Cuddle Class couches come to coach on Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has created a "cuddle-class" seating arrangement in its coach cabins: a couple can purchase three seats abreast for a small premium (an extra 25% per passenger), whose footrests come all the way up to the seats in front, forming a lie-flat couch where fliers can recline together. This is also a nice arrangement for parents flying with small kids.
Developed in-house by the airline's designers and engineers, the 22 "Skycouches" will take up the first 11 rows in the economy cabin of the carrier's new Boeing 777-300 planes, and will be formed out of three economy seats abreast that fold out to create a lie-flat space (complete with full size pillows) stretching right up to the seats in front. The increased space could also provide a valuable play and sleep area for those travelling with small children. For two adults travelling, purchasing the Skycouch will be based on buying two seats at standard prices with the third seat at approximately half price. Full airfare details will be announced when it goes on sale in late April.
Air New Zealand unveils first lie-down economy bed

Air NZ's new SkyCouch in action


  1. My problem is this: There are 3 seats in that row and only 2 people are in the picture. Whats the 3rd person suppose to do while the other 2 are cuddling? This was almost a good idea. Its only going to work if the 2 people booking the cuddle class book the 3rd seat as well to secure the 3 seats in the section. But at the price of the 3rd coach ticket they could book business class for 2. This pretty much a gamble then. You dont know who is sitting next to until you are on the plane.

    1. Each ticket costs 25% extra because they are giving you the 3rd seat for half price, split between the two other tickets. They state this in the article. So if you are purchasing “cuddle class’ it includes the middle seat in the price. No need to worry about a 3rd person in the row. Read carefully for full details friends.

    2. “Whats the 3rd person suppose to do while the other 2 are cuddling?” Wow. Did you read the article? There won’t be a 3rd person in that row. As for the airline, I’m sure the money they lose by selling a seat for 50%, they make up in savings on fuel from the decreased weight.

  2. Wow.. I would almost do anything for this.. My wife and I do frequent Dallas-Tokyo trips (14 hours!!) and this would we ace. A privacy curtain would be bonus.. Could maybe even cram a newborn in where your feet usually go. (j/k)

  3. Don’t people traveling alone get to sleep too? How about getting rid of the 3 chairs and replace it with a 3 level bed. Kind of like a coffin hotel, but only more cramped. But you will be well rested when you get off your 8 hour flight.

    1. I don’t think there’s anything to stop people travelling alone from buying 3 seats to sleep in, but at that price you’d be better off flying business class (which on Air NZ has lie-flat beds).

      I’ve always thought the 3-level bed idea was a good one. Safety on takeoff and landing might be an issue- how would you strap yourself in?- but military medevac flights seem to manage to carry stacks of stretcher patients.The only other problem would be would people want this for a day flight? If not, the planes would have to be easily convertible between seats and beds.

  4. As a frequent-flying parent of small children, I can appreciate the “increased space providing a valuable play and sleep area for those travelling with small children”.

    But I can also envision frequent-flying couples without children appreciating the “increased space providing a valuable play and sleep area”, a mile-high.

  5. I have to agree with Rambutan, assuming i’m getting what they’re saying. It seems a teensy bit worriesome to mix, a perfect arrangement for families with young chidren, that can also be used for couples to get cosy on the long trip. Seems like a really bad idea to me.

  6. To quote the Air New Zealand spokes person from the Guardian article

    “The dream is now a reality, one that you can even share with a travelling companion – just keep your clothes on, thanks.”

    I’m sure that in reality people will behave. Any that don’t will be asked to stop, and could be banned from the airline, in exactly the same way as now. This is a great thing, don’t talk it down.

  7. My problem is this: There are 3 seats in that row and only 2 people are in the picture. Whats the 3rd person suppose to do while the other 2 are cuddling? This was almost a good idea. Its only going to work if the 2 people booking the cuddle class book the 3rd seat as well to secure the 3 seats. But at the price of the 3rd coach ticket they could book business class for 2.

