Snooze in the sky: Air New Zealand to offer economy sleeper pods for more than $400

Nappers will be in proximity with ‘world-first’ design including a pillow, sheets and blanket

Air New Zealand bunkbed cabins

New Zealand’s national airline will charge NZ$400-$600 (€230-€350) for four hours in a six-person bunk bed cabin, under its “world-first” design for an economy class sleeper pod.

Air New Zealand debuted its prototype for the “skynest” cabin designs this week, but bookings for the bunks will only be available from September 2024.

The beds will put nappers in proximity; those attempting a mid-air snooze will be suspended a few feet from their fellow sleepers, and the pods are not fully enclosed, although passengers will be shielded from their co-sleepers by a privacy curtain.

According to Air New Zealand, each pod will include a pillow, sheets and blanket. The airline noted in a statement that bedding would be changed between each session, and a 30-minute transition time will be allowed for this. “The lights will gently come on at the end of each session, and crew will politely wake any passengers who sleep through this,” they said.

Air New Zealand bunkbed cabins

Passengers will only be allowed to book one session per flight, so those hoping for a full eight hours will be in for a rude awakening. The beds can only house one person at a time.

Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said the sleep pods were another example of the airline “pushing the boundaries of what’s possible”.

“We’re still working through the exact details of how the booking process will work, and we have yet to determine the price. At this stage we are looking at around $400 to $600 for the four-hour period.”

The cabins will debut on the airline’s ultra-long haul flights, starting with the Auckland to New York and Auckland to Chicago routes, both of which are more than 15 hours in flight time.

The cabins will be introduced on the airline’s eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which are due to arrive in the country from 2024. – Guardian