Air New Zealand reveals more details about its Skynest sleep pods

Air New Zealand

Do you want to know how you can book slots to use Air New Zealand’s Skynest product, the world’s first sleep pods in Economy Class?

First announcement

Here’s everything you need to know about Skynest – when it’s available, what route it’s available on, how much it is, and more. 

The world first knew of the Skynest product in June 2022, when Air New Zealand announced new seat and cabin designs for its fleet of B787 Dreamliners, the airline’s first major cabin transformation in 20 years.

The New Zealand flag carrier unveiled three new products, promising “the best sleep in the sky” regardless of cabin class booking:

  • Business Premiere Luxe Suite
  • Business Premiere Seat
  • Skynest on Economy Class

Airlines regularly spruce up their premier seat products on First and Business class, so people were naturally more intrigued about the Skynest, which the airline called the world’s first sleep pods in Economy Class. 

“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,” Greg Foran, Air New Zealand chief executive officer, said at the time of unveiling. 

Few details about Skynest have been revealed, with the airline only providing photos of the product until May 10, 2023.

More details about Air New Zealand’s Skynest

Air New Zealand finally revealed more details about its Skynest product on the second day of TRENZ 2023, an international business-to-business travel trade event held in Te Pae, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Air New Zealand installed a ‘real life’ Skynest at the event, where various media outlets can experience and showcase the actual product.

Here’s a quick mini-tour by Yahoo Australia:

“SkyNest has captured the imagination of a global audience and its uniqueness has already been acknowledged by multiple awards – the latest being a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards. We’re delighted that customers are as excited about this new innovation as we are,” Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said in a press statement.

“Our extensive research and design process, which spanned five years and 170,000 hours, has resulted in a product that we’re confident will revolutionize the in-flight experience for Economy passengers,” Geraghty added.  

The airline also shared that while its B787 retrofit will occur at overseas Boeing manufacturing locations, the Skynest’s installation and design will take place locally in NZ.

First available on North American routes

The New Zealand carrier announced that the Skynest will first be launched on two North American routes: Auckland Airport (AKL) to  New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)  and AKL airport to  Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) routes.

For reference, the flight time from Auckland to New York and Chicago are over 16 and 15 hours, respectively.

“North America is the perfect market for Skynest, as it has a premium segment that values comfort and sleep during long-haul travel. With our ultra-long haul routes to destinations such as New York and Chicago, Skynest provides a unique and innovative way for our passengers to rest and recharge, making their journey with us even more enjoyable,” Geraghty said.

How slots are given at Skynest

There will be six pods in a Skynest for every B787 aircraft. 

Each pod will include a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet, ventilation outlet, and lighting designed for rest.  

Each passenger will be limited to one session, with families traveling on the same ticket able to book a session for each passenger, pending availability. 

The Skynest will be located between Premium Economy and Economy, and each pod will come with a separate seatbelt.

The bedding will be changed between each session, and a 30-minute transition time will be allowed for this. The lights will gently come on at the end of each session. According to Air New Zealand, passengers who might sleep through this gentle cue will be lightly woken up by the cabin crew.

Skynest: cost and duration

The airline said that a four-hour slot at the Skynest may cost between NZD 400-600 ($253 – $380).

The exact booking process is yet to be announced, and the Skynest will be available from September 2024.

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