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.
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:
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/
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.
Those who have travelled with me over the last three decades will generally know that I like my gadgets. Certainly I’ve been through various phases with certain items, and have a veritable collection of useful things that I seldom take on trips any longer. Having just recently returned from a one month family trip to Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia, I am compelled to make my first review about the most recent gadget in my drawer … the Chi Air Digital Luggage Scale.
I cannot imagine going on a family trip without taking this valuable gadget. This hand-size unit enables you to measure the weight of your luggage from the comfort of your home, hotel, or hosts accommodation. This means it’s much more convenient to redistribute your rock samples (or souvenir books) from one bag to another, thus avoiding overweight bag fees at the airport check-in counter (they know most people would rather pay the fee than struggle with their dirty laundry on the terminal floor).
The scale provides measurement in either metric or English units, and has a stated capacity of 50kg/110lb, far more than any airline will allow. The unit takes one CR2032 3V battery, and easily lasted through rigorous uses over a one month trip – and is still going strong. I see these units listed online for about US$20, and is well worth it if you’re ever going to travel heavy.
I try to pack relatively light when travelling by myself, irrespective of whether it’s for a few days or for a few weeks. After all, it’s usually not the end of the world to be missing an item – and most travel items can be replaced if essential. However, when travelling with a family it’s a really good idea to be as prepared as possible, meaning it’s a good idea to have a little extra stuff on hand … just-in-case! As such, the weight limits imposed by airlines are much more meaningful when I’m travelling with my family. A small digital scale such as the Chi Air Digital Luggage Scale could easily save the purchase cost in avoided airline fees. Of course, don’t forget to check the airline luggage weight limits prior to travel.