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SKYCOUCH REVIEW & PRICE ANALYSIS

TO SKYCOUCH OR NOT TO SKYCOUCH?      THAT IS THE QUESTION!

“Is it worth it & how much did it cost?’ our friends asked when we returned from a 12 hour trip from Auckland to Buenos Aires flying on Air New Zealand in Economy SkyCouch known as "cuddle class."

 

SkyCouch was introduced in 2010 and has been around now for 9 years.  It was designed to give economy passengers the opportunity to purchase a 'no-frills' lie-flat bed.

PHOTO  COURTESY OF AIR NEW ZEALAND
PHOTO COURTESY OF AIR NEW ZEALAND

WHAT IS A SKYCOUCH?

It’s a row of three seats in economy class that can be made up into a flatbed by raising the specially designed footrests and folding up all the armrests including the one by the window.  It is definitely best suited for one or two people per SkyCouch. Pillows and blankets are supplied. A special seat belt extender is provided so that you can safely lie flat during the flight. It is simple to set up yourself or the flight attendants will do it for you

WHAT ARE THE SLEEPING OPTIONS?

 

1). a single adult:  This is certainly the most luxurious option. A whole row of three seats all to yourself to laze around on! (See photo above) 

 

2). two people   One adult and one child, or two smallish adults cuddled together. (See photo 2) 

For two adults the best option is for one adult to be seated in the aisle seat and the other person laying down, probably with their feet on the aisle person’s lap. They can split the travel time and take turns at laying down to sleep.

PHOTO 3-  COURTESY OF AIR NEW ZEALAND
PHOTO 2-  COURTESY OF AIR NEW ZEALAND
PHOTO COURTESY OF AIR NEW ZEALAND

3). One adult & 2 children.  One person seated in the aisle seat and two children laying on the raised platform.

 

4). Popular 4 person family option- 2 x SkyCouches with one adult and one child on each Sky Couch. (see photo 3)

This year Air New Zealand has won a couple of awards for the newly modified seat belts that can allow up to four people to sleep on the SkyCouch. I’m not sure how that would work and can’t imagine four people of any age being comfortable on the Sky Couch!

OUR SKYCOUCH EXPERIENCE: 

After boarding, a flight attendant arrives to give the Skycouch customers written instructions on how to assemble the Skycouch, explain how it works, and answer any questions. Our flight attendant arrived and told my husband and I that we had also been allocated a second SkyCouch in front of ours, so we would have an entire SkyCouch each for the flight! Wow! How lucky were we? Apparently, this does not happen very often and it was just our lucky day. Air New Zealand we love you!

Our original plan had been that one of us would sit in the aisle seat for half the flight while the other lay down and hopefully slept. Then we would swap after about 6 hours. We didn’t get the opportunity to try out our theory and the five other SkyCouches were also occupied by single people.

It was not a perfect bed. The seats are quite hard for sleeping on and you cannot stretch out fully. The three seats together are 5 foot 1 inch long so if you are a short person you will fit nicely. I am 5 feet 8 inches and by lying diagonally and with knees bent I was comfortable.  However, it was great to have all that space to ourselves and it was certainly a lot better than the other option of attempting to sleep upright and battling for ‘armrest rights.’   

WOULD I FLY SKYCOUCH AGAIN?

 

 I am one of those unfortunate travelers who finds it almost impossible to sleep sitting upright and how I envy those people who can. I would certainly give the SkyCouch strong consideration on a long haul night flight, particularly heading out on holiday when you don’t want to be spending the first two or three days on your holiday or business destination catching up on sleep and recovering from jet lag. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

 Skycouch is only available on certain flights and the availability will show up when the booking is being made. Price varies considerably according to demand from about $300 to $800 per person I believe.

 

 Listed below are some examples of SkyCouch prices for a one-way flight from Auckland to Buenos Aries. These are just a guide, as prices will vary according to demand, and any specials being offered.  

ONE PERSON: 

Seat only- $816  

Sky couch: $1199   Total: $2015 

Premium Economy: $1741

Business class: $4331 

In this example, for a single person traveling alone, the Skycouch would be a little more expensive than Premium Economy, but you do get the lie-flat availability if this is a priority that you don’t get in Premium Economy

TWO PEOPLE:

Seats only ($816 x 2)- $1632  

Upgrade to SkyCouch: ($599x 2)   Total: $2231

Premium Economy: ($1741 x 2)         $3482

Bus Class: ($4331 x 2) $8662

For two people sharing a SkyCouch the cost is considerably cheaper than two premium economy seats.

FAMILY OF 4: Sharing 2 x Skycouches

Seats only-2 x adults: $1632       plus 2 x children $1242       Total: $2874  

Upgrade to 2 x SkyCouches $1198                                           Total $4072

Premium Economy:  $6112.00

Bus Class: $17,324

 

For 2 x adults and 2 x children sharing 2x SkyCouches, it is quite a saving compared to Premium Economy and gives the family room to spread out.

THE BIG NEWS! 

It was announced in the NZ Herald on 19 June 2019, that Air New Zealand is well underway with the testing of a new lie-flat economy seat for its long haul flights and the seats would be more like traditional lie-flat business class seats without the trimmings. I'm sure they've learned a lot after nine years of SkyCouch.  Bring it on we say! The sooner, the better!

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