Air New Zealand to Offer "Sleeper Seats" to Economy Passengers

Air New Zealand is my preferred Star Alliance carrier if I must fly in Economy and now I have another reason to choose them:

In the ongoing game of creative airline seating, Air New Zealand is introducing a welcome seating option on the company’s new long haul airplanes for passengers in the economy section. Some seats in the back of the plane will have a foot rest of sorts that can be raised like a recliner chair to create a platform for sleeping.

To create the bed, leg rests rise up to fill in the gap between the front of the seat and the back of the seat in front. A thin mattress is placed on top and full size pillows are provided. The result is a level bed across three seats, though it is not completely even due to the seat contours.

This is a brilliant concept if the seats are comfortable enough to sleep on and actually wide enough to fit two passengers.

The airline's "Skycouch" will use three economy seats, folded flat to the seat-back in front, creating a space where children can play or people can relax and sleep, airline chief executive Rob Fyfe said. The Skycouch is aimed at couples and families, and will be the price of about two and a half seats.

"For those who choose, the days of sitting in economy and yearning to lie down and sleep are gone," Fyfe told reporters. "The dream is now a reality, one that you can even share with a traveling companion -- just keep your clothes on thanks."

Tell that to the people who made your safety video.

About a quarter of all longhaul economy seats will convert to Skycouches, taking up the first 11 rows in the economy cabin of the airline's new Boeing 777-300 planes.

Passengers will pay the standard economy fare for two seats and receive the middle seat for about half price. Presuming it's a couple that buys the seat, the total amounts to about 7,600 New Zealand dollars ($5,420) per person for a return flight to London.

That's a lot of money for a trip in Economy, but for those who aren't savvy in collecting and redeeming frequent flyer miles, this is a better deal than Premium and Economy and certainly cheaper than Business Class. I suppose you can always hope for an underbooked flight.

My gut feeling is that Air New Zealand is going to do well in selling seats. My only question is will a couple who purchases three seats recieve a third meal to split?  (Air New Zealand's Economy Class meals far exceed the competition, in my humble opinion)

photos courtesy of Air New Zealand



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