The Air New Zealand Economy Skynest is the result of three years of research and development.
The process involved the input of more than 200 customers at the carrier’s Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland. The Economy Skynest product provides six full-length lie-flat sleep pods.
Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod says that as the airline operates some of the world’s longest flights such as the upcoming Auckland-New York service which will take up to 17 hours 40 minutes one way, it is committed to putting more magic back into flying.
“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft. 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,” Mr Tod says.
General manager of customer experience, Nikki Goodman, says customer and cabin crew feedback for the Economy Skynest has been positive. “We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go. This is a game-changer on so many levels,” Ms Goodman says.
Air New Zealand’s head of airline programmes, Kerry Reeves says the scale of the challenge in developing the Economy Skynest and working through its certification with the necessary regulators is immense compared with the airline’s development of its Economy Skycouch product.
The airline says it will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest next year once it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.