Qantas is allowing passengers to pay to keep the seat next to them empty, “for their personal comfort,” as part of a trial program called: “Neighbour free.”
Qantas is now giving passengers the chance to pay for something you used to have to cross your fingers and pray for: an empty seat next to you. The program is reportedly being trialled for the next six weeks on several domestic routes in Australia. Prices for ensuring no one sits next to you (on one side; you can’t book out a row of three) start from around $30.
Australian Frequent Flyer reports that the trial will initially unfurl on seven Australian domestic routes, including Sydney-Gold Coast.
The way it works is that passengers booked into Economy Class on eligible flights will be invited to give their neighbour the flick by email, around 48 hours before departure. The service is only to be offered on flights that aren’t chock full.
You are then able to accept the invitation up to an hour before the flight’s scheduled time, by hitting the link in the email and punching in your credit card details (you can’t use a flight credit or TravelPass).
You can only make one Neighbour Free reservation for each segment of your booking and Neighbour Free cannot be guaranteed as seats may need to be changed for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft, Qantas says.
According to Qantas, “Neighbour Free refers to the seat space only and cannot be used for infant seating or to place items such as carry-on baggage, or musical instruments.” Qantas also says that “Additional Qantas Points and Status Credits will not be earned on Neighbour Free reservations.”
Still: we’re very much fans of the new trial, and hope it ends up expanding.
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