Traveling alone is tricky enough, but add an infant or a toddler into the mix and things just got infinitely more difficult. But now, one airline is about to make it easier — and much more comfortable for parents flying with young children.
Air New Zealand has upgraded its already comfy Skycouch seating option to be even more suitable for families.
The Skycouch first launched back in 201o, and if you’re unfamiliar with this way to fly comfortably, here’s how it works: Select rows on certain Air New Zealand flights can be purchased for one traveller, a couple or a family. Once you’ve booked a Skycouch seat, you’ll get an entire row of three seats all to yourself, perfect for lying down or giving toddlers a little more space to move around and play.
The seats in Skycouch rows have an additional footrest that can be opened to create a “couch” across the three seats. You also get pillows and blankets to make your space extra cozy.
In the video below, moving your cursor will allow you to get a virtual tour of the Skycouch and its placement in the economy class:
This already sounds pretty amazing, so now you’re likely wondering —what’s the upgrade? Previously, children were required to be seated in a guardian’s lap when the seatbelt sign was turned on, but now, the Skycouch row comes with an infant harness and belt, which allows children to remain lying down for the duration of the flight, according to a press release.
The Cuddle Belt, which allows for one adult to lie down next to a child now also allows room for two children to lie side by side, providing more ease for families with two children. An “infant pod,” or in-flight bassinet will also be available with this new upgrade.
According to the airline, parents can expect to see these upgrades available on flights later this year.
The airline added the new offerings after receiving feedback and rethinking their strategy with these seats, which were originally intended for couples traveling together.
“The Skycouch has proven to be a real game changer in the Economy cabin. While we initially marketed it to couples, we quickly found the product suited parents with young families especially well. Parents can relax while their children are able to have their own space and flat area to play without interrupting other passengers,” Air News Zealand executive Anita Hawthorne said in a press release. “Through this process, we’ve spoken to many customers who have travelled on the Skycouch and their feedback has helped to inform the updates and refinements we’re introducing this year.”
One family who tried out the Skycouch seating reviewed the experience, and really seemed to enjoy it:
One of the only issues they ran into was with the seatbelts and configuring the space for sleeping with multiple children, so the upgrades Air New Zealand has planned should help out with that.
Other major airlines aren’t completely without accommodations for families. For example, American Airlines, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and others offer in-flight bassinets for infants, which can help make parents’ lives a little easier.
But if having a Skycouch option became more common, that would be amazing. Right now, China Airlines and Air Astana are the only other companies to offer this feature, according to Business Insider.
So, airlines — your move.