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Air New Zealand to offer the world’s first sleep pods for economy travellers

The airline’s new Dreamliners will arrive in 2024 and offer lay-down options for all cabins

Written by
Eliza Campbell

Look, after the last two years, most people are just happy to board a plane right now – let alone jet set internationally. But as international travel gains momentum, the age-old issue returns: why are economy seats so bloody uncomfortable?

Thankfully, Air New Zealand has spent the last five years conducting consumer research to figure out how they could improve their offering across all cabins. The number one conclusion drawn from their findings was the importance of a good night’s sleep – and the need for more space and comfort. Cue the new Air New Zealand Dreamliner, set to arrive in 2024 and set a precedent for a far more humane way to fly economy. 

The new fleet will give customers more choice than any airline in the world, providing the best possible sleep no matter which cabin you choose to fly in. In addition to the new horizontal offering – called the Skynest – Air NZ will also offer a new Business Premier seat and extremely bougie Business Premier Luxe Suite, designed for those looking for a little more space and privacy. 

“New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-longhaul travel experience. 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 – [customers] want to hit the ground running,” said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran. “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.” 

In addition to customer comfort, sustainability is at the heart of the Dreamliner design. More economical fabrics will be used throughout the economy cabin and the addition of 20 per cent lighter serviceware will significantly reduce carbon emissions. The new serviceware will also reduce plastic waste by 28 million units per year.

Eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will arrive in 2024, while the current Air NZ 787-9 fleet is being retrofitted with either eight or four Business Premier Luxe seats, 42 or 22 Business Premier, 52 or 33 Premium Economy, 125 or 213 Economy seats, and – specifically on the ultra-longhaul aircraft – six Skynest sleep pods. 

Can’t wait until 2024 to explore NZ? Make sure you check out our travel guide.

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