New Zealand says it doesn’t want to be known for its sheep count, but then it does this: Air New Zealand announced this week that passengers in premium and regular economy will be able to book bunk beds to nap in during flights. When the sleeping pod concept, called Skynest, arrives in 2024, it will be a world-first and perhaps the biggest innovation that’s ever come to economy class.
There are a few asterisks:
- It won’t be free—booking a bed will cost an additional fee that the airline hasn’t disclosed yet.
- Plus, you won’t be able to lie horizontally for the entire flight. You can book the beds for only four hours before handing it off (with new sheets) to another weary passenger.
The beds themselves are stacked three levels high, and their dimensions are generous enough (80″ long and 23″ wide) to comfortably fit three hobbits.
Big picture: Because the country is so far away from…well…everything, Air New Zealand has been forced to come up with features that keep people sane during extremely long flights. Later this year, the airline will launch nonstop flights between Auckland and New York City; at 17 hours, it’ll be the world’s longest regularly scheduled passenger flight.—NFc