There are people who can sleep anywhere: at a party right next to the music system, on the floor, standing up – and of course with the back of the head leaning against the headrest of the aircraft seat, arms crossed in front of the chest, legs bent at right angles. And there are others. Those who watch one film after the other with a small eye during a 14-hour flight or walk up and down the aisle because they simply cannot find a sleeping position suitable for sleeping. The airline Air New Zealand now wants to offer a solution for them: bunk beds in economy class.
The New Zealand airline presented its new concept on Wednesday, but it could take more than a year to implement it. Air New Zealand calls the “Skynest” the V-shaped capsule with six beds, three of which are arranged one above the other. Photos show the narrow 200 x 58 centimeter sleeping cabins that Air New Zealand has developed over the past three years with blankets, pillows and curtains. Earplugs and sleep-friendly lighting are also to be provided in the cabins.
The airline flies some of the longest routes in the world, the company’s press release said. This includes the 17-hour direct flight from Auckland to New York planned from October. Air New Zealand must therefore ensure that flying is once again magic. “A sore point for travelers in the economy class is being unable to stretch out during a long-haul flight,” said Marketing Director Mike Tod. “The ‘Economy Skynest’ is the direct answer to that.”
What caused cheers among business travelers about 17 years ago should now even exist for vacationers who have to pay attention to the budget: lying on the long haul. Passengers could book the “Skynest” in the future to their economy seat. The airline left open how much the berth should cost. As the “New Zealand Herald” writes, the prices will probably be slightly below those of the premium economy class. It also remained open where exactly the “Skynest” should be placed on the plane.
Air New Zealand had already invented a more convenient concept for the economy class in 2011. If you book the “Skycouch”, you can convert your economy seats into a wide area after the start, on which either two people or a parent with children can lie side by side.
The self-proclaimed innovative airline is often discussed because of its extraordinary security videos. Sometimes a TV star explains to the passengers how to put on the breathing masks, sometimes it is the hobbits from Middle-earth. In 2014, the airline received sex allegations for an on-board video with bikini models.
How much is comfort worth?
With the economy class it is such a thing. Although it is usually very uncomfortable, it is often unbeatably cheap. Passengers on intercontinental flights often have to pay several thousand euros for the business class with reclining seats, airport lounge and welcome sparkling wine.
Many airlines now also offer an intermediate class. The Premium Economy costs moderately more than the Economy class and offers slightly wider seats, footrests and legroom. Against the “Skynest”, the premium economy also seems to look old. Why sit on a wider seat when you can lie for the same money?
Since there will only be six sleeping places in the capsule and therefore per flight, it can be expected that these will be sold out quickly. Passengers who would otherwise be huddled together in their narrow economy seats with thrombosis stockings can buy a feeling of exclusivity for a relatively small surcharge that is otherwise reserved for business class or first class guests. If only six passengers benefit from the innovation, the question arises whether the invention makes sense. For the airline, it is probably one thing above all: good for the image.