On a few occasions I have been lucky enough to be travelling on a lightly loaded flight and managed to obtain three joining economy seats to myself. With the arm rests flipped up I was able to get a good sleep, even though the seats cushions where not specifically designed for this lying position. A few blankets helped to improve the comfort in the area under the arm rests.
After the first time this happened I worked out purchasing three discounted economy seats was considerably cheaper than buying one business class seat. This was many years ago, not during a recession, so discounted business class seats were not so easily available. Although very tempted, I have never tried to make a booking for three economy as I feared there could be problems at check-in and boarding. Ensuring the airline would honour the second and third seat when there is only one person travelling. Would their computer system think the second and third seats are for a no show passengers and if the flight was over booked allocate them to other people? Or just as bad not keep the three seats reserved next to each other?
It is great to see ANZ expand on this concept. However, any airline which could solve the concerns I have previously mentioned and honour three seat seats together for a single traveller, would gain my interest. Even with the current seat and without a continuous cushion. Obviously, this would only work where the seat arm rests flip up. i.e. Not in BA World Traveller plus which has fixed arm rests.
1) If I bought three seats and actually flew then could I claim for triple miles and tier points. Probably not.
2) I would probably be entitled to pay less UK passenger departure tax too. I doubt the computers could cope with that either.