On my last trip to Europe I flew Air New Zealand from LA into London. It was my first time using the airline, but some initial apprehension about the potential for no space or bad food quickly turned to delight when I discovered my coach seat turned into a bed:


Basically, the seats on this plane included a piece that swung up from below — kind of like a foot rest — until it was parallel with the rest of the seat. That piece filled in the gap between the chairs in the next row, which meant the entire thing was basically a bed.


It helped that I ended up having the entire row to myself, though this system would also have worked if I had been traveling with family. Here’s the instructional card that showed possible configurations:


The flight attendants also supplied me with a “cuddle belt” that plugged into the normal seat belt and allowed me to be buckled in while laying down.


I’m too tall to completely stretch out when laying across three seats, but even so this bed set up made the flight probably my most comfortable experience ever in coach. I slept for a good portion of the trip, and enjoyed laying down and watching movies the rest of the time.

It’d be tough to guarantee that you’d get this option without buying all three seats in a row, but if you happen to be that lucky person it’s a great experience. And even if you don’t end up with the bed, Air New Zealand turned out to be a great airline; the service was fantastic and the food was quite a bit better than what I’ve had on other trans-Atlantic flights. The take away, then, is that based on this experience I’d recommend trying Air New Zealand.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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