The story behind Air New Zealand’s new seats (with video)

Typically when an airline makes an advancement in their seat technology, a press release is sent out along with a few pictures. This week, Air New Zealand has given us a behind the scenes look at what went into their latest product.

They started the process using four design firms and narrowed their options down to a handful of layouts.

It was fascinating to see the research that went into the effort and sneak a peak at some of the abandoned layouts at their “Hangar 9” facility in Auckland where the prototype work took place.

When Gadling heard mumblings of these game-changing designs, we dropped everything to see for ourselves if Air New Zealand could match the early hype generated by the rumors. We were certainly impressed, and judging from the response of the media that attended the event, it seems they’ve set a new standard in airline innovation.
There’s a chance that other airlines who ordered the 787 have come up with similarly innovative designs that we just haven’t seen yet. But because Air New Zealand ordered 777-300s and 787s at the same time, we’re now seeing a tip of their hand as the 777s are approaching their November in-service date.

CEO Rob Fyfe and Project Manager Ed Sims briefed the crowds on Tuesdays event in Auckland, and demonstrated what makes the Skycouch economy seats so remarkable, and also showed us one of the designs that was rejected after nearly making the cut.

To see our more about the Skycoach seats, check out the coverage we did on Monday.