Airline to debut next-level sleeping pods for economy class flights

Air New Zealand is giving passengers on long flights the chance to kick back and relax in one of their new sleeping pods. (Photo courtesy of Air New Zealand airline from a 2020 test run) (Air New Zealand)

Falling asleep aboard a flight can be a hassle given the lack of space on airplanes, but one airline has a new, creative solution to help you enjoy slumber in the air.

Air New Zealand is giving passengers on long flights the chance to kick back and relax in one of their new sleeping pods. These full-length beds will be available on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners planes expected to launch in 2024.

The new beds are part of the company’s new concept their testing called Skynest, which they first introduced in 2020. Air New Zealand said they spent three years researching and developing the concept, using the input of more than 200 customers, FOX News reported. 

Earlier this week, the airline tweeted photos of the plush pods. The new beds feature full-size pillows, privacy curtains, ear plugs, a reading light, and a USB port to connect your favorite devices. The airliner announced that these new beds will be located between economy and premium economy cabins.

These sleep pods are considered a way to ease the burden for passengers sitting on long flights, Kerry Reeves, the airline’s head of aircraft programs, explained in a video posted on YouTube.

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"It’s time to swap the headrest for some bed rest," the airline tweeted Tuesday. Say hello to the world’s first sleep pods in the sky, Skynest. Stretch out in one of six pods for part of your journey and catch some shut-eye. A game-changer for economy travellers."

To create space for the sleep pods, the airline is removing five economy seats, but if you are not ready to get some zzz's, then there’s a sky pantry in the premium economy and economy cabins to kick back and relax or enjoy a meal. 

"New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-longhaul travel experience," Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a statement. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot - they want to hit the ground running."

Foran added: "We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that's how Skynest was born. It's going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience."

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.