Qantas trials neighbor-free seating on some international flights, including 7 US routes

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Soon enough, you may be able to reserve some extra space on your next Qantas flight — even in economy.

The Australian carrier is experimenting with the concept of neighbor-free seating on 19 international flights, allowing customers flying economy to keep the seat next to them free.

Neighbor-free seating starts at $45 each way between Australia and New Zealand, $100 each way between Australia and Singapore, and $225 each way between Australia and the U.S.

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For flights not at full capacity, Qantas will email customers 48 hours before to give them the option to select a neighbor-free seat. However, such seating is not guaranteed until departure, and customers will receive a refund if the seat is instead sold.

Passengers who bought seats with extra legroom, requested an upgrade or are traveling with an infant or unaccompanied minor are not eligible for the program. Group bookings also do not qualify for neighbor-free seating.

The novel seating concept started with Qantas’ domestic flights, but the Australian carrier decided to trial the seating option for international flights after seeing success with its domestic network.

“The data shows it’s most popular with customers on our longer flights between the east and west coasts, so rolling it out to our international flights makes a lot of sense,” Catriona Larritt, Qantas’ chief customer and digital officer, said in a statement.

Larritt said that given the complexities that come with international bookings, Qantas is trialing the neighbor-free seating concept on select international flights before expanding the program in the coming months.

Here is a list of routes that will include neighbor-free seating for economy passengers:

  • Dallas-Melbourne, Australia
  • Dallas-Sydney
  • Honolulu-Sydney
  • Los Angeles-Brisbane, Australia
  • Los Angeles-Melbourne
  • Los Angeles-Sydney
  • San Francisco-Sydney
  • Brisbane-Auckland
  • Brisbane-Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Brisbane-Singapore
  • Brisbane-Wellington, New Zealand (available from Oct. 29)
  • Melbourne-Auckland
  • Melbourne-Christchurch
  • Melbourne-Singapore
  • Melbourne-Wellington
  • Perth, Australia-Singapore
  • Sydney-Auckland
  • Sydney-Christchurch
  • Sydney-Wellington

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