Air New Zealand offering bunk beds for long haul flights to New York

Bed in the clouds! Passengers will soon be offered BUNK BEDS on long haul flights – but only for four hours at a time, Air New Zealand says

  • Air New Zealand will be offering beds to passengers on long-haul flights in 2024
  • The bunks will be available to rent in four hour blocks for an undisclosed amount
  • They will be available on the airlines 16-hour Auckland to New York City route

Air New Zealand has raised the bar for long haul flights out of the southern hemisphere by offering economy class passengers access to bunk beds beginning in 2024. 

The bunk beds, known as Skynest, are available for passengers to book for four hours at a time on the 16-hour ride from Auckland to New York City, according to Bloomberg. The rental cost has so far not been revealed. 

This comes as the global travel market continues to grow as Covid-19 lockdowns are eased worldwide. 

While Air New Zealand’s main rival in the region, Qantas, is launching an Auckland-New York route in June in addition to investing in a million dollar lounge in the city’s airport. 

Both will be using Boeing 787 Dreamliners for the journeys. The Air New Zealand planes will be fitted with a total of six beds.

Air New Zealand, shown here, will use a Boeing 787 for it's long-haul flight between Auckland and New Zealand

Air New Zealand, shown here, will use a Boeing 787 for it’s long-haul flight between Auckland and New Zealand

In 2025, Qantas will fly non-stop from Sydney to London after ordering a dozen special Airbus jets, charging higher fares in a multi-billion dollar bet that fliers will pay a premium to save four hours on the popular route.

To be launched late in 2025, the flights will use A350-1000 aircraft specially configured with extra premium seating and reduced overall capacity to ferry up to 238 passengers on a 20-hour trip – the world’s longest direct commercial flight.

The long-discussed breakthrough will give Qantas a marketing boost on what has long been called the ‘kangaroo route’ – because all flights had to hop, stopping somewhere for fuel. 

Rivals offering one-stop services will include Singapore Airlines Ltd, Emirates and Qatar Airways. 

The Qantas flight will include a Wellbeing Zone for passengers to walk around in. 

Skynest beds can be booked just once by a passenger and feature privacy curtains and USB charging outlets in addition to air conditioning. 

When one passenger is done the crew will seamlessly change the sheets before the next steps in. 

In addition to the Skynest for economy passengers, Air New Zealand will offer a new Business Premier Luxe suite and a new Business Premier seat.

The Business Premier Luxe seat are designed for customers looking for more space and privacy. 

Air New Zealand has unveiled its eight new Dreamliners due to take to the skies in 2024, and customers are already excited about the 'Skynest' that allows economy flyers to lay flat on their journey

Air New Zealand has unveiled its eight new Dreamliners due to take to the skies in 2024, and customers are already excited about the ‘Skynest’ that allows economy flyers to lay flat on their journey

Meditative onscreen content Zentertainment will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest

Meditative onscreen content Zentertainment will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said of Skynest: ‘We wanted to offer our economy customers a lie-flat option and that’s how Skynest was born,’ he said.

‘It’s going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience.’

Meditative onscreen content Zentertainment will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest.

Foran points to the airline’s ambition to create the greatest flying experience and says the new cabin, combined with world-leading Kiwi hospitality, is the winning formula.

‘New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long haul travel experience. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested,’ he said.

‘Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot – they want to hit the ground running. It’s a proud moment to finally unveil five years of hard mahi, in what truly is a cabin of possibility.’

The airline has also added care stations to Premium Economy and Economy cabins, so customers can stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and hydrate at their leisure throughout their journey.

‘Our new cabin experience is set to be world class, and we know our customers will love it.’

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran points to the airline's ambition to create the greatest flying experience and says the new cabin, combined with world-leading Kiwi hospitality, is the winning formula

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran points to the airline’s ambition to create the greatest flying experience and says the new cabin, combined with world-leading Kiwi hospitality, is the winning formula

For economy customers, the Skynest concept, first announced in 2020, will be a world-first

For economy customers, the Skynest concept, first announced in 2020, will be a world-first

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.

Flights from Auckland to New York on Air New Zealand go from anywhere between $1,400 and $2,000. 

Many airlines are experiencing boomtimes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

United Airlines Holdings on Tuesday forecast at least a four-fold jump in full-year profit for this year and reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates on robust travel demand, sending its shares higher.

The Chicago-based carrier sees an adjusted profit of $10 to $12 per share for 2023, up from $2.52 per share last year. That is well above analysts’ estimates of $6.54 a share, according to a Refinitiv survey.

U.S. carriers are enjoying the strongest travel demand since the start of the COVID pandemic, boosted by reopening of closed borders, a strong U.S. dollar and rising corporate travel

U.S. carriers are enjoying the strongest travel demand since the start of the COVID pandemic, boosted by reopening of closed borders, a strong U.S. dollar and rising corporate travel 

U.S. carriers are enjoying the strongest travel demand since the start of the COVID pandemic, boosted by reopening of closed borders, a strong U.S. dollar and rising corporate travel.

While recession fears have sparked concerns about consumer spending, airlines say travel demand remains strong and exceeds the pace of flight capacity growth, keeping ticket prices high.

It posted a fourth-quarter profit of $2.46 per share exceeded analysts’ expectations for $2.10, according to Refinitiv data.

While last week, Delta said the industry is expected to see tens of billions of dollars of incremental demand in the next few years as the relationship between passenger revenue and global gross domestic product returns to pre-pandemic trend.

Before the pandemic, passenger revenue accounted for 1 percent of the global GDP.

Staffing and aircraft shortages across the industry are expected to limit capacity growth, underpinning the pricing power carriers are currently enjoying.

The company expects total revenue per available seat mile, a proxy for pricing power, to be up 25% from a year ago in the current quarter.

It forecast a 50 percent year-on-year jump in operating revenue in the first quarter, translating into a profit of 50 cents to $1 per share. Analysts are estimating a profit of 25 cents a share for the quarter.

United will discuss the results on a call with analysts and investors on Wednesday morning.

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