Air New Zealand’s new 787 fleet to debut Business Premier seat and Skynest economy sleeper pods

6 July, 2022

Air New Zealand has confirmed that in 2024 it will introduce a new Business Premier Luxe suite, a new Business Premier seat and the world's first Skynest, sleeping pods for economy class passengers as its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet arrives in the South Pacific.  

The airline describes the innovations as being driven by “overwhelming customer feedback” on the importance of sleep and need for more comfort and space.

Air NZ selling advances on ‘offering the best sleep in the sky’

Air New Zealand says feedback from extensive customer research over five years has highlighted the importance for a good night's sleep and the need for more space and comfort, so the new experience is designed around “creating a home away from home” that leaves customers “refreshed and raring to go at their destination”.

New and retrofitted 787-9s will arrive with enhanced offer from 2024

According to the airline, eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners arriving from 2024 and retrofitted current 787-9 fleet will have either eight or four Business Premier Luxe seats, 42 or 22 Business Premier, 52 or 33 Premium Economy, 125 or 213 Economy seats, and specifically on the ultra-longhaul aircraft, six Skynest sleep pods. They will offer the “most choice of any airline in its three cabins to get the best sleep in the sky,” it says.

New offer a ‘winning formula,’ says CEO Greg Foran

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran points to the airline's ambition to create the greatest flying experience and says the new cabin, combined with world-leading Kiwi hospitality, is the winning formula.

"New Zealand's location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-longhaul travel experience. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort, and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot - they want to hit the ground running,” he explains.

"It's a proud moment to finally unveil five years of hard mahi, in what truly is a cabin of possibility. One that will provide customers with options to get some shut eye wherever they're sitting," he adds.

Skynest first announced in 2020 will become a reality

The new business class cabins normally are the focus for airlines, but it is the economy advancements that grab the headlines with this latest announcement. For Economy customers, the Skynest concept, first announced by the airline in 2020, will be a world-first and others will be watching closely at its introduction.


"We wanted to offer our Economy customers a lie-flat option and that's how Skynest was born. It's going to be a real game changer for the economy travel experience," says Mr Folan.

Cabin's interior design inspired by uniqueness of Aotearoa

Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty says the cabin's interior design is inspired by the uniqueness of Aotearoa, from a forest inspired carpet to the seats that draw inspiration from New Zealand's native bird, the Tui.

"Whether we are welcoming visitors or flying New Zealanders home, we want our customers to experience Aotearoa from the moment they step onboard – and get the best night's rest,” she explains.

"Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night's sleep so everything we do onboard is to help create a sense of calm – from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to the healthier food choices and breathable fabrics. Meditative onscreen content, Zentertainment, will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest,” she adds.

Sustainability has been at the heart of the design process

Sustainability has been at the heart of the design process. Using modern fabrics, rather than leather, has saved around one kilogram in weight per Business Premier and Premium Economy seat, reducing overall carbon emissions. In Premium cabins, the airline will also switch to serviceware that is 20% lighter, helping to reduce carbon emissions, and in Economy, the new serviceware will reduce plastic dishes used inflight by 28 million every year.