Air New Zealand to offer beds in economy class

Air New Zealand is to offer passengers beds in economy class on some flights later this year and has designed what it calls a Skycouch.

The beds, which are formed by footrests and consist of blanket and pillows, will be available on the airline’s new fleet of Boeing 777-300. They will be big enough for a couple or a couple with a small child and will take the space of three normal economy class seats and cost two seats at standard prices and a third at half price.

The airline says the couches and a general makeover of the cabins in the new planes is aimed at revitalising long haul travel. Air New Zealand which is three-quarters owned by the New Zealand government, built a full sized replica of a Boeing 777-300 cabin to develop the couches and new decor.

Chief Executive, Rob Fyfe, said: “For the past three years we have been designing a new long haul experience that will reignite the passion of today’s travellers. For those who choose, the days of sitting in economy and yearning to lie down and sleep are gone.” *

* Source – Jan 2010

The airline is also giving its premium economy and business premier classes a revamp including seats that do not recline into the space of the passenger behind, and an on-demand food service.

The new planes and in-flight services will be offered initially on the Auckland-Los Angeles route, and then extended on flights to London in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup, which is being held in New Zealand.

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