If you’ve had trouble sleeping on a long flight, and just wish you could lie down for a few hours, Air New Zealand might just have the solution for you.
And the airline thinks you might be willing to pay nearly $400 for the privilege.
On Wednesday, Air New Zealand Revelation more details on “Skynest,” a pod of bunkbeds first announced by the airline last June. The pod includes six bunks, each including a pillow, sheets, a blanket, a reading light, and a USB outlet to charge personal devices.
The airline States the pods will be available from September 2024 on Auckland-Chicago and Auckland-New York journeys. The Air New Zealand flight to the latter destination, about 17.5 hours, is the fourth longest commercial flight in the world.
But there are some extra details for economy passengers who want the luxury of an in-flight bed.
First is the price. Skynest is an additional cost to the ticket price, so passengers have to spend more for a bunk bed. While Air New Zealand says it has yet to finalize the price, a booking is expected cost between 400 to 600 New Zealand dollars (about $250 to $380 at current exchange rates).
Second is that a passenger can only book one four-hour slot for the entire flight. When bedtime is over, the pod’s lights will “slow on” to wake passengers and send them back to their seats. Fall asleep, and a crew member will “politely wake” you up.
The crew then prepares the pod for the next customer, changing beds during the 30-minute shift period.
Bunkbeds aren’t Air New Zealand’s only luxury plan for passengers on its long-haul flights. The airline already offers “Skycouch”, which allows passengers to book a special row of three seats with special footrests that transform them into a bench.
The plane also debuted a modified business class in September, when it launched its nonstop flight to New York.
Some airlines are thinking of more comfort for long-haul passengers. The Australian airline Qantas, for example, has Controls adjusted Airbus planes that include more leg room and a “Wellbeing Zone” for passengers on its planned Sydney-New York and Sydney-London flights, starting in late 2025.
Air New Zealand is recovering from years of losses due to the country’s strict COVID restrictions throughout much of the pandemic. The island nation imposed travel restrictions early in the pandemic, ordering centralized quarantine for international arrivals and sometimes barring entry to non-citizens and non-residents. The rules triggered the country’s international tourism sector—the largest source of foreign exchange pre-pandemic—to disappear.
The nation is uplifted these restrictions in July, and the government is now trying to bring the visitors back. The country’s statistics bureau reports that international visitors in January—the middle of the country’s peak summer travel season—were at Two thirds at pre-pandemic levels.
Earlier this year, Air New Zealand reported $1.9 billion in revenue for the six-month period ending December 31, 2022, compared to $713 million in the same period last year. The airline also reported a net profit of $134 million in the same period, down from a $172 million loss a year earlier. The airline says it is flying at 60% of its international capacity.