Air New Zealand will launch its Skynest economy sleeping pods on North American long-haul flights from September 2024.
The Skynest pods, which economy and premium economy passengers will be able to book separately for four-hour sessions, will initially be rolled out on flights from Auckland to New York and Chicago for around $400-$600 NZD per session.
The bunk bed-style pods, located between the economy and premium economy cabins, will be limited to one session per passenger, though families on the same ticket will be able to book separate sessions for each person pending availability.
Air New Zealand says each pod will feature a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet, ventilation outlet, and lighting designed for rest, as well as a fastenable seatbelt. Sessions will be separated by 30 minutes to allow bedding to be changed.
According to Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty, North America is the “perfect market” for Skynest due to the presence of a premium passenger segment that values comfort and sleep on long flights.
“With our ultra-long-haul routes to destinations such as New York and Chicago, Skynest provides a unique and innovative way for our passengers to rest and recharge, making their journey with us even more enjoyable,” she said.
“By launching Skynest on these routes, we are bringing to life our commitment to providing choice, alongside the best possible experience for our passengers, and to continue to innovate and lead the way in the aviation industry.”
First announced in 2022, the Skynest pods will appear on Air New Zealand’s eight new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The news comes as airlines are increasingly looking to better monetise the seats on board.
Qantas’s new A350-1000s that will fly Project Sunrise flights from 2025, for example, will have more than 40 per cent of the cabin dedicated to “premium seating”.
Its six first-class suites are all complete with a privacy door, separate bed, lounge chair, individual wardrobe and a 32-inch inflight entertainment screen, while its 52 business suites feature direct aisle access.
The 40 premium economy seats, meanwhile, will boast a 40-inch pitch and the 140 standard economy seats a 33-inch pitch.
Passengers will also have access to what it terms a “wellbeing zone”, with a self-serve snack station and digital displays providing movement and stretching recommendations.