More room in the sky: Air New Zealand will introduce extra legroom economy seats

Air New Zealand is adding a roomier option in economy class on flights between Auckland and Los Angeles.

The new “economy stretch” seats will have an extra three inches of legroom compared to standard economy seats and are being outfitted on the airline’s Boeing 777 fleet first.

“Customers have told us they want more room to relax, and at a competitive price. economy stretch answers this challenge, with some luxury for the legs all while enjoying our renowned in-flight service, Kiwi cuisine and wine, and seat-back entertainment,” Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, said in a statement. “The introduction of economy stretch means we are providing more choice for customers at an economy price point that will meet the needs of families, solo travelers, as well as those just looking for that little bit extra of extra comfort.”

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According to Air New Zealand, economy stretch seats are laid out with 35 inches of pitch and will cost 175 New Zealand dollars ($108.81) per flight.

Initially, planes will have 42 economy stretch seats, similar to many other airlines’ extra legroom options. The new configuration will enter passenger service on Feb. 27.

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Air New Zealand has made a name in the airline industry for innovative economy seat offerings. Since 2011, the airline has offered “SkyCouch” seating on many long-haul flights, allowing passengers to book a full section of economy seats for themselves, which can then be converted into a bed – what some people in the industry call poor man’s business class. 

Air New Zealand plans to introduce bunk beds called SkyNest next year. Economy passengers can reserve one of the sleeping pods for a portion of their flight for an extra fee. 

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter based in New York. You can reach him at