The economy-class airplane seat is set to get an upgrade. Air New Zealand has created a prototype sleeping pod for economy-class travel. On February 25, the airline filed patent and trademark applications for the ‘Economy Skynest’. The product is a result of three years of research, development, and testing based on inputs from more than 200 customers in Auckland.
What are the features of the sleeping pod?
The official announcement revealed that the Skynest will have six full-length lie-flat sleep pods in the Economy cabin. The exact location of where they will be placed inside the aircraft is yet to be determined. Each pod is about 200 centimeters (6.5 feet) long and 58 centimeters (22 inches) wide. It will come with a pillow, sheets, blanket, ear plugs and privacy curtains. Additional features like reading lights and USB outlets might also be added.
Customer officer Mike Tod said in a statement: “A clear pain point for economy travelers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge.” There has been no formal certification application for the sleeping pods yet. But officials at the airlines have said “however we have designed the concept to meet all regulatory requirements.” The airline is yet to determine the costs of the sleeping pods. They are also still assessing the commercial proposition and product viability.
Making economy-class comfortable
Air New Zealand has consistently worked towards making the economy class more comfortable for passengers. It launched the ‘Economy Skycouch’ in 2011, allowing passengers traveling together to transform their seats into a bed.
Final decisions on the ‘Economy Skynest’ will be made by the airline in 2021. This will be after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations, due to take flight in October 2020.That flight, one of the longest in the world, will take an estimated 17 hours and 40 minutes one way.