Innovation /

Airline to Launch World's First Sleep Pods for Economy Passengers

'We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that's how Skynest was born' CEO says


Long-haul flights are about to get a lot more comfortable for international travelers.

Air New Zealand is set to debut a new Business Premier Luxe suite, new Business Premier suite, and the world’s first sleeping pods for economy fliers.

Airlines are businesses that operate on tight margins and need to be profitable. Commercial planes are typically designed with performance and efficiency in mind, not comfort. But, Air New Zealand invested in the upgrades in response to customer feedback showing that top concerns were the need for more comfort and space, along with the importance of sleep.

The research was conducted over five years and resulted in a complete redesign of the interior of their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, set to arrive in 2024. With the upgraded features, passengers in all classes — not just first class and business — will have the ability to enjoy more relaxing travel.

“It’s a proud moment to finally unveil five years of hard mahi, in what truly is a cabin of possibility. One that will provide customers with options to get some shut eye wherever they’re sitting,” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a press release.

Economy seating areas will feature more space, storage, and a 50 percent bigger screen for entertainment. There will also be economy stretch seating that provides more legroom, and an economy Skycouch that passengers can either share or keep to themselves.

The biggest upgrade is the economy Skynest, where economy fliers can stretch out in a pod and catch some shut eye.

“We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that’s how Skynest was born,” Foran said. “It’s going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience.”

Economy travelers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the cabin redesign.

Premium economy customers have seats that recline without interrupting the passenger behind them. Business premier travelers will have private single-seat nests. And business premier luxe fliers will have a fully reclining seat, fully closing door and space for two to dine.

Airlines are among the most hated industries for consumers. Seventy percent of air travelers cite onboard comfort as a top priority.

Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep so everything we do onboard is to help create a sense of calm – from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to the healthier food choices and breathable fabrics,” Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said. “Meditative onscreen content, Zentertainment, will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest.”

Air New Zealand’s new fleet will also be more sustainable, using lighter fabrics and serviceware to reduce carbon emissions.

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