26 Jan 2010

Air NZ to introduce economy class beds

3:23 pm on 26 January 2010

Air New Zealand is to introduce economy class beds in a revamp of its long-haul aircraft cabins later this year.

The airline has revealed its prototype design for Boeing 777-300s that it will take delivery of in November.

The new economy cabin design includes a Skycouch, which is essentially a row of three seats that can lie flat to create a bed.

The airline is also introducing a new interior colour scheme, a touchscreen in-flight entertainment system, refurbished galleys to cook food from scratch, an in-flight library and bathrooms with inbuilt windows.

Chief executive Rob Fyfe says the new aircraft will redefine the long-haul travel experience, and set a benchmark for competitors.

The 340-seat aircraft will have 180 regular economy seats in addition to the Skycouches, as well as 50 Premium Economy seats and 44 business class seats.

To purchase one of the 22 Skycouches onboard, two adults travelling together will have to pay standard rates and then buy a third seat at about half price.

The extra seat could cost more than $1000. Air New Zealand says prices will be announced when the seats go on sale in April.

The new aircraft will be used on flights between Auckland to Los Angeles from December, and the airline plans to refit its eight existing Boeing 777-200s from the middle of next year.