The quest to get a good night's sleep when flying long-distance is a subject that never fails to get people fired up.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the experience my husband and I had using Air New Zealand's Skycouch on the return leg of our US honeymoon.

Though we didn't find it enabled us to sleep all that comfortably side-by-side due to the fact we were hemmed in by reclining seats, we came to a compromise where one of us slept with feet on the lap of the other (the non-sleeper reading or watching movies).

By alternating every few hours during the flight, we found we both got a decent amount of rest.


Feedback to that column suggests others who have tried the Skycouch had similar experiences.

Dave wrote that he agreed the innovation's effectiveness was "severely compromised by seats in the row in front reclining, which effectively cuts down the available space considerably.

"Why Air NZ either does not prevent the reclining of rows in front of the Skycouch row, or limit it, is beyond me."

Other respondents took issue with the cost of the Skycouch (we paid $700 in addition to our two economy-class fares, though the price can vary).

"You're simply confirming what I managed to work out six months ago by looking at Air New Zealand's photos," wrote one. "Immediately you notice that the models always have their knees and/or necks bent on an uncomfortable angle, and that the seats in front are never reclined ... there's no way I'd fork out 700 bucks for this."

A parent travelling with a child thought the extra expense was justified and described the Skycouch as an "amazing travel innovation for families".

"I sat on the aisle and put the footrests up on the two seats closest to the window; the area became the perfect playpen with no chance of escape. When it was time to sleep the little one had plenty of room. Worth every penny even just for the lack of tears, tantrums (from both my child and other passengers)."

Several readers suggested that sedatives of an alcoholic or prescriptive nature were more effective for getting to sleep.

"Sounds like a waste of money," wrote one reader from Whangarei, "would rather spend that on getting boozed and that way you wouldn't notice the uncomfortableness of the flight or the fact that you need to acquire a husband of a less lofty height."

An interesting solution perhaps, but I'd rather not arrive dehydrated at my destination; and as for my husband, I like him just the way he is.

Eveline Harvey is travel editor for