Anyone who's been on a plane will know the struggle of trying to get proper sleep on a flight. While business and first class passenger snooze on lie-flat beds economy travellers are usually too cramped.
In fact, you may have twisted and turned to try and get comfortable, but spent the whole flight awake. Some frequent flyers have discovered tricks – one using a scarf to make a foot hammock – that help. However, it's never quite the same as a bed.
Thankfully, for those who need 40 winks on the fly, one airline is about to make it a lot easier for passengers in economy. Air New Zealand has a brand new offering that could be on planes this year.
READ MORE: Future planes could have virtual cockpits, robot carts and 'sleeping' seats in economy
Tired tourists will soon be able to hire entire bunk beds if they're on an economy ticket! Those how choose to will be able to lie completely flat on-board if travelling on a long-haul flight (when sleep is the most needed).
Air New Zealand is introducing the Skynest: bunk beds that can be hired for up to four hours at a time, on routes between Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The incredible new offering will come as a great relief to those boarding planes for a 24 hour journey or overnight.
The new bunk beds – or nests – will be an add-on for economy passengers and will be able to sleep up to six travellers per plane. The limited time slots ensure that a number of passengers can make use of the revolutionary airline addition.
Unfortunately, the airline has not yet confirmed how much they will cost to book so whether it's good value to shell out for a good night's rest remains to be seen. The innovative beds have already been tipped as finalists in the 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards, which celebrates clever ideas in aviation.
The Skynest caught the panel's attention as it "caters for ultra-long haul travel in economy class, offering lie-in bunks that can be booked to help customers recuperate on the longest flights". Air New Zealand has been developing the beds for several years and is planning to roll them out in 2024.
In fact, the SkyCouch is already available to book on Air NewZealand – the clever mattress converts a row of beds into a lie-flat couch that fits two people. It's very handy for families travelling together as it means the kids can get some sleep.
You do need to have booked all the seats in the row to use the SkyCouch though so it's best reserved for those travelling in a group or as a family. Adele Barbaro, a blogger known as The Real Mumma, flew from Melbourne, in Australia, to Los Angeles, in the US, using the SkyCouch and said it was well worth it.
Also coming soon to Air New Zealand are the new business premier luxe suites with sliding doors which will be added to some of its fleet of aircraft. Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, told Stuff: "There has been a huge amount of work that’s gone into the Skynest so the team are incredibly proud to be recognised against some of the bigger players out there in aviation.
"We’ve got our fingers crossed for the awards announcement on 6 June at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg." The competition has also highlighted some other intriguing designs which have the potential to make air travel comfier.
Inside the swanky new Business Class cabin with private suites and lie-down beds
Adient Aerospace’s Ascent Front Row Suite – which would see business class passengers sit in seats facing the window with personal lie-flat bed and desks – is also a finalist. We can see why the increased privacy and better views would be tempting.
So too is the Personalized Sound Zone, "a next-generation speaker system where audio sound is confined in a spherical sound zone to the ultimate level". Essentially, a bubble of audio is beamed around the passenger's head.
The furture of travel is certainly exciting. In fact, over the next few years we might see such innovations as virtual cockpits, communal toilets and swivelling seats on aircraft. Earlier this year we checked out the coolest new airline patents to have been filed.
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