If you hate long haul flights, Skycouches might be the economy fix for you

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMay 01, 2023 | 15:35

If you hate long haul flights, Skycouches might be the economy fix for you

Stretch out your legs on these couch-like economy seats. Photo: Air New Zealand

It's a couch. It's an economy seat. It's a sky couch. 

Does flying on long-haul flights in the economy make you squirm in discomfort even before you board the plane? Being stuck for 10 hours or more in a cramped seat with strangers next to you and no space to wiggle your toes can be a dreaded experience. But there's a new trend that some airlines have caught on, to make flying economy in long-haul flights a little comfortable. 


Flying a little comfortably won't have to cost the fare of business class or first class. Because these airlines have come up with novel ways to make it as if you are lounging on your couch on a flight, all for a little bit of additional economy fare. 

It's called the Skycouch! 

What's a Skycouch?

  • Some airlines, notably Air New Zealand, have come up with a novel seat booking option to offer economy flyers more comfort. 
  • A Skycouch is made of three seats of a row in the economy section, which is turned into a private bed space, complete with bedding and pillows. 
  • On Air New Zealand, these seats are extended, covering the leg space area; allowing passengers to enjoy the entire width of the row. 
  • This allows passengers to stretch out their legs and also makes it easy to travel for families with children.

There's also a new concept called Skynest, pioneered by Air New Zealand, which offers bunk beds in economy, just like those on sleeper trains. However, details about Skynest are yet to be revealed and it is unknown whether passengers will be able to use them during taxi, take-off, and landing. 

Such seating options are in fact healthier for long-haul flights, since being able to elevate the feet can reduce the risk of getting blood clots. 


There are various options offered by different airlines. While some airlines will offer the three-seat row to you with bedding and pillows, others offer additional seats and multiple row selection. 

Which airlines are offering Skycouch-like seating? 

  • Air New Zealand started this option way back in 2018 for their Auckland to New York or other similar long-haul destinations, which are over 10 hours long. These seats can be directly booked online. It needs to be noted that not all seats in the economy can be converted into Skycouch. 
  • Lufthansa offers Sleeper's Row on some long-haul flights. However, unlike Air New Zealand, Lufthansa only throws in extra bedding on a row without extending the seat. Passengers can only book the service at the check-in counter or the gate before departure. 
Lufthansa's sleeper row. Photo: Lufthansa
  • Vietnam Airlines has Sky Sofa on select flights between Europe and Ho Chi Minh City. 
  • Taiwan's China Airlines had introduced the Family Couch, but it was later suspended due to low demand. Similar to Air New Zealand, some seats on a single row on China Airlines could be extended into a bed using the footrest. 
  • Other airlines like Azul Brazilian Airlines, Khazakhstan's Air Astana, France's Air Austral, and Japan's All Nippon Airways have similar arrangements for economy passengers. 
  • Some airlines like Australia Qantas, Dubai-based Emirates, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, and Fiji Airways started offering neighbour-free seats during and post the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these options can be availed only at the check-in counter and then again, aren't guaranteed. 

What about the fare? 

Usually, the economy Skycouch is supposed to be cheaper than Business or First Class fare seats. It may even be less than the full price of the extra seats you may be getting. However, there are times often on international long-haul flights when economy and business class seats are almost the same or the difference isn't a lot. So, while booking your seats, it is best to check all options before proceeding. 

Also, economy Skycouch seats don't come with the comforts of a Business class or a First class seat like priority food, beverages, etc. 

There are Internet gurus that also keep giving advice on flight hacks and how to ensure you get the entire row to yourself for the economy fare. TikToker NDAInternet went viral for suggesting booking two refundable seats next to your seat and then cancelling those tickets 45 minutes before departure to ensure you get the row to yourself along with the refund for those extra seats. 

However, airlines prohibit passengers from holding more than one ticket in their name on the same flight and same route and may even deny refund or boarding. So, before you try out these hacks, ensure you check all the rules. 

As for Indian airlines, so far none of the major airlines have made any announcement of services like economy Skycouch, be it for domestic flights or international flights. 

Last updated: May 01, 2023 | 15:35
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