Called ‘Skynest’ the Kiwi airline announced across its social media channels that it has filed a patent and trademark applications for six full-length lie-flat sleeping pods measuring 200cm by 58cm.
This move could be game-changing for economy passengers, especially as the airline charters some of the world’s longest flights, including the upcoming 17-hour Auckland to New York City route launching in October this year.
Skynest is a result of three years of research and input from over 200 customers, the airline says.
"We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft,” Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer, Mike Tod says.
“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.”
However, the airline says it won’t make a final decision on whether to push forward with Skynest until 2021, after it’s monitored the performance of its Auckland to New York route.
Nikki Goodman, general manager of customer experience, says economy class customers would be able to book the Economy Skynest, which would be fitted with pillows, sheets blankets and a privacy curtain, in addition to their economy seat.
Goodman adds: “We're sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying.”