Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


One step closer to the mile-high club...
January 27, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Forget cosmetic upgrades—Air New Zealand has been working on improving the actual flight experience, first introducing In-Flight Concierge Service, and now, the Skycouch - a row of seats that convert to a bedin Economy Class.
via mathowie's delicious
posted by joshwa (39 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
That should nicely complement their body-painted stewards & stewardesses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2010


If someone lowers their seatback in front of this lady and she wakes up suddenly she might bonk her face against the viewscreen.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:19 PM on January 27, 2010


I thought Metafilter was mathowie's delicious.
posted by Caduceus at 1:23 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Does this mean he has been cheating on us?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:33 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So if you want anything approaching a comfortable bed in economy you have to buy three seats. You might as well fly first class.
posted by amro at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2010


Still no special considerations for people over 6-foot-2, I notice.
posted by philip-random at 1:37 PM on January 27, 2010


And by "approaching comfortable" I mean "don't try to stretch your legs out all the way."
posted by amro at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2010


I recently flew ANZ, on one of their new 777s and I must say that it was an extremely pleasant experience for a very reasonable price. They totally blow any US or Canadian airline away. The level and professionalism of the service on the US majors has declined to such an extent that even the cranky Air Canada stewards are a step up. The ANZ folks were very friendly and compared favourably to (nice) experiences on Korean Air and Singapore.

Oh man, if they'd had that skycouch deal, we would have been all over that.
posted by bonehead at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2010


So if you want anything approaching a comfortable bed in economy you have to buy three seats. You might as well fly first class.

On many long haul flights such as those that AirNZ offers, it's possible to have a row to yourself. It's not something you would want to bank on because you're just as likely to be on a packed flight full of stinky travelers who haven't showered in 36 hours as an empty one, but still. If you can fold out the seats then great.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2010


On many long haul flights such as those that AirNZ offers, it's possible to have a row to yourself.

Yeah, I once had a row to myself on V Australia flying from LA to Sydney. It was good but not great. I'm just too tall to stretch out. And I'm not that tall. This would be a bit better, since you would be able to use all the space, rather than just the two feet of cushion. And I wish they had some kind of board or something on the aisle side to keep you in your space — having a foot stick into the aisle is no fun.

So if you want anything approaching a comfortable bed in economy you have to buy three seats.

Actually, in my experience, even business class on a trans-pacific flight costs more than three coach seats.
posted by smackfu at 1:51 PM on January 27, 2010


Can you imagine the death glares you'd get if you bought three seats and decided to roll out the bed in the middle of your 20 hour flight, while everyone around you were busy fighting deep vein thrombosis? There's a reason they put up a curtain between first class and steerage: to avoid large scale rioting among the passengers.
posted by reformedjerk at 1:51 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I would have to have an even remote thought of ever again going through the miserable process of being abused by security, flight attendants, terrorists, and poor systems to even want to click on that link...

where's the bus station?
posted by HuronBob at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2010


where's the bus station?

Sure, but there are very few documented cases of survivors of bus trips from N. America to New Zealand.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sure, but there are very few documented cases of survivors of bus trips from N. America to New Zealand.

That's because of the First Rule of bus trips from N. America to New Zealand.
posted by mikelieman at 2:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


So if you want anything approaching a comfortable bed in economy you have to buy three seats. You might as well fly first class.

Ah, no. For transoceanic flights business is roughly twice as expensive as coach and first is roughly ten times as expensive. And if you've already bought two seats apparently they'll sell you the third for half price. This is actually a pretty great deal for what it is. For a single traveler it might be cheaper to go to business but for a pair this is a substantial savings.
posted by jedicus at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2010


On many long haul flights such as those that AirNZ offers, it's possible to have a row to yourself.

You've flown on very different flights than I have then. For the past few years, all of the long haul flights I've been on have been sold to capacity. Prior to 2001, you would have been absolutely correct, many flew at reduced capacity. Nowadays airlines are over-booking to make certain that they don't waste revenue from even a single empty seat, in my experience.

even business class on a trans-pacific flight costs more than three coach seats.

Quite a lot more, in my experience. Up to twelve times for first class.
posted by bonehead at 2:19 PM on January 27, 2010


I fly Air NZ frequently between NZ and the States, and bonehead is completely correct in that the staff tends to be wonderful, the prices are reasonable, and the cabins are tidy and comfortable.

Saying that I was a bit disappointed in the announcement. I had been picturing some kind of innovative pod that would allow you to recline your seat all the way down. It was touted in the news here as "new seat technology!!!!!!" when what it actually winds up being is the same technology your parents have for letting you sleep across the seats in the back of their car on your trip to grandma's.
posted by supercrayon at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Clearly the solution to comfort on long haul flights is proper development of a new generation of sedatives that are perfectly timed for body weight and flight duration. Get onboard, shut down, wake up on final approach jet lag free and ready to roll. Working out such things as emergency diversions or other interruptions in flight time is an exercise best left to the reader.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Clearly the solution to comfort on long haul flights is proper development of a new generation of sedatives that are perfectly timed for body weight and flight duration. Get onboard, shut down, wake up on final approach jet lag free and ready to roll. Working out such things as emergency diversions or other interruptions in flight time is an exercise best left to the reader.

