Air New Zealand has rolled out new seats for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will allow even those traveling in economy class to get some sleep on a lie-flat bed.
The new seat design is Air New Zealand’s first major cabin transformation in 20 years. The airline said in a release that it had responded to “overwhelming” customer feedback on the importance of sleep and need for more comfort and space, and had conducted over five years’ research on what passengers need.
The new Dreamliners are due to arrive in 2024. The airline said the new seat designs will provide Air New Zealand customers plenty of options with the level of comfort they want to fly in, regardless of their booking class.
Greg Foran, Air New Zealand chief executive officer said that New Zealand’s geographical location puts the airline in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long haul flight 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,” Foran said.
Foran added: “It’s a proud moment to finally unveil five years of hard mahi, in what truly is a cabin of possibility. One that will provide customers with options to get some shut eye wherever they’re sitting.”
Air New Zealand’s Skynest. Credit: Air NZ
Perhaps the biggest game-changer in all of Air New Zealand’s seat design is the Skynest, created for passengers traveling in Economy.
The Skynest would be the first airline sleeping pods for economy travelers. Air New Zealand first announced the concept of the Skynest in 2020.
“We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that’s how Skynest was born. It’s going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience,” Foran said.
Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch. Credit: Air NZ
Although not a new design, the Skycouch option will be retained on the new Dreamliner aircraft. First introduced in 2010, it was dubbed the “Cuddle class” by the media as it was originally intended for two adult passengers to lie side by side.
This option allows passengers to book a row of economy seats, so they can have multiple options for the space. It has since proven to be a popular option for those traveling with children, so it’s no surprise that this option will be available on the new Dreamliners.
Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy Credit: Air NZ
The new premium economy seats are designed to offer more privacy and protected space where passengers can recline at leisure without interrupting the person behind.
Air New Zealand Business Premier. Credit: Air NZ
The new feature in Air New Zealand’s Business Premier seats is the option for middle row passengers to open their space to share the experience with a companion.
Business Premier Luxe
Air New Zealand Business Premier Luxe. Credit: Air NZ
These are the best seats in the house when you travel on Air New Zealand’s new Dreamliner fleet. The Business Premier Luxe offers all the amenities and space found in the Business Premier, with an added luxury of a fully closing door and space to dine for two.
The airline has also added a Sky Pantry to the Premium Economy and Economy cabins, so passengers can stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and hydrate at their leisure throughout their flight.
Air New Zealand said that sustainability has been at the heart of the design process of the new seats. The airline said that by using modern fabrics, rather than leather, it has saved around one kilogram in weight per Business Premier and Premium Economy seat, reducing overall carbon emissions.
In Premium cabins, the airline will also switch to serviceware that is 20% lighter, helping to reduce carbon emissions, and in Economy, the new serviceware will reduce plastic dishes used inflight by 28 million every year.
The eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners arriving from 2024 and retrofitted current 787-9 fleet will have either eight or four Business Premier Luxe seats, 42 or 22 Business Premier, 52 or 33 Premium Economy, 125 or 213 Economy seats, and specifically on the ultra-long haul aircraft, six Skynest sleep pods.