    1. I’m sorry, msky123, did you actually read the article? Like, at all? It says that they have to buy the third seat at 25% added to both tickets.

    2. Hmm – did you even read the pricing information provided in the first para? The two passengers pay an extra 25% each and get 3 seats total.

    3. msky123 – did you actually READ any words up there, or just look at the picture? It clearly says the three seats can be bought by two people. Good grief!

    4. :But at the price of the 3rd coach ticket they could book business class for 2.

      Umm this very very far from the truth. Business class ticket price is about five (5) times the price of economy, though deals are available. Nowhere however is there a deal that is merely 25% more expensive than economy.
      I invite you to check.

    5. Did you even read the article? There is no 3rd person – 2 people purchase the 3rd seat between themselves.

  8. It’s probably a lot less comfortable than the picture implies. Notice how their seat is reclined all the way back, impinging on the people behind them. But, the seatbacks in front of them are fully upright. If those were reclined, she would be a bit cramped and would not be able to raise her head without hitting the seatback. And then there is the safety issue of the effects of sudden turbulence on unbelted passengers…

  9. @#8> Sorry msky, did you read the cutting there? Passengers book 2 seats at full price, and then the third seat costs about 50%.

  10. From TFA: “For two adults travelling, purchasing the Skycouch will be based on buying two seats at standard prices with the third seat at approximately half price.”

    So, it won’t be as expensive as 3x a seat.

  11. I’m not sure I would consider 25% (in actuality 50% of a regular ticket) to be a small premium. Sure it costs less than a third ticket but it’s still a hefty chunk of change.

    I suspect they are doing this as a way to make more money out of planes with fewer passengers. Clearly if the flight is close to being fully booked this option will not be available.

  12. Looks really small. I think I’d have more leg room sitting normally. The couple in the NZ Herald photo look quite cramped. Maybe the photo above is of some midgets.

    It’d be interesting to see how they market this in a way which doesn’t imply you can lie down.

  13. I am just old enough to have gotten in on the era when people dressed up to get on an airplane. Memories of an eight-year-old wearing a jacket and clip-on tie and looking forward to Disneyland and Universal Studios are hitting me strongly right now as I think about how undignified flying has become since then. I too have endured trans-Pacific flights, and I imagine the average Air New Zealand flight is lengthy, but this doesn’t seem like a good idea. I have flown with small children, too, and have been grateful for armrests that fold up. This seems like overkill and ripe for situations across the aisle I wouldn’t want to have to explain to my son. I mean, people (occasionally) don’t bother to wait the duration of a plane ride as it is. So, to summarize: Back in my day, people didn’t park their flying bedrooms on my lawn.

    1. #13 – The TSA has already taken away the dignity of air travel. I travel a lot on business, and at this point, I actually dress *down* just for the flight. Your best option now is to wear PJs and flip-flops.

      And if you can’t swallow that, there’s still dignity in air travel – you just need to pony up the extra cash for Business or First Class, which is actually equivalent to what flights used to cost when dignity reigned.

  14. Hate to have to ask, but have they fitted this with safety belts to secure the second cuddler? Yes, you are permitted unbelt when in stable flight, but turbulence does occasionally happen. Ponder what happens in the case where the plane is thrown into a position where the pilot feels it’s safest to recover by doing a full barrel roll. (Yes, it has been done, though I can only think of one instance.)

    I can attest, having been on sufficiently empty red-eye flights, that it is possible for one 5’9″ person to lie down across three standard airline seats and sleep… maybe not at full extension, but close enough to be reasonably comfortable. Broadening the platform to provide space for two sounds perfectly workable to me. But I recognize that I am now a bit below average height for a male — so all you giants are going to be less comfortable.

  15. I am by no means a frequent flier, but I’ve had my chance to lay across three airplane seats on an under-booked flight, and it’s by no means a luxurious arrangement. Do those people look comfortable to you? The guy’s neck is tilted at a near 90 degree angle, and the woman has to curl her body up just to fit into the space. This is in no way comfortable after the first 15 minutes.

