Sleeper bunks on long-haul flights

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    There has been much interest in Air NZ’s Skynest which we reported several days ago.

    Air NZ is the first airline worldwide (in modern times) to offer sleeping bunks to economy class / premium economy passengers.

    Skynest awaits regulatory approval.

    What prompted me to start this thread was the fact that these sleeping bunks are not new.

    Such bunks may have been provided on the old and multi-stop propeller aircraft but I wonder how many of you recollect that both Philippine Airlines (PAL) and JAL used to offer them on B747s in the 1980s ?

    More recently Lufthansa provided these on its B747s as a “seat and a bed.”

    In fact Lufthansa may have copied the idea from PAL and JAL.

    I say that because PAL and JAL passengers would sit in a normal first class seat for dining but then afterwards they would retire to a bunk on the upper deck.

    With Lufthansa it was different. The bed was positioned alongside the seat.

    Here’s a link to the piece I wrote in 2014 re PAL.

    https://www.pressreader.com/international/business-traveller/20141001/282497181915537

    Here’s the link to the Lufthansa piece we published in 2011. It was highly read judging by reader comments.

    New Lufthansa first class: a seat and a bed


    Mark
    Participant

    Here you go. Phillipine airlines First class bunk beds.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Mark
    Participant

    Interestingly First class had a 65″inch and 41″ seat pitch.
    I assume the passengers with the lower seat pitch, ate their dinner in these seats and then went to bed.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Mark
    Participant

    JAL First class beds

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Harbord1
    Participant

    It will be interesting to see if this will actually happen. Will require a lot of proactive management by the crew to ensure smooth turnaround between passengers and to turf out people who have not paid. Also pricing will be interesting. If it is ‘good value’ then there will be a lot of disappointed passengers – looks like 6 beds only. If priced high – will be seen as a rip off.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    It will be a challenge (assuming Skynest is approved by the regulators).

    So far it’s known that these bunks can only be booked for four hour periods and that cabin staff will be responsible for preparing the bunk for the next customer.

    Some passengers may still be soundly asleep after four hours …. how easy will it be to awaken them ?


    Gold-2K
    Participant

    Nice idea but a bit too “up close and personal” …… I hope that anyone who books it doesn’t have to deal with the snoring and “personal emissions” of the person across the aisle from me on a recent club world over-nighter 🤪 ……. And no way would they have elegantly got in and out of the top the top bunk ….. something you could never unsee 😂🤣😂🤣


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Many thanks Mark for these images.

    As for PAL I cannot remember but what you say sounds logical.

    Those PAL bunks were certified for take off and landing. It meant passengers could stay in their bunks throughout the rest of the flight. This is important and this was the time before B747s had the range to fly Europe-SE Asia non-stop.

    Between Manila and London Gatwick PAL would have around three en route stops.

    I believe JAL, unlike PAL, did charge a supplement for its Sky Sleeper.

    JAL was the first to discontinue the service.

    From what I remember it was JAL’s cabin crew union which forced management’s hand.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Good marketing as usual from Air NZ. Bunks are a good marketing tool but will directly contribute little to the bottom line and sound horrendous but then i’m not 22 and looking for something new, fun and affordable…. well not in an aircraft seat anyway.


    FormerBA
    Participant

    I was working in Manila in the mid 90’s when these were being phased out on PAL. I often wondered what it would have been like but never got to try.

    It is fascinating that they were certified for use in takeoff and landing and yet 30 years later, no one has a product that has such certification. It doesn’t sound very safe when you think about it, and having your wits about you in an emergency (most likely during takeoff or landing) seems pretty essential.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Indeed Former BA.

    I remember the PAL ads placed at the time. And those PAL flights from Manila to Europe would make at leasr several en route stopovers.

    As an aside I remember sampling fifth-freedom with PAL FRA-LGW around 1981 when it sold discounted o/w fares in economy class of around £30 !


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Interesting to know what 5th freedom rights that they currenttly have given that they are still a large robust airline


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Interesting to know what 5th freedom rights that they currenttly have given that they are still a large robust airline

    Here in Europe PAL is but a shadow of its former self.

    When it restarted European flights it operated non-stop to LHR only.

    Here in Europe there is practically no publicity for PAL (outside I suppose its local community). So I have no information of any fifth-freedom flights it operates within Asia-Pacific.

    I believe its London service has been suspended.

    This tweet from London Air Travel (who reports LHR slot trading) reveals PAL has leased its slots to BA for summer 2022.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Gone but perhaps not for ever
    ‘Asked whether PAL would continue its London route in the wake of the ongoing conflict in Europe, its spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told the BusinessMirror, “The cancellation of a PAL flight to London last March 1 was a precautionary move in view of the ongoing situation [beween Ukraine and Russia]. While all other flights to Heathrow up to March 29 are proceeding as published, we are closely monitoring the situation’….. From business mirror


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    The PAL spokesperson did not refer to the time before PAL obtained Russian overflying rights. It obtained these at a later date.

    Maybe a convenient excuse for not serving London.

    When PAL restarted its London (non-stop) service in 2013 it did not have Russian overflying rights and so it operated over a long and slow route.

    PAL’s long and slow route to Europe

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