You may have seen Air Astana stealing a few column inches in the news recently, due to its introduction of the ‘Air Astana Economy Sleeper’ service on their 757s. The new seat allows passengers to stretch out and enjoy three seats to themselves on selected international flights. The new product started on flights between Astana and London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris.
Instead of investing in a premium economy seat concept, Air Astana’s Economy Sleeper passengers will be situated in a more private partitioned section in the front of the economy class cabin. When the time comes to sleep, the row of seats is transformed with a mattress layer and a “luxurious duvet and pillow set”, ensuring a sound night’s sleep. Guests will also enjoy KC-TV, Air Astana’s personal inflight entertainment iPad, featuring the latest movies and an extensive back catalog of music and games, which will help passengers who whilst lying down won’t be able to see the seat back screens.
Now this may all sound appealing however, these seats don’t come cheap. From London, Economy Sleeper Class costs £1,489 for the three seats, compared to £897 per seat for full fare economy and £3,618 for a seat in full fare Business Class.
Treating three economy seats as a bed isn’t exactly a new science, lucky travellers have taken advantage of empty seats on quieter flights for decades. However, Air New Zealand stepped up the ‘economy bed’ science to a new level roughly 5 years ago. Using leg rests that extend up, the seat expands in width and turns into a mini-double bed, which was quickly dubbed “cuddle class” as it was just large enough for two to sleep closely together.
The difference between Air New Zealand’s seats (which was also adopted recently by China Airlines) and Air Astana’s is the lack of the leg rest which means that traveller has a lot less bed width to support them. Combining this with the fact that 3 x 18″ seats (plus a couple of extra inches for the arm rests) gives a little over 4.5 feet for an economy passenger to stretch out into.
Most passengers, who measure more than 5 feet will have to sleep in a foetal position (as shown above) to avoid their feet being knocked by cabin crew or other passengers frequenting the aisle. The comfort of the foetal position will be even more noticeable due to the lack of an extendable leg rest and support of the passengers knees.
We did a comparison on prices between Paris and Astana 22nd April and returning 29th April. The economy sleeper with Astana costs £1282 meanwhile, Turkish Airlines (which admittedly adds a further 2-3 hours journey time) is offering flat business class comfort, lounges and perks at just £240 extra.
We love the fact that Air Astana are trying to offer greater creature comforts, and don’t get us wrong, this new economy sleeper service is still a great product, offering lounge access, increased check-in baggage, priority check-in, amenity kits and a fully changeable and refundable ticket (and direct flights to Astana). We just suggest that if you are looking for business class comfort at a lower price, it can sometimes be more beneficial to shop around.