Finally a perk economy passengers want: ‘Neighbor-free’ seating

The dream.
The dream.
Image: Reuters/Edgar Su
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One of the most annoying things a fellow airline passenger can do is sit down next to us. Now Etihad Airways is selling a solution.

Starting July 3, passengers will be able to bid on up to three “neighbor-free” seats when flying the Abu Dhabi-based carrier. Bids are collected at the time of booking and the airline will advise passengers whether they’ve made the winning offer roughly 30 hours before departure. It wasn’t immediately clear the price at which bidding will start.

Airlines already allow economy-class passengers to bid on first-class cabins. And while shelling out money for extra seats in coach may not seem like the savviest purchase, it’s still cheaper than other Etihad cabins. For $25,000 passengers on board the airline’s Airbus A380 can fly in a three-room apartment called the Residence. (Of course, with seating for 500, Airbus A380 passengers can also sometimes find themselves in an empty row free of charge.)

How will Etihad keep roaming passengers from claiming neighbor-free seats? According to CNN, they’ll have special headrests.