For those of you who don't read the WSJ religiously, I'm pleased to flag the newest innovation in Economy Class Comfort for international flights: Sky Couch, from Air New Zealand. You can stow the arrmrests, curl up with your kid, your honey, or whomever is randomly assigned as your snuggle-buddy, and enjoy that long flight from Aukland to LA. From the WSJ (subscription required):
"Cuddle class" is an innovative seat design that has given coach passengers the first real opportunity to lie flat for sleep on long flights. To create the extra space, three seats in a row have fold-away armrests and a padded foot-rest panel that flips up and locks into place. Two passengers take up three seats and pay an average of half the cost of the third seat, typically an extra $500 to $800 for an overnight flight. The sky couch has limitations. To make it fit, Air New Zealand narrowed the aisles in the coach cabin. And since the couch is only about 4½-feet long, most people have to scrunch up to keep their feet from hanging into the aisle. In the middle of the night on a recent flight, it was impossible to walk through the coach cabin without bumping feet and legs hanging out of sky couches. And since it's still the cheap-ticket cabin, two people have to cuddle closely in only 32 to 33 inches of width for each row, including the seat.
Looks vaguelycomfy, huh? Especially with the bearskin rug (not included.) All they need is a pharmacy on board to dole out the Ambien and the coach flight might actually be bear-a-ble!
Photo from Eric the Epicure.