Air NZ's new long-haul interiors - with pictures

Air New Zealand today revealed its new interior design features, including lie-flat economy and more comfortable premium seats to media in a full-scale mock cabin.

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The prototype Boeing 777-300 cabin included a “skycouch”, or three seats engineered to create a lie flat space when foot rests are extended (complete with a couple of models snuggling up to sleep).

The cost of being able to lie flat will be about $200 more than the lowest economy seat, along with the cost of the third seat at half price.

The 22 skycouch seats, which will be installed in the first 11 window rows of economy class, were designed with couples or families in mind, providing space for kids to play.

Mils Muliaina, in the cabin along with Sarah Ulmer to promote the makeover, said he could have used the extra space this month coming back from holiday with his children.

“We’re fortunate to fly business class with the All Blacks and I’ll look forward to the new seats – they’re really comfy.”

Changes to premium economy include more legroom and shared-meal experiences for people wanting to travel together or a more social flying experience.

Food and beverage was also a focus for business premier cabins, which include on-demand services, along with an “enhanced sleep experience.”

Air New Zealand’s chief executive Rob Fyfe said the three zones would be a step ahead of competitors.

“Being able to order a steak, medium rare in business premier, a pizza for two in premium economy or a late night snack in economy, whenever you want, will be a very cool experience.

“New oven technology that will cook food from scratch rather than simply reheating and a new digital in-seat ordering service will make this truly the first time real food has been served at 35,000 feet.”

The 777-300 aircraft will include 246 economy seats (including 66 seats that will create the skycouch combinations), 50 in premium economy and 44 in business premier.

The first route is planned for December, on selected NZ5 and NZ6 services between Auckland and Los Angeles (and NZ1 and NZ2 return), followed by services on to London in April 2011.

Boeing 777-200 aircraft are also in line for a re-fit from mid 2011, with flights to Asia, North America and the UK operating with the new seats by 2012.

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