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Air New Zealand Unveils the First Bunk Beds on an Airline

You'll be able to book four-hour sessions in the Skynest.

People in the Skynest Air New Zealand

For many, sleep on a plane is quite elusive. Unless you have a comfy spot to rest your head—and sometimes even then—it can be difficult to doze off. Air New Zealand is hoping to change that.

Next September, the airline will debut its Skynest, the first-ever bunks beds on a plane, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Six bunks will be available to economy passengers on long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights, on both Air New Zealand’s existing wide-body planes and new Dreamliners that it recently acquired.

Skynest “was really born out of our research telling us that sleep was core to customer experience,” Leanne Geraghty, the airline’s chief customer and sales officer, told the Post. “We believe that we’re first to actually put this offering onboard an aircraft.”

Inside the Skynest
Inside the Skynest Air New Zealand

The beds are much more than your typical sleepaway-camp bunks. In fact, there’s actually three pods stacked one on top the other, to really maximize space within the cabin. Measuring 6 feet 7 inches long and 2 feet wide, they should offer enough length for even tall passengers and allow you to turn over from side to side.

What’s most interesting about the Skynest is that the pods will be available for four-hour blocks, as an add-on to your actual seat on the plane. Air New Zealand settled on that time frame to allow passengers the chance to go through two REM cycles, which typically take 90 minutes each. That leaves an extra hour for both nodding off and waking up, with another 30 minutes between sessions so the crew can clean the pods and replace the linens.

The bunks build on Air New Zealand’s other sleep innovations, such as the Skycouch, which debuted all the way back in 2010. That offering allows passengers to book three adjacent seats that can be converted into a bed, thanks to a specially designed mattress that goes across the seats. The new Skynest is a more built-out feature, allowing you to have a completely separate sleep space from your assigned seat.

The price of a four-hour session is still be determined, although Geraghty noted that prior to the pandemic, the airline had been thinking of something in the $400 to $500 range. You can’t really put a price on a good night’s—or morning’s, or afternoon’s—sleep, though.

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