Good rest for all coming next year.

Passengers sleeping on beds part, of Air New Zealand’s Skynest economy class product.
Photo: Air New Zealand

We’ve recently seen the innovative aircraft cabin ideas shortlisted by Crystal Cabin Award. Although we must wait till June to find out who the winners are at the Airline Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, it shows us what we could expect soon in air travel innovation. Lufthansa’s new “Allegris” first class product, which Simple Flying accessed a few weeks ago, appeared on the list, as did one of the biggest potential shakeups to economy class from Air New Zealand: Skynest.

It’s not the first time the carrier has tried to help passengers get a good night’s sleep on long-haul routes. Air New Zealand already offers a “Skycouch” product, a private row of economy seats with footrests that unfold upwards to create flat surfaces, supplied with bedding and pillows. However, curling up on a set of economy seats isn’t particularly new; passengers who have lucked out with a row to themselves have done the same before. But Skynest seeks to offer something radically different.

New boundaries for long-haul economy

Air New Zealand’s Skynest is a standalone structure featuring six pods with fully flat bunks designed to offer the first genuine bed product for the economy cabin. As the carrier puts it, passengers can…

“, stretch out and boost their physical and mental wellbeing during their journey.”

In an age where ultra-long-haul travel is increasingly common, the industry must look at ways to make the economy class experience more comfortable.

Air New Zealand’s Skynest beds for economy class passengers.

Photo: Air New Zealand

While not often discussed, cramped sitting for many hours can have adverse health effects. Flights from Auckland to Houston take about 14 hours, while those to New York are closer to 17, and not taking the opportunity to move around for this length of time can increase the likelihood of developing blood clots. Skynest would help fight this condition, in addition to making passengers feel more refreshed upon landing.

Travelers can purchase their Skynest experience as an add-on to an economy seat ticket, as they currently do with Skycouch. However, unlike Skycouch, you can only reserve a four-hour block rather than the space for the whole flight. This structure likely means each bed will be available for three passengers per flight, though we don’t know the price of booking a few hours in a pod yet.

What can we expect from Skynest?

Fortunately, the opportunity cost of adding six beds in the economy cabin was six economy seats. While a Skycouch add-on for solo travelers can more than double the price, multiple passengers will split the cost of a Skynest bed. With one-way tickets from Auckland direct to New York in April 2023 as low as $856, or $1,260 on average, perhaps a four-hour nap would cost around $350.

A map showing the cabin and seat configurations coming to Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9s in 2024.

Photo: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s most innovative economy class product will debut next year on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. And while we wait in anticipation to see how Skynest performs, the new airliners will have something in store for all classes. Newly designed premium economy seats offer more privacy and space than before. The most premium cabin will include several Business Premiere seats and Premiere Luxe fully enclosed suites. Travelers to and from New Zealand have much to be excited about next year.

What do you think about Skynest? Would you want to try the product or see adopted versions on other airlines? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources: Air New Zealand, Crystal Cabin Award, OMAAT, CNN

  • Air New Zealand, Boeing 787, Paint issue

    Most of the missing bags found their way back from New York to Auckland via Los Angeles. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

    Air New Zealand

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, Wellington Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Greg Foran

    New Zealand


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