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This Airline Is Launching Economy Bunkbeds From 2 U.S. Cities

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We’ve all been there – a long-haul flight wedged in a middle seat where it is nearly impossible to get any rest. Or the sting of envy felt walking past the plush business class cabin on the way to economy, wishing we had enough money in our pocket to relax in one of the lie-flat seats.

Well, it seems one airline has come up with a creative solution to allow economy passengers the chance to get some rest during their flights.

An air New Zealand plane flies over rocky mountains

Earlier this week, the executives at Air New Zealand announced new details of their plan to offer customers a first-of-its-kind design for some of its economy cabins.

The concept, which was first teased back in 2022, is due to launch on flights beginning in September 2024, including on two U.S. routes.

Here’s everything you need to know.

A woman in a red shirt sleeps on an airplane next to two young passengers

A Nest In The Sky

The name says it all – the Skynest will be a cozy sleep pod available exclusively for economy passengers on certain routes.

Configured as a cluster of six pods, each unit will come complete with bed linens, a pillow, and other conveniences, including ear plugs, a USB outlet, and specialized lighting designed to lull you to sleep.

There will also be a seat belt so that passengers won’t need to return to their seats when the seat belt light goes on.

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Passengers rest in Air New Zealand's Skynest
Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand

A nap in the sky nest will need to be booked ahead of time. And while the airline has yet to nail down every last detail, they have teased a few specifics.

  • Each passenger can only book one session in the Skynest
  • Sessions will last 4 hours
  • There will be a 30-minute buffer between sessions to allow time for the flight crew to change the bedding
  • Lights will slowly illuminate at the end of each session to wake passengers, and crew will be available to gently wake any passengers who fail to wake up when the lights come on.
An Air New Zealand crew member looks into the new Skynest bunkbeds
Photo Courtesy of Air New Zealand

Making Ultra-Long Haul Easier In Economy

Flying to New Zealand from the U.S. takes a long time. Depending on where you depart from, the flight can last anywhere between 9 and over 17 hours.

Air New Zealand has recognized that Americans value comfort and sleep during long-haul flights and has responded by choosing two U.S. routes to launch the Skynest feature.

Queenstown, NEW ZEALAND - DEC 9, 2016: Airplane of Air New Zealand takes off from runway in Queenstown airport, Queenstown, South Island of New Zealand.

The first routes to fly with Skynests onboard will be Auckland to New York and Auckland to Chicago.

Air New Zealand is confident that the Skynest will be a game-changer for its passengers.

The company’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty 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.”

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The Airline has been a leader in innovative design, and the Skynest is not the only creative sleep solution they offer. Air New Zealand is one of the airlines that offers passengers the option to book a Skycouch.

On select flights, economy seats can be converted into a bed by blocking out the whole row and adding a special footrest.

Woman sleeping on a plane

How Much Will It Cost?

The exact price of a snooze session inside the Skynest is not confirmed. However, the airline has indicated that it will cost between $250 – $380 for the four-hour period.

While that might seem like a steep price to pay for a nap, it will likely be worth it for many passengers, given that the flying time is so long and the time difference between the two destinations is so great.

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