    I’m going out on a limb with this one, but I think those who are trying to promote comfort on airlines should get on board with those who are pissing their panties over terrorist threats. Require everyone who gets on an airplane to be sedated and stored horizontally for the duration of the flight. nobody would be able to hijack anything or set off hat bombs, bra bombs, or any other kind of bombs they come up with, because they’d be out cold. We’d all arrive at our destinations before we realized what happened, any potential terrorists would be too drugged to even think about hijacking the plane, and nobody would ever again complain about crying babies.

    I can has airline now?

  16. Unfortunately my husband and I combined would probably weigh enough to make the footrest fold up under our weight, leaving one of us surprised and jamned in the foot well.

    I think I’d rather upgrade to business class than deal with that.

  17. God knows it is traumatizing enough watching affectionate couples traveling, now I might be trapped next to a spooning session a plane? I hope that third seat they bought is comfortable for two after I vomit all over their other two.

  18. Dainel #2, I’m totally with you. I can sleep pretty well as long as I get a window seat, and these ANZ cuddle couches look even better, but to me the most comfortable-looking high-density seating arrangement is the one with three-level bunk beds. Sure, working on your laptop would be cumbersome, and I wouldn’t want to lay down on top of the exact same piece of fabric that someone else just laid down on (maybe the top layer could be replaced between flights and sent away for laundry), but I’d still love the option. I think Lufthansa is the airline that’s closest to actually doing it:

    Technogeek #15, I’m sure there are seat belts for this. Indeed, strong turbulence can cause momentary negative g conditions strong enough to trow people out of their seats with fatal consequences…
    … so buckling up is highly recommended. And it’s FAA-mandated for taxi, takeoff, and landing. (And by the way, a proper barrel-roll is a positive-g manoeuvre. If you’re referring to this incident…
    … it’s likely that passengers not wearing their seatbelts would not have been thrown out of their seats).

  19. Damn, what a bunch of curmudgeons.

    I am sorry, but for some of us (I’m 6’2″) 5+ hours in economy class verges on torture. In fact, if the CIA wanted to scare me, they’d threaten 48 hours in one of those seats.

    ANYTHING that can improve upon this situation at reasonable cost is awesome.

    And thank god Kiwis and Aussies generally aren’t as cuddle phobic or hung up on people who *might* have sex as you lot. I mean, seriously, why are people here so concerned with the sex other people might be getting? And as for PDA, people smooching is a whole lot quieter and less intrusive than babies crying.

    I say go New Zealand Air for doing something innovative. I hope it goes well for them, and if I can ever get it together to fly there, I’ll be taking that extra seat with my wife…

    1. Haven´t you been listening? There might be TOUCHING! People might vomit or go into a hysterical fit, innocent children corrupted beyond repair!

  20. If somehow the waiting times on airports could be reduced, then one can gain a few hours of true sleep in a real bed. That 3rd chair can then be used by another traveller, thus reducing the average carbon emission a bit…

  21. I’m with #19 too.. man you guys are dour worrywarts! Seriously, next you’re going to note couples sitting together could FEEL EACH OTHER UP!
    I think this is a nice idea and a decent solution to an issue that is hard to solve. And even without the extra seat it’ll be nice to have those arms be moveable when you’re on an underbooked flight.

    1. Yeah, I know – if new is around 8 years, then I guess I am.

      I have usually enjoyed the Boinger comment section for being less hysterical than, say the comment sections on most newspapers (which are frightening!). But geez – while I agree that the last place I would want to have sex is on a plane cushion, I can’t say I could care less if someone across the aisle was fingering his girlfriend. WTF difference does it make? If anything, I’d be happy for them that at least they’ve found *some* way to make those flights interesting.

