"We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go."

By Ian Horswill


Posted on February 26, 2020

Ever tried sleeping in economy class on a flight and if momentarily successful, woken up with a stiff neck or aching back? Air New Zealand thinks it has the answer.

Air New Zealand has unveiled a ground-breaking flat bed for economy class travellers.

“We hear you,” said the New Zealand airline.

The Economy Skynest, as Air New Zealand brands it, is the result of three years of research and development, with the input of more than 200 customers at its Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland.

Air New Zealand today filed the patent and trademark applications for the Economy Skynest which provides six full length lie-flat sleep pods, Air New Zealand said in a statement.

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod said that as the airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland to New York service at up to 17 hours 40 minutes one way, it is committed to putting more magic back into flying.

“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft. A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge,” Mr Tod said.

Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest next year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland to New York operations.

General Manager of Customer Experience, Nikki Goodman said customer and cabin crew feedback on the Economy Skynest during its final phase of development has been outstanding with significant partners also keenly involved.

“We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go. This is a game changer on so many levels,” Goodman said.

“We’re so excited to be sharing this product development with our customers. This is one of the highlights of three years’ intensive work centred on customer wellbeing. We’re sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying. We expect other airlines will want to explore licensing the Economy Skynest from us just as they have with the Economy Skycouch.”

Reeves said the scale of the challenge in developing the Economy Skynest and working through its certification with the necessary regulators is immense compared with the development of the Economy Skycouch.

“But it was a prize worth chasing and one that we think has the potential to be a game changer for economy class travellers on all airlines around the world.”