Passengers can pay a fee, starting at $143, to ensure that the seat next to them remains empty for the duration of their flight
Will passengers pay more to ensure the seat next to them is empty on a long flight? The answer is yes, according to Qantas.
The Australia-based airline is now offering a "neighbor free" seating option on its U.S. flights.
Passengers can pay a fee, starting at $143, to ensure that the seat next to them remains empty for the duration of their flight, according to Travel + Leisure, For now, the program is being offered on flights heading from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to these U.S. cities: Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Qantas initially launched the program in September for flights within Australia before expanding it to select international destinations. Their official website states that the new seating option is meant for passengers who wish to “enjoy extra space and comfort” in Economy class.
How does it work?
If a flight is eligible for the program, passengers will receive an email 48 hours before departure to book the extra space. Both the standard and neighbor free seat can then be selected and paid for up to two hours before takeoff for international flights. Once confirmed, both seats will appear on a passenger’s boarding pass.
Neighbor-free seating prices will vary depending on the flight and passengers are only allowed to book one additional seat, the website states.
Presumably, the option will be offered for flights that are far from fully booked.
How can you use a neighbor-free seat?
Qantas further clarifies that the bonus seat is meant to remain empty during the entire flight and cannot be used to store carry-on bags. It also doesn’t include any extra meal allowances.
In the event that a flight is canceled, passengers will receive a refund for their neighbor-free seat and they’ll have to rebook on their rescheduled flight if it’s eligible.
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The airline also specifies that a neighbor free seat is not 100% guaranteed until departure as “seats may need to be used for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft.” Passengers will again be refunded in the case their reserved seat needs to be filled.
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