Ultra long-haul flights across the Pacific Ocean are about to get much more comfortable thanks to an innovative new product from Air New Zealand. Skynest, a six-pod configured sleep zone, will offer economy and premium economy class passengers the opportunity to rent a bunk bed in the sky for a portion of flight. Skynest will debut on the New York and Chicago to Auckland flights beginning in September 2024.
Flight attendants will prepare the sleeping pod for passengers, setting out amenities to include a full-size pillow, sheets and a blanket. Each pod will feature a separate reading light, USB charging port, ventilation, and ambient lighting designed for rest.
Located between the premium economy and economy class cabins on the carrier’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Skynest pods will be available for booking in 4-hour blocks. The opportunity to stretch out, lay down and rest, even if only for a portion of the flight, will be a game-changer for travelers who cannot endure 16- and 17-hour flights spent entirely in a seated position.
For disabled passengers who need to reduce the risk of pressure sores, a 4-hour session in a Skynest pod could open up new opportunities for safe, long-distance travel at a fraction of the cost of a business class seat. Presumably, wheelchair users could be assisted from their economy class seat to the Skynest’s lower bunk using an onboard aisle wheelchair.
While Air New Zealand has yet to decide on a final revenue model, the carrier is considering pricing 4-hour Skynest sessions at $400 to $600 — that’s $100 to $150 per hour, a fee that seems high but offers significant savings over a premium cabin ticket. On flights of more than a dozen hours, the opportunity to trade in a cramped economy class seat for a proper bed may prove too hard to pass up.
To learn more about the Skynest product, check out the press release from Air New Zealand, and be sure to stay tuned for updates as the September 2024 product launch approaches.