      Oh, and to the hysterics – if you don’t pay for the big seats, you won’t have to sit next to anyone in them *anyway*. See? Even less to worry about. Unless you feel the need to be offended when you walk by people touching on your way to the washroom…

  22. Another chime of support for #19. What, because we’re a couple, we won’t be able to stop ourselves having sex because we’re RECLINED? Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for having so much confidence in our libidos, but seriously, an airplane seat (or three) is one of the last places in the world I ever would want to have sex. I shudder to think of the hygienic implications. Breathing in a plane with all that recirculated air is difficult enough.

  23. Air NZ does an LA to Hawaii to Fiji to NZ route. Stopping in Fiji for a couple days to stretch and adjust to the time zone is my preferred travel option. Had a lovely time there during a recent coup. Great beaches, friendly guys with machine guns. Seriously, there’s something cool about guys in a machine gun nest smiling and waving to you.

    NY to Europe is what kills me. I fantasize about sleeping in the aisle.

  24. Sounds great. I don’t see their seatbelts on, though. Seems that 90% of the time I’m in the air, I have to have it buckled “for the protection of me and other passengers.” Looks as if you can’t lay down and be buckled at the same time.

  25. I’m curious to find out what happens the first time a gay couple avails themselves of this service and “cuddles” up. Maybe New Zealanders are more tolerant. On an American carrier, they’d make a forced landing and TSA would escort them from the plane.

  26. Cosy is one thing. Some troglodyte who thinks you won’t notice or hear him fingering his girlfriend three feet away from you is another.

    But I think we’re safe. Ability to pay a 50% premium on tickets to New Zealand probably correlates with understanding public decency.

  27. As a Kiwi living in the UK I’ve done that 24hr nightmare flight too many times. I think this is possibly the best idea I’ve ever heard and I am willing to give it a go :)

  28. @George57:

    .. couple can purchase three seats abreast for a small premium (an extra 25% per passenger).

    Yes. 3 seats can be purchased by a couple. No its not the same as 2 regular tickets.

    1. Well I knew that. It appeared you did not.
      So what is/was your point?

      If three people buy three sesats nobody gets to cudddle? Well, if so, I think we’d all figured that out.

  29. The airline which provides completely sealed soundproof boxes for couples traveling with kids will be the one which gets my business.

  30. American airlines are far too busy hating us to death to ever introduce something this user friendly, but it sure would be nice. I’m just happy that an airline is giving thought to human comfort and willing to extend it beyond first class.

    1. “I’m just happy that an airline is giving thought to human comfort and willing to extend it beyond first class.”

      Since you have to pay extra for it, only people who can afford first class can afford these seats. So it’s not actually extended to the rest of us.

      1. Not really. According to

        2 economy seats return from Auckland to London cost NZ$5600. That goes up to about NZ$12,000 in premium economy (a wider seat that doesn’t lie flat) and NZ$20,000 in business class (first class). The skycouch for 2 people costs NZ$7600.

        So given that it’s significantly cheaper than premium economy, let alone first class, it’s fair to say that a large number of people who can’t afford first class can afford these seats. “More expensive than economy” does not equal “first class”.

        1. AlexG55 – at that price I’d be tempted to buy three seats for myself (if they allow it – but bet they don’t). It would be only slightly more than one Premium Economy seat where you cannot lie flat and have to take pot luck with your neighbours. So given a chance to have room to lie down and stretch out, plus no risk of anyone you might not like to sit next to, sitting next to you, I’d seriously consider paying that premium for the extra personal space on a really long haul flight.

          1. at that price I’d be tempted to buy three seats for myself (if they allow it – but bet they don’t).

            Bet they don’t? Of course they would – selling three seats while carrying just one person is nothing but win for the airline.

        2. I think some of the posters here are missing the point. It’s about options, which Air NZ is trying to give. How many options do we have now? If none of these options suit me then I won’t fly Air NZ but at the moment they’re giving me more options than any other airline. I realise that this might mean more money but there is an option to fly in the cheap seats, I mean its only the first 11 rows that have “skycouches”. I think this is some great innovative thinking. I also hear they are trialing a new bio-fuel, how much classier will this crowd get? I’m in!

