Photo: Ronald Sarayudej via Flickr
Flying internationally for work can be exhausting— all you want to do in between meetings, conferences, lunches and dinners is relax in your own space.
Etihad Airways might have a solution, plucked directly from every airline traveler’s dream.
The “Neighbor-Free Seat” option allows passengers in Economy Class to reportedly try and get up to three empty seats next to their own — fully paid, of course — based on the layout of the cabin and how many seats are available. The price will vary based on how many seats are open on the flight, the airline told Ladders.
And no need to wait: Allix Wright, the company’s North American spokesperson, told Ladders that this option is “currently available.”
How to score a “Neighbor-Free Seat”
The site says when passengers book online, they can “bid” for this perk. Those who score this seating will be notified before takeoff.
Wright told Ladders that the company isn’t able to comment on how much the service costs passengers, but that the price depends on the number of seats that can be bid upon, adding that “the system has a default minimum and maximum bid amount set. It will not accept an offer lower than the minimum amount or higher than the maximum amount.”
Etihad passengers with “a confirmed ticket document number” beginning in 607, and who don’t have certain things, including “group bookings,” “tickets already upgraded using miles” and more, are reportedly eligible for the service, depending on how many seats are free, among other conditions.
But how do you send a loud and clear message to other passengers that those seats next to you may be empty, but they’re taken? Wright told Ladders that the airline will equip those seats with “specially marked” headrests.
Other ways to relax on your flight
Etihad announced a series of specific changes beginning on July 3rd, including that while “complimentary chauffeur service” will remain in place at its “hub” in Abu Dhabi, passengers will have to pay “at specially negotiated rates” in every other location.
But guests currently have the option to stay in The Residence on Etihad’s Airbus A380 planes- each suite has a living room with a couch and tables, a bedroom with a double bed, and a shower room, and guests can reportedly take advantage of a VIP Travel Concierge service. These are a few amenities passengers have with this option.
Travelers at The Residence will keep getting chauffeured for free where the planes fly, specifically, Abu Dhabi, New York, Sydney, London and Paris.
Wright also pointed out different features Etihad provides, including a service called Flying Nannies. They help parents out by tending to kids on the flight in a certain ways, like getting them ready to sleep and “keeping them entertained,” and have recreational options.
Etihad offers a variety of relaxation options —but for business passengers, having a “Neighbor-Free Seat” could be one way to rejuvenate. And it’s a good option until airlines add more legroom.