Virgin Australia has launched a new initiative to entice customers to book middle seats on its aircraft.
While many of us would prefer aisle or window seats, particularly on long journeys, the Australian carrier is aiming to change peoples’ minds with this new initiative.
The airline’s ‘Middle Seat Lottery’ gives those sat in middle seats on Virgin Australia-operated domestic flights the chance to win one of 26 prizes, which add up to a value of more than US$230,000.
The lottery will run until April 23, 2023, with a winner randomly selected every week and notified by email.
- Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer Status along with one million points
- A cruise in the Caribbean with Virgin Voyages, including return premium economy flights to the US with United Airlines
- A helicopter pub crawl, including return flights to Darwin
- A Cairns adventure package including accommodation, return flights, and a range of adventures such as bungy jumping, giant swinging, river rafting or tubing in the great Barron River
Note that customers must be Velocity Frequent Flyer members aged 18 years or older to be eligible – the loyalty programme is free to join.
To enter the competition, customers should tap the Middle Seat Lottery tile in the Virgin Australia app, find their flight and enter details within 48 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure time.
This applies to both those who book middle seats or are assigned them during check-in.
To mark the launch Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka surprised each guest in a middle seat on flight VA219 from Melbourne to Adelaide on Monday with a Virgin Voyages sailing trip valued at up to USD5,999.
Each aisle and window seat passenger also received 10,000 Velocity points as a consolation.
The initiative has also been accompanied by a sale on airfares.
Virgin Australia conducted a research poll in May 2022 on its social media channels, with over 7,5000 respondents voting in favour of their preferred seat. The poll found that 67 per cent voted in favour of an aisle seat; 34 per cent for window; and just 0.6 per cent for a middle seat.
It follows the airline’s 24-month transformation, which has seen it return to profit this financial year. The carrier has increased its fleet size by over 60 per cent, hired over 2,000 new staff, launched partnerships with airlines such as Qatar Airways, refreshed its catering offering and committed to target net zero emissions by 2050 among other measures.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka commented:
“Virgin Australia is an airline that’s doing things differently and we are having a lot of fun coming up with exciting new innovations to make every part of the travel experience more wonderful.
“This year alone we have launched new partnerships with Betty’s Burgers, Boost Juice, Myer and P.E Nation along with Qatar Airways and United Airlines and now we’re giving our loyal guests the opportunity to win from a prize pool valued at over $230,000 for simply sitting in a middle seat.
“Confidence in our business strength and operation is at an all-time high. We have a strong balance sheet, some of the best management in the industry working on our ongoing business transformation and we’re well advanced in returning to profitability this financial year.
“We’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg in what’s possible and there’s so much energy right across Virgin Australia to make sure we are doing our best to leave a positive difference every time our guests fly with us.
“Virgin Australia was born from innovation and this is just another chapter in our story.”
Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson added:
“I’m delighted to see Virgin Australia going from strength to strength while reinventing what it means to be a traveller 22 years after we started this airline with the mission to do things differently.
“The passion to make this airline truly wonderful is infectious. It’s fantastic to see the collaboration between Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages to provide such brilliant prizes for the Middle Seat Lottery.
“Wonderful customer service is at the forefront of every Virgin business around the world and I can’t wait to see what Virgin Australia has in store for their loyal customers next.”