LONDON, Jan. 27, 2010 -- Business class flyers may soon have a reason to sneak a peek at the back of the plane.
The reason -- Economy Skycouches. They're Air New Zealand's revolutionary addition to the economy class and any coach passengers dream come true.
As part of an ongoing makeover project, Air New Zealand install three-seat blocks that fold out into a bed onto their new Boeing 777-300's. Lying completely 180 degrees flat, these Skycouches are designed for passengers to comfortably lie on, play on and even cuddle on.
Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe says the beds are made for couples and families with kids, but that doesn't mean the company encourages lovebirds to join the 'Mile High Club.'
"Just keep your clothes on thanks!" Fyfe said.
The first set of new Boeings will be delivered in November, and tickets will go on sale in April 2011. Passengers booking Skycouch seats must purchase a block of three seats, paying standard rates for two of the seats and approximately half the price of the third seat, according to airline analyst Robert Mann.
There will be a total of 22 sets of Skycouch blocks per plane, which may put Air New Zealand ahead of competitors.
"Air New Zealand is putting the magic and romance back into flying," Fyfe says.
And yet, while Skycouch seating may seem a revolutionary addition to "back of the plane" travel, cabin adjustments of this kind have been tried by other airline companies.
United Airlines, for example, offers an extra five inches of legroom if passengers purchase their "United Airlines Economy Plus" package, starting at $9.
Air New Zealand's Skycouch One of a Kind
Mann says Air New Zealand's Skycouch is one of a kind.
"There's been a trend among airline companies to provide premium economy, such as upgrading services amenities, providing greater pitch between the seats," Mann said. "But this is the first case I've heard of where a separate bed seating area is being used."
Full details and pricing for the Skycouch block will be available in April.