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Air New Zealand’s new prototype bed, the Economy Skynest, promises a lie-flat bed with a full size pillow and privacy curtains, the airline believes the Skynest pod will be a game changer for the industry.

Details are still a work in progress, including where on the plane the pod will be located, how it will be available for use, and of course how much extra it will cost on top of the standard economy fare. While not everyone will be willing to fork out the extra cash for a few hours sleep in the pod, there’s a clear market for some travellers who don’t need the luxury of business class, or even premium economy, but do want to arrive at their destination a little more refreshed.

Each pod will come with a seatbelt in case of turbulence, and potentially a meal pack for customers who have missed the meal service.

The Skynest comes nearly ten years after the initial release of Air New Zealand’s economy Skycouch, a row of seats which can be turned into a couch after take off. Initially dubbed ‘Cuddle Class’ by skeptics, it’s proven to be an ideal upgrade option for families with young children and has undergone various tweaks and improvements over the last decade, while other airlines have also jumped onboard with the concept.

If you are a Skycouch fan, don’t worry, the introduction of the Skynest isn’t a replacement. Skycouch will still be available. Passengers who use the sleeping pods will still keep their assigned economy seat.

The pod session lengths are still being worked around with customer testing ongoing, but it looks like passengers may be able to purchase a spot onboard in future, as well as in advance when booking their flight.

Air New Zealand said they are “still assessing the commercial proposition and viability of this product.” A final decision will be made on the Skynest in late 2021, after the airline has “assessed the performance of our inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.”


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