Air New Zealand wants to give passengers the option to lie down while they fly. The airline has filed patent and trademark applications for its "Economy Skynest" concept, which would modify the economy cabin in planes to include six full-length sleeping pods. The famously remote island nation would plug the sleeping pods into planes taking some of the longest flights in the world.
"We have a real history of innovation, and we want to push the boundaries as much as we can," Kerry Reeves, Air New Zealand's head of airline programmes, told Cheddar. "This is all about giving our customers, even in economy, the best possible choice of travel experience."
The pods are about 6.5 feet long and 22 inches wide. They include blankets, sheets, pillows, and privacy curtains. USB outlets and reading lights could be included as well.
Don't expect the Skynest on your next flight though. The concept is still in development.
"At this stage, we're still very much in the exploration stage of the concept," Reeves said. "We've taken it right through feasibility. We know we can do this. We're just finalizing the viability of the concept before we give it the absolute go-ahead to put it on an aircraft."
The company put in three years of research and gathered feedback from 200 customers who tested prototypes at a hangar in Auckland.
With renderings of the concept now circulating, Reeves said the positive response has been resounding.
"The amount of interest from customers all around the world, many, many cultures, has been absolutely huge," he said.
Though the pods will be located in economy class, Air New Zealand has not yet announced what access to the pods might cost but said there is likely to be high demand.
Final approval of Skynest is set for 2021, at which point the company would begin the service on the 17-hour Auckland-New York route.