We have partnered with Air New Zealand for over a decade to create a wide range of customer-centric experiences from brands to products, services, spaces and events that have inspired their people and customers and enabled the airline to stand out globally.

Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand

Our mission to build a totally design-led approach meant it was crucial that we developed a holistic inflight future-cabin design strategy that would inspire and inform all aspects of the future aircraft cabin design programme. From brand strategy and design to design capability development, seat, environmental and service design through to digital experiences and activations. 

It was vital that the design philosophy became the driver for both form and function, rationale and emotional aspects of the experience while expressing the brand attributes that are unique to Air New Zealand.

As part of the exploring inflight digital innovation, we with Magic Leap and Framestore to create and deliver a mixed-reality travel game that we used to test the feasibility of an inflight mixed-reality application. The experience resulted in a pop-up activation the airline took used in markets globally.

We worked onsite every week within an integrated engagement model with the Air New Zealand program team on all aspects of the program from strategy, research, design, prototyping, strategic storytelling to business case development.

We built early prototypes, simulated experiences and tested with customers to extract early insights. An integrated design, build, test and learn cadence we led throughout the first three informative years of the program.

To ensure alignment between the future cabin experience and brand, we worked with the brand marketing group to explore and eventually land on a future-focused brand strategy, narrative and roadmap that would strongly influence the personality of the cabin interiors. A design expression and story that could be used throughout the entire plane, yet strong enough to differentiate each cabin class. A story that expressed our national identity at the same time as conveying a progressive airline and culture.

Through both customer research, exemplar analysis and engaging with experts, we highlighted the relevance of a good night’s sleep in overnight routes and learnt more deeply about the factors needed to deliver that to the customer. The need for more space and comfort to enable greater productivity, a greater sense of ownership, privacy and control of both the seat and space.

Air New Zealand

We used the insights and led numerous design sprints with cross-functional internal and external teams across seat design, digital, spatial and even food and beverage design.

As the airline was building internal CX design capability at that time, we worked closely with the CX leadership and used the project to teach and coach the team on user research, design strategy, storytelling, service design and proposition development.

As a result, the airline has generated enormous global attention due to Skynest – one of the key innovations we co-created within the program. The new brand strategy and identity system has been rolling out across the airline and we look forward to seeing the cabin when its delivered late 2024.

Years in development
hours research and design

To ensure the airline brand stayed relevant to both the business strategy and the changing culture within New Zealand, ThoughtFull led a brand reset from strategy through to narrative and visual expression. Delivered as a digital brand platform that all airline staff and partners could access and use.


FastCompany Innovation By Design (USA)
RedDot Awards (GER)
DesignWeekAwards (UK)
CrystalCabin Awards (GER)
IDEAAwards (USA)
BestAwards (NZ)

Creative Partners

Formway Design
Vision Thing