If I had that, I'd gladly fly as freight...or hell...be shipped over water.

But there was that whole thing on Space Odyssey...
posted by hal_c_on at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2010


I wish my car was a bed as well.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:35 PM on January 27, 2010


They mention snacks on demand.


I DEMAND SNACKS!
posted by craven_morhead at 2:42 PM on January 27, 2010


I DEMAND SNACKS!

On most international carriers, you can just go back to the galley and ask the attendant for a snack and they'll toss you a couple of whatever goodies they gave out on the last round or will give out on the next round.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2010


Screw Emirates, I'm only flying Air New Zealand from now on.
posted by reenum at 3:19 PM on January 27, 2010


Way back in the distant past (around April of 2000), I was lucky enough to be in business class on British Airways from LHR to SFO. Even better was that they'd put me Upstairs!

Now, BA had just refurbished this plane and put in some of their fancy new sleeping-pod style seats in Business. The deal was, you had two seats side by side, one facing forward and the other facing backwards. The seats reclined, all the way to flat, and you had a little shade thingy you could pull over to block out the sun, creepy perving by your seat-mate, and unexpected rains of frogs.

I'm a shade over 6' tall, and these seats came in at about 5'11", so it was almost but not quite comfortable. I'd happily travel that way again, though, in preference to cattle class.

But that's not really why I wrote this ... no, it gets much cooler.

Some time after takeoff, the Flight Engineer came back and plopped down in the only free seat, next to me. We chatted about this and that for a while, and I asked (as every excited geekboy did back in those days) whether I could visit the cockpit. He said he'd go and check and, in about 10 minutes, came back and invited me in (those of you cue-ing up the cheesy saxophone music and "but I don't have a pool!" comments can stop now).

After a little more chatting to the Captain and co-pilot, I got up the courage to ask if I could sit in for the landing. In this day and age, I'd probably be bound and gagged and stuffed into an overhead compartment just for thinking this, but back then it was just a "wouldn't it be cool" moment. The captain thought about it for a bit, then agreed; he'd send the flight engineer back just before we got to SFO to bring me back in to the cockpit.

It's interesting to note that, because of the way a 747 is angled at landing, you're about 50 feet off the ground in the cockpit when the rear wheels touch down. Also, Boeing 747s have the voice of a middle-aged British lady (Majel Barrett being unavailable, I presume) that counts down the elevation as you approach the runway.

We descended in parallel with another aircraft to our right, slightly behind it, so I could watch them land first in a view I'd only ever seen in flight simulators before (and since).

It's an experience I'll never forget, and one that I doubt anyone will repeat for a long, long time (if ever).
posted by nonspecialist at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


The ANZ folks were very friendly and compared favourably to (nice) experiences on Korean Air and Singapore.

Completely agree. Singapore is excellent but no airline I've taken beats ANZ.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2010


Clearly the solution to comfort on long haul flights is proper development of a new generation of sedatives that are perfectly timed for body weight and flight duration. Get onboard, shut down, wake up on final approach jet lag free and ready to roll.

I want this. Plus chuck away the seats and install Japanese capsule-hotel style pods. And if you can't manage the knock-out juice, can we have full-immersion virtual reality so I can explore Pandora while crossing the Pacific? In 3-D? Oh but leave out all those creatures that try to eat you. Kthnxbye
posted by HiroProtagonist at 5:40 PM on January 27, 2010


Singapore is excellent but no airline I've taken beats ANZ

All the flights go through New Zealand though, right? That's why the others like Singapore and Cathay Pacific are nice, because their hub is much more central in Asia.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 PM on January 27, 2010


Hey, Auckland is right up there alongside Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore & Bangkok as a major hub of the Asia-Pacific region.

lamburger
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:15 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hotel Capsules would be cool, I don't think everyone could handle flying in them, but given the choice I would take them...perhaps when blimps make their big comeback!
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:29 PM on January 27, 2010


In entirely unrelated policy news, Air New Zealand have announced that as part of a drive to improve the customer experience, sheep with a valid passenger ticket will no longer be required to travel in the cargo section of the plane.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:41 AM on January 28, 2010


It's an experience I'll never forget, and one that I doubt anyone will repeat for a long, long time (if ever)

But.. if you fancy something close to it, you can fly a BA jumbo, here, at BA's training center at Heathrow. It's not cheap, but you do get a real captain telling you how to fly the plane, and you can choose where you want to take off and land into (they have, sadly, removed the old Hong Kong airport from the simulator software- I asked).
posted by MuffinMan at 2:57 AM on January 28, 2010


The ANZ folks were very friendly and compared favourably to (nice) experiences on Korean Air and Singapore.

