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Air New Zealand developing lie-flat pods in economy class

As budget travellers look to save money on long-haul airfare, one airline is looking to change the way economy flyers rest.

Air New Zealand unveiled Tuesday, a new concept for economy class travellers, that incorporates a bunk bed-style resting quarters with six full length lie-flat sleep pods.

Dubbed ‘Skynest,’ the airline is looking to find new ways to attract passengers on its long-haul flights to cities like Aukland, while offering some of the comforts of business class in a more accessible manner.

“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,” Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod said in a press release.

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The airline says should the product come to life, they plan to include a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs along with privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep, while considering other comforts like a reading light and USB charger for your personal device.

The concept product, which has gone through vigorous consultation and feedback from crew and potential passengers, still needs to be certified with regulators and placement within the cabin will need to be finalized. Air New Zealand is expected to make a decision on whether it will introduce the Skynest sometime next year.

“This is one of the highlights of three years’ intensive work centred on customer wellbeing. We’re sure this innovation is going to be a game changer for the industry and bring significant improvements to long-haul flying,” said Nikki Goodman, Air New Zealand’s general manager of customer experience.

Air New Zealand launched the Skycouch in 2011 which enabled economy passengers to purchase certain rows of seats that could convert into a makeshift bed.

Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.

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