Wellington: If you are planning to take a long flight with your loved one but do not have the funds to travel business class, Air New Zealand may have just the thing for you.
Aviation commentators have dubbed as "cuddle class" Air New Zealand's new Skycouch design that offers passengers three ordinary economy class seats at the price of two and half ordinary ones.
The airline's Boeing 777-300 aircraft will have a radically different interior with installation of seats that can be turned into beds.
Air New Zealand said in January this year that with the introduction of Skycouch, it looked to inject new vitality into the company.
"Over the past three years, we have been committed to the introduction of new long-haul flying experience and rekindle the interest of passengers. Choose our flights do not have to sit in economy class air, longing in vain lie down and get some sleep," the company's chief executive Rob Fyfe said.
The "cuddle class" is being seen as the most important development in air travel industry. The airline company intends passengers traveling together to buy their seats at full price and pay about half-price for a third seat in the same row.
The armrests can be retracted and the footrests raised to convert the three seats into one single unit where two passengers can lie down during the flight.
New Zealand's national carrier is negotiating with up to 30 other airlines interested in licensing the design.
The intention is to lure more economy class passengers, who make up the majority of flyers, by providing a business class luxury experience.
Air New Zealand is considering retro-fitting some of its existing aircraft to match a Skycouch.