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AIR NEW ZEALAND: New 787 Dreamliner interiors all about sleep, doors and bunk beds.

AIR NEW ZEALAND: New 787 Dreamliner interiors all about sleep, doors and bunk beds.

You will have to wait until their delivery in 2024 to experience the new Air New Zealand faux first class – Business Premier Luxe suite, a new Business Premier seat and the Skynest a world-first – sleep pods in the sky for Economy travellers.

The interior of the new 787s will comprise a row of 4 Business Premier Luxe suites in the first row of business in a 1-2-1 configuration. Behind that are 68 Business Premier seats over 2 cabins, followed by 52 premium seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, and finally 120 economy seats in a 3-3-3 formation with some stretch economy scattered about. How many the release doesn’t say.

a woman and a child looking at a screen on an airplane

The 6-birth Economy Skycouch will be located at the front of Economy between the aisles, with 6 births over 3 levels.

Based on customer research over 5 years, Air NZ has confirmed that getting a good sleep on long-haul with more space and comfort is what customers want. I could have told them that and my fee would have been far less than their research costs!

“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.

Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran, Air New Zealand
a seat in a plane
Business Premier Luxe Suite

The new business and faux first seat products are based on European manufacturer Safran Seats ‘Visa’ product, for which Air New Zealand is the launch customer.

These Business Premier and Business Premier Luxe suites will be installed across all their Boeing 787-9 fleet between 2024-2026. These seats will also be installed in the ordered Boeing 787-10s. However, don’t expect the new seats to be retrofitted to the airline’s Boeing 777s, as these will be close to retirement by 2026.

a room with two beds and purple lights

New seats for sleeping

The Skynest concept – previewed back in 2020 modelled after train sleeping compartments is a needed innovation that has been speculated on, in different incarnations for years. It’s good to see an airline actually installing the concept.

The Business Premier Luxe seat provides a sort of faux First Class to Air New Zealand, something more spacious and comfortable than their usual Business Premier seat.

Environmental considerations

The airline is using contemporary fabrics, and not leather which will save a kilogram of weight per Business Premier and Premium Economy seat. The airline is also reducing the weight of crockery and cutlery in premium cabins by 20% which will assist in reducing emissions. In economy, new service ware will save 28 million kgs of plastic every year.

a poster of an airplane
Cabin makeup

Summary of cabin upgrades

Business Premier Luxe

A faux First Class for customers looking for space and privacy will occupy the first row of the business cabin. All the features of Business Premier, but with a closing door and the ability to dine with a partner.

a seat and a monitor in a plane
Busiiness Premier

Business Premier

You can share space in the middle seats with a companion by lowering the divider.

a man and woman sitting in chairs on an airplane
Premium Economy

Premium Economy

The new seat gives more privacy with a seat shell that can be reclined without interrupting the person behind.

Economy Skynest

A world-first sleep pod innovation in aircraft. Six pods are available for use during part of the flight. Exact booking arrangements and pricing are yet to be announced.

Economy Skycouch

The Skycouch, introduced back in 2011 is retained in the new 787 interiors to be launched in 2024t

Economy Stretch

Greater pitch here so you can stretch out your legs.

a row of seats in a plane
Economy – showing Stretch and Skycouch

Economy seat

Redesigned economy seat with more storage, comfort and space and a 50% larger entertainment. Also, Bluetooth audio to pair your device to act as a remote control or second screen.

a seat in a plane
Business Premier

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Innovation in seating is to be applauded, and Air New Zealand has a track record in this area for a couple of decades. Although some of the ideas don’t always get plaudits (remember those facing away business seats that had too small a pitch and were roundly condemned?).

The new First Class cabin masquerading as Business Premier Luxe will make those extremely long haul trips between Auckland and New York much more pleasant. The other products including the new business class, are just Air NZ catching up with the reverse-herringbone seats of other airlines. I hope AirNZ is getting rid of those terrible outdated herringbone seats it currently has on the 787

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