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Qantas announces huge perk for economy passengers

The Australian airline trialled the initiative in September, but it is now being rolled out across more flights.

Passengers flying Qantas now have the option to snap up the neighbouring seat to allow for extra room — a perk that, until now, has only been available to top-tier frequent flyers.

The Australian airline launched a trial in September but has extended the program "following positive passenger feedback" across a wider range of domestic routes.

"Neighbour Free offers you the opportunity to reserve the seat next to you, so you can enjoy extra space and comfort when travelling in Economy," Qantas says of the initiative. But they don't come for free.

The extra seats will cost between $30 and $65, depending on the route, a Qantas spokesperson said. The trial was on six flights only but is now available across a wider range of flights.

A Qantas plane in the sky.
The 'Neighbour Free seat' offer will be available on selected Qantas flights. Source: Getty

What can the seat be used for?

Unfortunately, the seat cannot be used for children nor can musical instruments or extra carry-on bags be placed on them. It’s not available internationally or on some of its busiest domestic routes, including Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane, and Brisbane to Melbourne. A list of available routes and costs is below.

A Qantas spokesperson told Executive Traveller there are "plans to further expand the initiative to other domestic routes in the months ahead".

Qantas can cancel the spare seat at any time

What's more, the request can be withdrawn by the airline at any time right up until moments before you board. "The seat next to you cannot be guaranteed as Neighbour Free, as seats may need to be used for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft," the airline said.

"You can only make one Neighbour Free reservation for each segment of your booking, if eligible, regardless of the number of travelling passengers in your booking."

Other airlines with a similar option currently available include Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines.

Empty plane seats in Qantas economy.
The offer allows passengers to reserve the seat next to them, for a fee, to allow for extra room. Source: Getty

Which flights will be included:

  • Sydney-Gold Coast: $30

  • Adelaide-Melbourne: $30

  • Adelaide-Sydney: $45

  • Adelaide-Brisbane: $65

  • Adelaide-Darwin: $65

  • Adelaide-Perth: $65

  • Brisbane-Darwin: $65

  • Brisbane-Perth: $65

  • Darwin-Melbourne: $65

  • Darwin-Sydney: $65

  • Melbourne-Gold Coast: $65

  • Perth-Darwin: $65

  • Perth-Melbourne: $65

  • Perth-Sydney: $65

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