, Air New Zealand has developed beds — yes, actual beds — for cattle class. They’re calling it Economy Skynest. The setup is still in the prototype stage, but the airline reckons there’s a decent chance of them being put into commercial use.
Skynest puts a pod of six lie-flat beds in economy class. Passengers would be able to book the beds in addition to their regular economy seat, perfect for those days where you just need to treat yourself.
The beds are over 2-metres long and over half a metre wide, so this is defs an upgrade from a lie-flat seat. That pink lighting is designed to not disturb sleep, and you’ll also get a full-size pillow and blanket. The airline is also toying with USB outlets, reading lights and ventilation in the pods.
The airline say the design was influenced by input from over 200 customers.
“It was a prize worth chasing and one that we think has the potential to be a game changer for economy class travellers on all airlines around the world,” said Kerry Reeves, Air New Zealand’s head of airline programs.
Air New Zealand operates some of the world’s longest flights. Its Auckland-Chicago route takes around 16 and a half hours, and its upcoming Auckland-NYC route will be an hour longer. The airline says that if this latter flight to NYC is popular, it’ll consider putting Economy Skynest into commercial use.
Just like a sleeper train, but in the sky!