Coming Soon: Lie Flat Seats in Economy Class

Good news for air travelers on a budget that hope to get some quality rest on a long flight: lie flat seats in economy are soon to be a reality!

On June 28, Air New Zealand announced the imminent launch of its SkyNest concept. Coming in 2024, fully flat airplane seats, made up with real mattresses, cooling pillows, and bedding, will become a reality for economy class fliers. Sound too good to be true? There is a lot of fine print associated with this exciting announcement, so read on for the details.

Details about Air New Zealand’s Lie Flat Economy Seats

First and foremost, the SkyNest seats won’t be included in the price of an economy ticket. SkyNests are a separate product, bunk beds stacked three high, and bookable only in four-hour increments. Each aircraft equipped with them will have six of these pods, to be turned around between sessions by cabin attendants that will sanitize and replace the linens in 30-minute cleaning windows.

While details about just how much the extra cost of the SkyNest seats are yet to be confirmed, we do know a few things. The option be available to anyone ticketed in economy or premium economy class. Pricing will be the same regardless of class of ticket, although Air New Zealand hasn’t decided whether the structure will be fixed or dynamic based on demand or timing within the flight.

Another important detail: Air New Zealand already has a lie-flat option in economy class, called the SkyCouch, which allows travelers to extend specially-designed footrests from all three seats in an economy row, effectively widening those seats, and turning the section into a makeshift bed. The option, popular with families flying together, can also be booked by a single traveler. Reserving three economy seats from either New York or Chicago to Auckland costs around $3,000, compared to around $5,000 for a seat in business class.

In contrast to the SkyCouch, the SkyNest won’t have gaps or raised armrests between seats, and the mattress will be thicker. However, travelers only be able to use it for naps, given the time limit of the four-hour sessions.

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