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Bunk beds in economy class? They're coming to Air New Zealand flights

Branded as Skynest, these 'lie-flat' sleep pods have been in development for more than five years and are purpose-built for travellers to snooze in comfort on selected flights. You'll have to wait until 2024 though. 

Ever wanted to recreate the experience of sleeping in a bunk bed, but 30,000 feet in the air? 

Air New Zealand’s promising just that by rolling out Skynest, which the airline says is “the world's first sleep pods in the sky for Economy travellers”. 

But those who want to try bunking up in the air will have to wait a while. The pods, furnished with real mattresses along with cooling pillows and bedding, will only be available on Air New Zealand’s new Dreamliner flights from 2024 onwards. 

While the pods will be made available to Economy and Premium Economy travellers, there are a few caveats there as well.  

First, only six pods will be available at the back of the planes they’re fitted into. Additionally, travellers must pay a separate price from their flight tickets for time on the pods, which can only be booked in four-hour blocks.

According to Bloomberg, the airline reached this number by putting together two sleep cycles (90 minutes each) along with extra time to fall asleep and wake up.

(Photo: Air New Zealand)

But if hygiene’s your concern – valid, considering the times we live in – the airline’s prepped on that front as well. Cabin attendants will sanitise it and replace the sheets in a pod as soon as it’s vacated. 

The airline revealed in a statement on Wednesday (Jun 29) that it had conducted extensive research over five years and landed on sleep during flights as a primary concern raised by travellers, along with space and comfort while doing so. 

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said: “We know how important it is for our customers to arrive (at their destination) well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot – they want to hit the ground running. 

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

Source: CNA/sr