At a height that’s considered below average, and thanks to my yoga habits, I’m able to contort into a myriad of odd positions that help me find a sense of comfort on long-haul flights; at least for a few moments at a time.
But even I find airplane seats hideously uncomfortable — and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for taller travellers.
Today, in news that makes my back crack with excitement/joy/pure elation, it has been revealed that Air New Zealand is working on in-flight sleep pods, that allow passengers to lie completely flat aboard long-distance flights.
Named the Economy Skynest, the triangular pod is the result of three-years’ research undertaken by the award-winning airline to make travel more comfortable for its passengers.
Situated within the rear economy cabin, the pod will house room enough for six passengers to each occupy a full-length bed — three stacked on each side of the triangle. Dimensions will be at least 58cm wide and 200cm long.
It’s said travellers occupying the Skynest beds will receive a full-size pillow, blanket, earplugs and privacy curtains, while bespoke lighting will lull them into a comfortable sleep. Whether the pods will have a reading light, air nozzle and USB outlets is yet to be confirmed, but the airline is working on including these.
With all of its extras, Nikki Goodman, general manager of customer experience, says the airline is “creating space in which you feel comfortable enough to rest, relax and nod off”.
With no seatbelts, passengers will have to sit in economy seats during taxi, take-off and landing, but will be able to occupy the beds for the longest duration of the flight.
Jodi Williams, general manager global brand and content marketing, says the Skynest is “yet another way that we’re addressing customer pain points and looking at even more ways to fly comfortably in the economy cabin”.
No word yet on how much a bed in the Economy Skynest may cost, but the opportunity to lie flat on one of Air New Zealand’s near-18-hour flights to the US would surely feel priceless. Maybe. We’ll have to see about that when fare costs are revealed.