  31. The single person is every bit as likely to be obnoxious. I’ve had far more instances of people flirting, being boisterous or trying to have long conversations about every little inanity they could think of than couples making love in the next seat.

    The average couple isn’t any more inclined to be obscene than any other travellers. Unless reasonable displays of closeness and affection are somehow offensive to you (WTF??).

  32. If the seats in front of the cuddling seats are intended (directly or not) to serve as either A.) leverage assists (for reclining couples to raise themselves up, scoot out, roll over, etc.), or B.) the front wall of a “kid corral,” then the people sitting in front of cuddling seats need to have their ticket prices reduced (perhaps drastically)…

  33. Technogeek:

    A properly executed barrel roll is a 1G maneuver. So she would stay right where she is–on the couch.

    A “snap roll” would tear a B777 apart.

    BTW, the only barrel roll in an airliner I’ve ever heard of is “Tex” Johnston (a Boeing test pilot) rolling the “DASH-80” (the 707 prototype) with a bunch of airline exec on board a demo flight.

  34. I saw a couple additional articles about the seat-bed, and seat belt extenders are provided for when you lay down. While you are prone, you are expected to buckle up.

  35. Female and 5’1″, I’ve found myself sound asleep on a row of seats before, and it was perfectly comfortable. Add a pair of ear plugs or ear buds and nothing will disturb you from take-off to landing.

  36. I don’t care if you have loud, unprotected, naked, continuous monkey sex for the entire flight if I can just have some sort of accomodation that won’t cripple me. Unfortunately I’m longer than three seats are wide.

    At 6’2″ and financially unable to afford first class, any flight over two hours leaves me in considerable pain. The seats in the airport aren’t any better, either, they are made for jelly-spined contortionist midgets.

    Hell, you can have loud, naked continuous contortionist midget jelly sex if I can just get a seat sized for a tall old man. Ear plugs are cheap.

  37. I’ve done this, with strangers, on several long flights. I spooned a very handsome young man from Frankfurt to Bombay. If there were three of us, two of them took the seats, and I laid on the floor covered with coats so that the flight attendant wouldn’t notice me.

  38. I’ve done the Air NZ 24 hour flight economy flight (with a 2 hour stopover in Hong Kong) and it wasn’t actually that bad (they have hundreds of hours worth of movies and tv so I just planned to sleep when I arrived at my destination). They also had pretty friendly staff (for the parson worried about gay couples, watch the “making of” version of that bare essentials safety ad and you’ll hear one of the stewards talk about his husband).

    Adding in a way of actually getting some sleep would be really fantastic.

  39. Looks great, until the person in front leans back, or you get two people who are taller or wider than normal. Then you’re screwed.

    I’ve done direct non-stop from MEL to LAX with Qantas. It was about 17 or 18 hours (after a 4 hour delay; we missed our connecting flight), and the kid in front was screaming for about 12 of those hours. And the food service ran out of what I wanted. All in all a pleasant flight.

    1. “Looks great, until the person in front leans back, or you get two people who are taller or wider than normal. Then you’re screwed.”

      Oh, like with regular seats now too?

      It’s an option. That’s the point; give customers options. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. Hell, you can spend your entire flight smirking at those suckers who paid to lie down while you’re upright and frugal. *Revel* for the price of one seat!

      Jeez, Louise.

  40. I’ll never use this feature, but I think it’s an awesome idea. I applaud any airline that’s differentiating itself in the market by offering MORE service or BETTER service, instead of the dreadful race to the bottom we have with the US carriers.

  41. Air New Zealand that is a brilliant idea! you are truly innovative. At last, after five years of travelling back and forth between England and New Zealand you have something that could lure me away from Singapore Airlines!

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