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Airline trials lie-flat economy seats

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Airbus A380 seconds before landing in Heathrow airport from Abu Dhabi
Image: Getty

Long haul is many things: an indisputable privilege but also a very long time to spend sitting up straight.

However, major German airline Lufthansa plans to shake up how we travel, trialling lie-flat economy seats.

The Sleeper’s Row concept means passengers in economy can pay an extra US$260 at the airport to upgrade from one seat to the entire three- or four-seat row.

It’s currently trialling the plan on Frankfurt, Germany to São Paulo, Brazil flights until mid-December.

Image: Lufthansa
Image: Lufthansa

Travellers receive a pillow, seat topper and a blanket.

Lufthansa’s plan is similar to Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycoach which it launched in 2011. The Skycoach includes a set extension that makes the product suitable for families with small children.

Air New Zealand is also considering launching an “Economy Skynest” which features six full length lie-flat sleep pods.

"We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on long-haul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go," said Nikki Goodman, general manager of Air New Zealand's Customer Experience.

The innovations come as the travel industry reckons with the Covid-19 virus and the associated health concerns.

Designer Jeffrey O’Neill believes his Zephyr seat could be part of the solution. His design features two levels of seats which allow travellers to stretch out.

Image: Zephyr
Image: Zephyr

Zephyr describes itself as introducing lie-flat and socially distanced travel seats.

“Our design allows passengers the gift of multi-functional usage - to lie completely flat, lounge or sit upright with their legs fully extended.”

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