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March 3, 2012

Cuddle Class Travel

For those who can’t sleep on long airline flights, there is a solution.  Many of us have wished for a chance to lay down for a nap without having to pay 2-3 times the economy fare for one of those business class seat. It used to be possible back in the old days when flights were not jam-packed full – I can vividly remember the pleasure and comfort of having a whole row to myself (or the envy towards anyone else who won the gate agent lottery for a seat assignment like that).  Now, Air New Zealand offers ‘Sky Couch’ options (aka Cuddle Class), and this provides an opportunity for various seating configurations – all of which are more comfortable than a standard seat assignment.  On the 13 hour flight from LAX to AKL, my wife slept for the first seven hours … which is simply amazing since she can seldom sleep on a long flight.  She would have enjoyed stretching out for longer, except made the mistake of looking at our daughter and subsequently swapping seats with her.

Photo from: http://www.airnewzealand.com/upgrade-to-skycouch

The Sky Couch is a configuration whereby the seats are similar to Lazy-boy chairs, with footrests that come up to seat level (and fill the space where your legs would normally go).  When you do this for 2-3 of the seats, you have a nice wide flat surface where you can stretch out.  Each such row was provided two fluffy pillows and a duvet, so made for a significant improvement over the standard thin pillow and blanket. Additional seat belt components were provided for use in any of the various seating configurations (all very self explanatory once you got used to the idea).

On our flight, I remained seated on the aisle while my wife stretched out with her feet resting in my lap.  She also tried lying the other way, and said that both were quite comfortable.  Many other passengers on our flight seemed to follow this seating configuration, although several other options were clearly possible.  I stayed awake long enough to watch a few movies on what I would consider the most advanced entertainment system I’ve seen on any airplane flight (and I’ve flown extensively on several airlines in the past).

The following link takes you to the Air New Zealand site which further describes the Sky Couch concept:
http://www.airnewzealand.com/economy-skycouch

In addition, here is an external and independent link to the Airline Reporter.com article which gave this revolutionary seat concept an “Awesome Medal”:  http://www.airlinereporter.com/tag/sky-couch/

Dad’s Recommendation:
Take a long trip to the homeland of Air New Zealand, and pay the extra to travel in cuddle class … you’ll arrive more rested than otherwise, for a fraction of the cost of business class.  However, do stay awake long enough to enjoy at least one movie on the high-tech entertainment system.  This seating option is presently available between Auckland, Los Angeles and London.

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