Completely agree. Singapore is excellent but no airline I've taken beats ANZ.


Turkish Airlines way back in the day used to have flight crews that consisted of a handfull of the most attractive young Turkish women they could find who flirted and sweetly doted on customers. There would also be an older woman who cooked and served the meals on the way. She would come down the aisle with a big brimming pot of real, actual food and would plop it on your plate. If you looked like a skinny little weakling like me she plopped extra on your plate, barked orders at you in Turkish, and came by again with more to make sure you were eating. I'll take 12 hours of that over the ability to sit crossways any time!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:11 AM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The best flight I ever had was a Asiana flight on a 747 from LA to Seoul. I would have LOVED a seat that converted into a bed as I think that flight was about 18 hours long. The Valium I took helped A LOT! The flight attendants were some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and they were kind and helpful. The food was pretty great. Bibimbap, with a tube of what I thought was toothpaste but was actually hot pepper paste. (I discovered this when I saw others squeezing it onto their food, thank goodness.)

I had a pretty great flight on NWA from Detroit to Rome. Had the entire middle section to myself, so I really could stretch out and snooze, also they had the private TV in the headrest thing, so I could choose my flicks, rather than watch Dunston Checks In, or whateverthefuck they show on transatlantic flights.

Here are some terrible long-haul experiences:

1. Paris to Miami on American: a plane full of French people heading to Club Med via MIA. Stealing drinks off the cart, putting their kids in economy while they flew in first, then having said kids puke all over themselves, a pursar wrestling a bottle of scotch from an already drunken Frenchman. I was so tense when I landed I thought I was going to explode.

2. Miami to Frankfurt on Lufthansa: a plane full of German people returning from a vacation in Florida. One guy stank so bad that he singed all the hairs out of my nose. Not bathing is one thing, but add not laundering one's clothes and you've amped up to a whole new level of stank.

3. Another nightmare of a flight was United from London to National: We flew up with a group of high school kids doing a class trip, that was fine, they were excited but decently behaved. We had the bad luck of returning with them, after a week of running around the UK with only a couple of harried chaperones, they were giddy and loud. They stayed up the entire red-eye flight, playing their iPods loud enough that you could hear the squealy sounds coming out of them, and having screaming conversations over that. On landing, when the plane dive-bombs National, we hit turbulence and with every bump and jostle, the would act like they were on a roller-coaster, "Woooooo! Ahhhhh! Wooooah!" Finally I put on my best Teacher voice and screamed at them. That shut them up.

My point, and I do have one, is that I might not have the dough to upgrade to business or first, but I would expend about $100 or so to buy more comfort on a long-haul flight.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:55 AM on January 28, 2010


A friend of mine that works in China for the UN (and thus flies from BJ to NY and BJ to Geneva and back at least once a month ) told me his long-haul-in-coach secret, which I have dutifully followed ever since: they always serve the first meal about 30 minutes to an hour in giving you plenty of time to settle in and get out your supplies (noise hushing headphones, eye shades, Ambien). Important: go pee before this meal arrives. When they come by with the food, point to the two Ambien tablets in your hand and the headphones and say to the flight attendant, "if you give me two of those little bottles of wine with this meal you won't have to talk to me again until we land."

14 hours later you step off the plane refreshed and ready for your day while everyone else feels like crap.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:28 AM on January 28, 2010


I can't help but wonder how the sexual politics of this will work out and if it will blow up in their faces the moment a gay couple tries to spoon in the economy class in front of a family of four from Texas. Maybe Kiwis are just that much more progressive, but the experience for gays on US airlines hasn't always been so rosy.
posted by pantsonsteven at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2010


Why Texas? Henceforth, I'm going to shoot anyone who uses Texas as some kind of obtuse rhetorical device.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:56 PM on January 28, 2010


The only time I ever got to fly first class was on a short haul (Budapest to Berlin), but damn, those Hungarian flight attendants are NOT stingy with the booze, bless them!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:48 PM on January 28, 2010


I heard if you buy the third seat for a couple, it's 50% off, which makes it fairly cheap compared to first or business.
posted by mathowie at 8:17 PM on January 28, 2010


Why Texas? Henceforth, I'm going to shoot anyone who uses Texas as some kind of obtuse rhetorical device.

How about we use Lubbock, Texas for this from now on? Lubbock makes the rest of Texas look like Berkeley.

NOT-TEXIST
posted by Pollomacho at 4:50 AM on January 29, 2010


« Older Seven-year-old Charlie Simpson of west London set ...   |   A Crime of Shadows: Mark Bowde... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments