How Air New Zealand drives innovation in the airline industry: lie flat in economy class

In this video you can see how Air New Zealand's Skycouch works

Great innovations often come from small things, and this is what Air New Zealand has achieved with its Skycouch for economy class. This idea, that emerged from within the company, is going to make the very long flights to and from New Zealand significantly more comfortable for many travelers that can not afford the luxuries of business class (or even those of premium economy).

On the kiwi-airline's new Boeing 777-300ER you can turn a row of three seats into a comfortable couch.

How this is done?

Very simple. The seats come with totally retractable armrest, while the leg-rest can go up to fill the gap between your own seats and the seat in front. Each row of three becomes a single, almost flat, surface and there are even specially adapted seat-belts. Add some real pillows and you are all set!

This innovation is ideal for couples and families with children...the only if is that you have to buy the three seats together. Pricing can be a delicate thing, specially if you do not want to devalue your premium products (premium economy and business class), but it seems that Air NZ has finally gone for a pricing structure where you can buy two seats at full price and the third one at half price. According to this article, this could result on an extra cost of $1,400 on a typical trip from Auckland to London (based on base fares), however it will still be considerably lower than premium economy or business class seats, that go for about $6,000 and $10,000 each (let alone buying two of them!).

This is in fact one of several imaginative solutions that Air New Zealand has devised to improve its passenger's in-flight is not a coincidence that when designated the World's 10 most innovative airlines, Air New Zealand came on top!

You just need to look on a map where New Zealand is located to understand a lot of things...necessity is the mother of invention!