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29th Jun 2022

Airline to launch world-first economy bunk beds for long-haul flights

April Curtin

Becoming a mile-high club member will still prove tricky

Economy passengers could soon have the chance to actually catch a few decent zzz’s during long-haul flights as bunk bed-style sleeping pods are added by one airline.

Air New Zealand will introduce the brand new communal sleeping spaces to their planes in an attempt to encourage passengers to embark on their 17-hour flights.

The concept is called ‘Skynest’ and being billed as a world first in the aviation industry, The Guardian reports. Six Skynest pods will be installed across eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Air New Zealand is expected to launch the concept by 2024.

Economy passengers will still be given normal, non-reclining seats but will get the opportunity to book four-hour sessions in the pods if they’re willing to pay extra.

The pods will include a mattress and sheets, which will of course be changed by cabin crew after each booking to keep things fresh. Though things could get a little cosy, with beds stacked on top of each other to take advantage of all the space available.

Thankfully, each pod will have a curtain to provide privacy, as well as USB charging points and “ventilation outlets”.

The cost for a four-hour sleeping sesh is yet to be decided, an Air New Zealand spokesperson told The Guardian, but they did confirm that the beds will be open to both regular and premium economy passengers.

Those looking to get a full 12-hours will sadly struggle, as the pods will only be available to book for one session per flight. What’s more, anyone hoping to get frisky while flying will also be disappointed, given that the pods will be limited to one person at a time.

Air New Zealand’s chief executive, Greg Foran, said the beds will be “a real game-changer for the economy travel experience.

“We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested,” he said.

Of course, this isn’t the first new development that is set to make the flying experience comfier for customers.

Australian airline Qantas has announced “wellbeing zones” for economy passengers to move around and stretch out on ultra-long-haul flights. It comes after the airline unveiled plans to run non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York by the end of 2025, some of which will run for 20 hours at a time.

Air New Zealand already offers ‘Skycouch’, which is when passengers who have booked a row of seats or have spare seats next to them can ask for footrests which turn the row into a makeshift bed.