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Bunk beds at 30,000 feet may come on more Air New Zealand flights

Bunk beds at 30,000 feet may come on more Air New Zealand flights
Air New Zealand Ltd. aircraft sit on the tarmac at the International Terminal of Auckland Airport in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (Photo: Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg)

Air New Zealand has scope to offer bunk beds in economy class on more US routes after it introduces them on its 17-hour Auckland-New York services next year.

The airline plans to rent out sleeping berths on flights to New York and Chicago from September 2024. The six-bunk pods are geared for ultra-long-haul services, so it is possible they’ll be used on flights to Houston, said Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer.

Bookings for four-hour slots in the bunks on two Boeing Co. 787 jets will open in the first half of 2024. While prices aren’t set yet, each session should sell for between NZ$400 ($240) and NZ$600, Geraghty said in an interview at an aviation conference in Brisbane. Passengers can choose a specific bed.

Read More: Sleep Pod Rentals for $100 an Hour Planned on Air NZ Flights

Air New Zealand is using the so-called Skynest bunks to stand out on competitive routes to and from the US. 

Here is an edited transcript from the interview with Geraghty.

What’s your benchmark for success?

Any new product takes time to ramp up and to ascertain whether it’s successful or not. So we’ll be realistic in the beginning and see how the product goes in terms of sales and demand. If something doesn’t work, then we’ll look to see what changes we need to make. But we’re actually really confident on this one. It has been hugely popular since we’ve announced that it’s coming on board.

Could different bunks and time slots vary in price?

Maybe over time, but at this stage we’d probably start off quite simplistically with a set price. Then over time, you would look at more of a dynamically priced environment, just as we do in terms of seat selection and flight times.

What other flights might offer sleeping berths?

It has been designed to be a product on ultra-long flights primarily — those where there is a great distance to cover without transit stops. So that would be the lens we would put over it as we assess any other routes. On our existing network, you could imagine another route might be Houston in terms of the distance travelled.

What is the next frontier in terms of cabin innovation?

We don’t have the next frontier yet because bringing things like the next frontier of hard product innovation to life is actually a very long and extensive piece of work. Our next attention or focus will be what that looks like in terms of some of the next-generation aircraft that we’re looking at.

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