Economy Passengers Can Now Get Neighbor-free Seats, Lounge Access, and Chauffeur Services with Etihad
But you'll have to pay.
Etihad Airways is introducing a new option for economy passengers looking for more space.
The airline’s new “Neighbor-Free Seat” service lets passengers bid for up to three empty seats next to their own.
There will be a not-yet-specified minimum bidding price, which the airline will determine based on demand. However, Etihad says that customers can expect it to be affordable.
Here’s how it works: When buying their ticket, a passenger can bid on the extra seats, provided those seats are directly adjacent to theirs.
Once a customer makes a bid during their purchase process, they will receive a confirmation at least 32 hours before they fly, according to Etihad’s website. There’s no guarantee your bid will be accepted, but if it's extra leg room you seek, it's worth a shot.
In addition to giving passengers options for more space, the service could also bring in more revenue to the airline.
“With all the difficulties Etihad is facing with its equity partners, Etihad is looking at lessons from low-cost models to charge for extra services,” John Strickland, an airline analyst at JLS Consulting, told Bloomberg.
Etihad is also giving economy guests paid access to their global lounges for around $75 for lounges in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, and up to $250 at its Abu Dhabi hub.
Finally, Etihad will now start charging first and business class passengers for its once complimentary chauffeur service. Those flying in The Residence aboard A380s will still receive complimentary chauffeur services, which will now also be open to economy fliers.
— with Andrea Romano