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Air New Zealand upgrades and innovates in cattle class

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January 26, 2010

Air New Zealand's Skycouch could make a decent night's sleep on long haul flights a real p...

Air New Zealand's Skycouch could make a decent night's sleep on long haul flights a real possibility

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Trying to sleep in an upright position on long haul flights can prove to be a difficult proposition for most of us, and a sleepless flight only compounds the jet lag that results from traversing time zones. With just about any International flight to or from New Zealand being a long haul affair it’s not surprising that the country’s international airline, Air New Zealand, is looking to make such trips a little more comfortable for passengers through a redesign of seating in economy class. The result - you can lie down!

The airline has unveiled a specially designed row of three seats called a "Skycouch" that has been engineered to create a lie-flat, flexible space that extends all the way to the seat-back in front. Air New Zealand says this space will provide a place for kids to play, or the holy grail of economy travel – a flat surface for adults to lie down and sleep.

The new seating will be implemented on the airline’s first new Boeing 777-300 ER, which is scheduled for delivery in November this year. The 340 seat 777-300 aircraft will be configured with 50 in Premium Economy, 44 in Business Premier and 246 in Economy, which includes twenty-two sets of Skycouch seats that are located in the first eleven window rows in the Economy Class cabin.

For two adults traveling, purchasing the Skycouch will be based on buying two seats at standard prices with the third seat at approximately half price. This means that solo travelers will be faced with a hefty ticket price unless they are seated next to two empty seats or one empty seat and another accommodating passenger. Full airfare details will be announced when the new seating options go on sale from Air New Zealand in late April.

Having just endured a sleepless fifteen hour flight, I can only hope other long haul carriers take a leaf out of Air New Zealand’s book and make these flights a more enjoyable experience for economy class travelers.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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4 Comments

Um...yeah..take a look at that picture. Notice that the seat back on the row of seats in front of them is in the upright position? And their three seatbacks are reclined?

Now imagine how comfortable that woman will be when someone in the row in front decides to recline! Not very!

Ed

Ed
27th January, 2010 @ 10:31 am PST

Hammocks with sensors, inflatable air bags and parachute escape systems to assure survival. Do this right and the airframe could be lightened to near nothing, (hull supported by the hammock guys). Take your electronic hammock home to stuff it like you would your luggage. Keep your stuff with you on the plane and be whisked through the terminal automatically. Jump into it and stay snug as you're carried like a side of beef from your door to your far away destination. Indeed, your hammock could serve as your hotel room in a pinch--or as a tent in a campaign.

TogetherinParis
1st February, 2011 @ 08:17 pm PST

@togetherinParis - I like the way ur thinking - although they can't take much weight out of the aircraft without affecting longevity. A parachute and rudimentary harness in every seat wouldn't add much to the weight, especially as new materials bring down overall weight. NASA looked at whole-airframe parachutes in the 60s and 70s and decided they were too exxy in terms of weight and R&D but I bet a lot of people would gladly pay. Especially now that Cirrus etc and even Cessna are rolling them out. I think the long haul sleeping solution is 2fold - reconfigured cabins that use all the dead space above the ceiling (its lots in the round-fuselage aircraft) and convertible seats that turn into 3-high bunks. The big thing is assuring both crash worthiness and speed of emergency exit.

John Hogan
8th August, 2011 @ 09:50 pm PDT

What if I am sitting on the third seat? I wouldn't like two people legs on top of me ? Or do you have to purchase three seats to get this privilege ? The whats the point ?

anmufti
28th October, 2011 @ 07:50 am PDT
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