The New Zealand airline Air New Zealand has just announced that starting in 2024 it will offer a next-generation onboard experience. And she will do it by getting her planes closer and closer to flying hotels. There will be a Business Premier Luxe suite, a new Business Premier armchair and above all the first Skynest: capsules for sleeping in economy class.
The crisis in the aviation sector and the changes in perspective linked to Covid have made the demand for comfort on the part of users increasingly strong. For this reason, the companies in the sector are moving towards transforming air travel into moments of relaxation that also take into account the importance of sleep.
The New Zealand airline's new Dreamliners will offer passengers more variety than any other airline in the world. It is not difficult to imagine that all the other airlines will follow this avant-garde, but for now it will be Air New Zealand to have the primacy. And the paradigm shift is what will bring economy class beds, both with special "capsules", and by transforming the current seats into beds. The formula called "Skycouch" adds an Economy class three seat mattress to turn them into a bed.
The acceleration of the pandemic has given the final push, say the company, to a research that began in 2017. The feedback received from customers has been overwhelming, with an overwhelming demand for more space, comfort and privacy. This is likely to be the trend of all major airlines in the second half of this decade.
Economy class on very long haul flights
Thinking about it, it could only be a New Zealand company that kicked off this step. The position of New Zealand makes a "comfortable" transformation almost necessary, as these are very long haul flights.
"We have focused on sleep, comfort and well-being even in economy class," says CEO Greg Foran. "Because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive rested". Give him wrong.
Obviously the most interesting (because it is extensible) part of this redesign are the capsules for the economy class. Already announced in 2020, these mini sleeping zones provide six 200x58 centimeters (79 x 23 inches) long surfaces. Each includes a full-sized pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs, privacy curtains, and lighting designed to promote rest.
"We wanted to offer our Economy class customers a 'sleep' option, and so Skynest was born. It will be a real game changer for the travel experience," he said. Foran continued.
We start 2024
In short, in a little over 18 months, air travel will experience another small phase of 'evolution'. An approach that will anticipate that of autonomous vehicles by a few years, which by eliminating the need to be driven can also lend themselves to long journeys by offering in their passenger compartment real rooms where you can sleep, play, pass the time while you arrive at your destination.
The future is perhaps a little slower (and more complex, for several reasons), but aims to be less sclerotic. We will see.