Thomas Cook is offering those flying to long haul destinations a ‘sleeper seat’ – a row of three singles over which a mattress is laid after take-off. Pic: Thomas Cook

The luxury of lying down for a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight has long been limited to those who can afford expensive business class seats.

But now the budget airline Thomas Cook is offering economy passengers a similar experience.

Those flying to destinations including New York and San Francisco can reserve a ‘sleeper seat’ – a row of three singles over which a mattress is laid after take-off – from £200 (R3800) one way.

They will also get a headrest, pillow, blanket and ‘amenity kit’ including toothbrush and toothpaste. The row of seats is around 250 cm long and just over 60 cm wide, so most adults will have to curl up for comfort. But it is undoubtedly cheaper than a business class ticket or three economy seats.

A return economy flight from Manchester to New York costs £359 (R6 800). Adding a sleeper seat to both journeys at £200 each pushes the price up to £759 (R14 500). The cheapest business class ticket found yesterday for the same journey was £4,460  (R8 500) with Virgin Atlantic.

Only four mattresses are available on each flight and customers can book up to 48 hours in advance.

© Daily Mail