Each pod also comes equipped with a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs as well as privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep. Credit: Air New Zealand.

Just when you thought trans-oceanic economy flying just wasn’t worth the pain and effort anymore — along comes a unique, out-of-the-box idea from Air New Zealand, and it’s not just for snooty first-class types.

Those flying from Auckland to New York on the airline may soon be able to stretch out for some much-needed rest – even in economy class, CNA Lifestyle reported.

The airline on Wednesday revealed that it has been working on a new lie-flat prototype “sleep product” for long-haul economy class travellers who crave some shut-eye, the report said.

Dubbed the Economy Skynest, the sleeping area features six full-length sleep pods.

Each pod also comes equipped with a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs as well as privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep, the report said.

Air New Zealand said that it is also exploring other features such as a separate reading light, personal device USB outlet and ventilation outlet, the report said.

Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod said that as the airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland-New York service at around 17 hours one way, it wants to make the experience more enjoyable — a difficult task considering the sardine-like seating in some modern aircraft.

“A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Skynest is a direct response to that challenge,” he said.

Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Skynest next year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations, the report said.

Future customers on long-haul flights would be able to book the Skynest in addition to their economy seat.

Dubbed the Economy Skynest, the sleeping area features six full-length sleep pods. Credit: Air New Zealand.

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