Infants will be able to remain lying down throughout the cruise phase of Air New Zealand long-haul flights due to enhancements to its economy Skycouch.

Young children were previously required to be seated on a guardian’s lap when the seatbelt sign was on.

The airline has developed the Skycouch concept by introducing a dedicated infant harness and belt.

The Skycouch Cuddle Belt, which was previously only certified to allow two adults or an adult and child travelling together to lie down side by side on the Skycouch, has also been updated to allow two children to use it.

A new infant pod also provides additional comfort and protection for the airline’s youngest Skycouch passengers.

The Skycouch is a row of three economy seats that convert into a flat surface and was first introduced in 2011.

Pending certification and regulatory approvals, the airline plans to make the modified Skycouch available progressively on Boeing 777 and 787-9 Dreamliners in the coming months.

The airline’s customer experience general manager Anita Hawthorne said: “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.

“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.”

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