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Air NZ announces novel economy seat configuration

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Air NZ announces novel economy seat configuration

Old 26th Jan 2010, 08:44
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Thumbs up Air NZ announces novel economy seat configuration

Air New Zealand has unveiled what it calls the first major improvement in economy class travel comfort in 20 years - beds.

BBC News - Air New Zealand offers couples beds in economy class

The airline's "Skycouch" is formed by foot-rests rising to the level of three seats; a blanket and loose normal-sized pillows complete the arrangement. Passengers would need to buy the three seats together.The passengers would also need to be ready to sleep together in small families or couples.

"For those who choose, the days of sitting in economy and yearning to lie down and sleep are gone," chief executive Rob Fyfe told reporters.
"The dream is now a reality, one that you can even share with a traveling companion - just keep your clothes on, thanks."

Developed in-house by Air New Zealand designers and engineers, about a quarter of all long-haul economy seats will convert to Skycouches.They will take up the first 11 rows in the economy cabin of the airline's new Boeing 777-300 planes.

Passengers will pay the standard economy fare for two seats and receive the middle seat for about half price.Presuming it's a couple that buys the seat, the total amounts to about NZ$7,600 ($5,400, 3,335) per person for a return flight to London.

article continues and not yet showing on ANZ's website, as thiswill be introduced later this year on the AKL/LHR via LAX route.
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 10:25
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And if you are..err..physically challenged...will that mean you'll have to buy six seats for this service?
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 10:38
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What does a business fare cost? Seems a bit steep to me.
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 11:07
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The J class seat costs 500 dollars less, so I bet the article is wrong and the cost quoted is for all three seats.
 
Old 26th Jan 2010, 11:34
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Please be aware that prices are not yet fixed or published. Today was just the announcement of the new product - the details will follow at a later date.

P.S. - Declaring an interest - I work for them as an Inflight Concierge
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 12:27
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Great idea from a passengers point of view. Just wonder if they are cannibalising their business class profits...
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 13:46
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There's more to J class than just a seat though. You may find that this will actually encourage usually business-class pax to choose Air NZ over other airlines that have been forced to take economy as 3 seats will be cheaper than a J ticket. Looks interesting. The only thing to worry about is when people purchase it and then the footstools have broken because someone that was "physically challenged" broke it. Must say, I do like the alternative to the call bell for drinks-will save 1 journey to find out what they want anyhow
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 14:04
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Now if only SAA could bring this in on their A340's.... would make a for far more comfortable ride home and back methinks
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 21:54
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I can't help thinking it's not so much cannibalising Business as Premium Economy. Sample differentials I came across on the stuff.co.nz site were omething like 6000 for one PE to 7600 for three economy that can be "skycouched".
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 23:40
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Also PC power in economy

Coach cabin revolution -- Air New Zealand adds beds in economy | Gadling.com

Michael
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 02:46
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This product is not going to undermine their J product, I think, because it is aimed at two people in long haul Y. If they were to buy 2xPE or 2xJ, it would cost more than this config. Also, look at the video that TS linked and you will see that a family with one small child would REALLY win out. I know just such a family who are travelling in March on a long haul (12 hours) and have decided to go for PE as there was no other choice. I would hazard a guess that NZ will not sell this combo to a single pax but keep them for couples and the family groups illustrated.

I think that NZ know what they are doing and know that their extra long haul routes need unusual treatment. Would I go for LH in an A380 or this config? Easy.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 13:25
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Having watched the promotional video I have come to the conclusion that this is an example of some design people selling an idea - then not being able to stop and say "does this really work?" Have the designers tried sleeping on their creation?

I am afraid that unless you can stretch your legs out then a flat bed is not much use to me and having to lie in the 'spoons' position is not exactly comfortable in a situation where you will be disturbed by passers by and general cabin noises and may need to turn around a few times to get settled.

It is a gimmick which will go the way of the piano bar we were promised on 747s.

Then again if you are catering for short people who can fit lying down within the 3 seat width it may work.
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Old 27th Jan 2010, 15:15
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These seats will do nothing for me, perhaps make comfort and accessibility worse! I travel alone to NZ twice a year, usually via Hong Kong (as I'm not prepared to be locked up again in a small lounge as a potential terrorist at LA).

I usually travel Premium Economy and won't afford two of these seats. Therefore I'll bet that there are fewer Prem Econ "regular" seats available, and those that are available will be the "short legroom" ones rather than the ones at the front bulkhead, outer rows.

It's all very well attracting the families and couples but there are many solo travellers who will not benefit and I for one am very willing to change carrier if I can't get the right seat!
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 13:46
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I think the solo traveller has always had more options. The problems come when travelling as a couple, buying two PE seats (we are talking holidays not biz) is prohibitive. I can think of three friends who are couple + one small child (under aged 7) for whom this could very well be the ideal solution. Bear in mind that many of NZ's pax are children + grandchild going to visit grandparents.

I have no doubt that NZ know their market and I don't think that it's an idea looking for a solution but very much the solution that many have been looking for. of course, until tried, we cannot know - but it looks well worth a try.
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 18:17
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Air New Zealand calls this "the first major improvement in economy class travel comfort in 20 years".

So what was the major improvement 20 years ago that reset the clock?
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 19:34
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Seat back video screens? Did not have on-demand of course, but that was a major step forward that might be called 'comfort' as it made pax happier.

I'm not sure when the seat back 'wings' came into Y but I think much more recently.
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Old 4th Feb 2010, 01:29
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A colleague of mine used to always travel "coach" on trips from London to Rio. His argument was that club was always full and there was plenty of room further back to lift the arms of the empty seats to stretch out across them. Thereby getting some (if not a good night's) sleep on the journey.
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Old 4th Feb 2010, 14:49
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His argument was that club was always full and there was plenty of room further back
Not these days. Carriers have cut capacity and tweaked ticket management systems to oversell sufficiently to get 90+ load factors. Further, with pax choosing own seats online, there is zero choice at check-in.

I recall one trip across the Pond which was very lightly loaded (it was a brand new route and more ten years ago) where there were a lot of places to stretch out. I had my eye on one bank of four seats - (A340), reckoning to move over as soon as we reached crusie and the belt signal went out.

We were still in initial climb out (no more than three mins after rotation) when all the 18/20 year olds, unbelted and dived into the banks of empty seats and re-belted. It happened in the blink of an eye and all the groups of seats suitable for sleeping - were gone!

Getting two seats together is lucky, so I buy a bigger seat. These days, it's usually buy a Y with cash and then upgrade to PE with FFMs.
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