The days of armrest struggles during a flight are gone now for passengers of this airline. The customers can enjoy the service at a decent fee.
Remember being tired from work, packing and running errands all day to catch that early morning flight? Did you then wonder how the journey could’ve been more bearable if the seat next to you was empty so you didn’t have to struggle for the armrest and could spread your legs to ease the cramps? Well, this dream has now turned into a reality as Australian airline Qantas is now offering its passengers the option to book their neighboring seats for a fee. They debuted this innovative 'neighbor-free' seat idea for customers to "enjoy extra space and comfort when traveling in Economy" in September as a trial on domestic flights and the positive response prompted the airlines to extend the option to its international routes.
According to Travel + Leisure, Qantas is now offering the neighbor-free seat program to 19 international travel routes. In the US, the comfort-driven initiative will be offered on flights between Dallas and Melbourne, Dallas and Sydney, Honolulu and Sydney, Los Angeles and Brisbane, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Los Angeles and Sydney and San Francisco and Sydney.
Chief customer and digital officer of Qantas Airlines, Catriona Larritt, shared, “We’ve had a really positive reaction from customers who’ve opted to travel Neighbor Free on our domestic network and customers have told us they want the option on our international flights too.” She further shared that she is hopeful that their customers will “value being able to secure some extra space.” To avail the comfort of an empty seat next to yours on your next Qantas flight, you’ll have to shell out at least $143 which is refundable in case the flight is canceled or the empty seat is sold. Since the neighbor-free seat option is available on select flights and that too in case they are not fully booked, the prices will vary depending on the flight route. The neighbor-free seat option is not valid for passengers who have opted for options like extra legroom, an upgrade, infant travel or group bookings.
According to the airline’s website, the neighbor-free seat option is only confirmed and guaranteed before take-off. In case the seat is a requirement for any security, safety or operational reasons, then the passenger will be refunded. The airline has also specified that the neighbor-free seat shall remain entirely vacant for the duration of the flight, cannot be used for any carry-on baggage or musical instruments, is not eligible for an extra meal and cannot be used for infant seating. To get going with your ‘neighbor-free’ seat booking, if your flight route is eligible, you’ll receive an email 48 hours prior to departure to book the extra seat. You have up to 2 hours before departure time of your international flight to book your standard and neighbor-free seat. Upon confirmation, both seats will appear on your boarding pass.
Neighbor-free seats are not guaranteed till departure owing to the probability of the flight being fully booked. In such cases, you will be refunded the amount to your original mode of payment in two weeks. Air travel is no longer a niche lifestyle choice and travelers are flying in and out more often than before. The option to book an extra seat on a long flight sounds delightful, for sure.