Family in economy class on planes by 2024

Economy flights virtually guarantee a stiff neck, as the child kicks the back of your seat and competes with your seatmate for armrests in the middle seat.

An airline wants to cure these travel ailments: Air New Zealand recently announced the world’s first flat-bed “capsules” for economy-class planes, which are due to debut in 2024. The concept, called “Skynest,” has been in research and development for five years. It would likely have two rows of three stacked bunk beds for a total of six full-length sleeping pods. The beds will be installed on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and will be located in addition to the regular seat sections.

Sleep pods may be necessary: ​​This fall, Air New Zealand will host its first non-stop flight from Auckland to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The approximately 17-hour flight will be one of the longest regularly scheduled passenger flights in the world, and Skynest’s eventual launch could be just right.

But the capsules — which will include cooling pads and ventilation ports — likely won’t come cheap. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but Air New Zealand says four-hour access to the dormitory will cost you an additional fee on your economy ticket.

“The airline has done a fair amount of research into sleep cycles,” an Air New Zealand spokesperson told CNN Travel last week. “A typical sleep cycle is about 90 minutes, so a four-hour session allows clients to relax, fall asleep, and wake up.”

Bedding will be changed and capsules cleaned for 30 minutes between each session, according to the airline.

When Air New Zealand initially announced the concept in 2020, transportation analyst Seth Kaplan told CNBC he was skeptical that economy passengers would jump in line to try it out. He said people who pay the lowest possible ticket price probably don’t care about extras for tickets, especially when capsules take up so much of the already limited space per plane.

“Aviation is a real estate business,” Kaplan said. “Air New Zealand will have to ask itself whether this family will make more money than economy or premium seats in the same space.”

This isn’t Air New Zealand’s first attempt to help budget travelers sleep better. Passengers can actually upgrade their bus seats to “SkyCouch,” or coach seats with footrests that raise to create a bed-like space. This product is also licensed by China Airlines and the Brazilian airline Azul.

The race to put an actual family in economy class appears to have fewer participants. In 2018, Airbus said it was working with aerospace design firm Zodiac to place bunk beds in the planes’ cargo hold, but there is currently no mention of the concept on Airbus’ website following this initial announcement.

Airbus did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

Open an account now: Get smarter about your finances and career with our weekly newsletter

do not miss:

The 10 most fun countries in America to visit this summer, according to a new report

This 32-year-old Australian woman saved $28,000 on travel by sitting cats around the world — here’s how

Leave a Comment