Vanishing legroom, a ban on hoverboards, and the possibility of a standing-room-only cabin — it seems the airlines are doing their worst to make air travel as terrible as possible these days. Every so often, however, we witness a spark of brilliance. To wit, Air New Zealand just announced the possibility of bunk beds for economy class passengers.
The concept images of the so-called Economy Skynest show six lie-flat sleeping pods stacked, bunk-bed-style in two columns of three beds each. Air New Zealand intends to allow economy passengers to purchase the upgrade and enjoy a quick nap or a seriously intense snooze on its longest-haul flights. The latest version of the Skynest beds is nearly 80 inches long and just shy of 23 inches wide. That’s compact, though not cramped by any means. It certainly beats struggling to nap for the better part of a day in an economy seat with two inches of recline.
Air New Zealand will likely include the necessary accessories for passengers to secure a good night’s sleep. The sleep kit will be similar to that offered to current business-class passengers: A full pillow, a blanket, sheets, and earplugs, plus a privacy curtain and mood lighting. If the concept takes off, the airline plans to include additional conveniences like USB power ports, a reading light, and better ventilation.
The national airline of New Zealand runs some of the world’s longest flights. When it launches next year, the trip from Auckland to New York City, for example, will clock in at nearly 18 hours one-way. So, Air New Zealand knows a thing or two about the miseries of long-haul travel, and the potential to make it better. It was the first airline to unveil the Skycouch — an option to allow economy class passengers to spread out across three full seats with extended leg rests to form a proper “couch.”
For now, the Skynest is only a concept, but the airline confirms that it’s seriously considering its potential. No official pricing or other details have been announced. What we do know is that the bunk beds would likely be sold as an add-on purchase for economy class passengers. The pods could be booked for an entire flight or in hour-long windows for quick naps. Just pack your own travel pillow and a topped-up travel flask, and suddenly that 18-hour flight might not seem so bad.
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