Passengers travelling on select China Southern flights departing Guangzhou can now buy extra empty economy class seats at a discount, guaranteeing they won’t be seated next to another traveller.

The new “One Passenger More Seats” service allows travellers to purchase up to three extra seats for between RMB250 (US$37.2) to RMB1,700 (US$253) based on the length of the flight, the airline recently announced on its official WeChat page.

These rates are notably discounted from the full-fare price of an economy class seat. The airline cites its Guangzhou-New York (CZ399) flight as an example, where a full-fare economy class ticket typically costs RMB4,480 (US$667).

Rather than paying for extra seats up front, passengers can try their luck and pay RMB650 (US$97) for one extra empty seat, RMB1,200 (US$179) for two extra seats or RMB1,700 (US$253) for three additional seats, once check-in has completed.

We say try their luck, as these additional empty seats can only be purchased at the airport check-in counter and are only available once all passengers have completed the check-in process. Travellers who know they will need an empty seat beside them likely would be better off booking one in advance at full price to guarantee they get it.

Below are the prices for one, two or three extra empty seats depending on the flight sector chosen:

Sector Price
+1 Seat +2 Seats +3 Seats
International Long-haul (Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, Africa) RMB650/US$97 RMB1,200/US$179 RMB1,700/US$253
International Short-haul and Regional above 4 hours RMB350/US$52 RMB650/US$97 RMB900/US$134
International Short-haul and Regional under 4 hours RMB250/US$37 RMB450/US$67 RMB650/US$97

At the moment, only passengers departing Guangzhou are able to make use of the service, though the airline plans to expand this to its flights leaving Beijing and Shanghai in future.