Air New Zealand has announced that both economy and premium economy passengers will soon be able to recline in its forthcoming Skynest bunk beds. Jenny Southan reports

A “world first”, Air New Zealand’s revolutionary Skynest bunk bed concept is completely new, and for the first time will allow economy class passengers to lie-flat on long-haul flights.

Although travellers will still need to book a seat in economy or premium economy, they will also have the option to pay for one a four-hour slot in a bunk bed so that they can sleep more comfortably. Prices have not yet been revealed.

Bunk beds in the Skynest will each have a mattress and sheets that will be changed by cabin crew after each booking, as well as a privacy curtain, USB charging and ventilation outlets. They will also be tripple-stacked to take advantage of the height of the cabin.Air New Zealand SkynestFive economy seats will be removed to make space for six of the Skynest bunk beds onboard the eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that Air New Zealand will take delivery of from the end of 2024.

Unfortunately, this means the bunks will not be available for the launch of Air New Zealand’s direct flights between Auckland and New York in September 2022 – a journey that is expected to take more than 17 hours. The airline will also resume its Auckland to Chicago service in October.

Greg Foran, Air New Zealand’s chief executive, has been quoted as saying the bunk-style beds will be “a real game-changer for the economy travel experience”.Air New Zealand SkynestHe says: “New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long-haul 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 – they want to hit the ground running.”