Neighbour-free economy travel with Etihad

Back to Forum

This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  CathayLoyalist2 17 Jul 2018
at 16:25
.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    I received the following this morning

    We’ve written about the various options being introduced for long-haul travel in the latest issue

    Airlines: Economy a la carte

    However, I hadn’t come across this option before (or not in this format, in any case.)

    It’s done on a bid – presumably if the flight is full you have a neighbour whether you like it or not.

    “With our Neighbour-free seat concept, you can enjoy up to triple the space and comfort by bidding for one, two or three neighbouring seats, which will stay vacant for the duration of your journey.

    Whether you’re a small family in need of more space for the little ones, a business traveller who wants extra room to relax and work, or you’re travelling alone and looking to stretch your legs – simply ‘Place your bid’ in the box below, and wait to hear from us. Good luck!”

    To try it out you need to have booked your ticket – will be interesting to see how little (or how much) it costs to book free seats either side of you – it would take some courage to book the middle seat and then hope for a successful bid for the window and aisle on either side.

    Attachments:

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    … and of course, we we pointed out in our piece

    Airlines: Economy a la carte

    “For those of you reading this in premium economy or business class and thinking these developments won’t affect you, think again. Once airlines get us used to paying for “choice”, it will come into every class of cabin. If you could lower the price of your premium ticket by, say, not having the meal you always complain about, and instead have the option of choosing the meal you want, wouldn’t you be tempted? The technology is already there to do so, even when you are on-board.”


    openfly
    Participant

    British Airways have been offering neighbour-free seats for many years under the guise of “Comfort” seats, this is nothing new. I have used the facility several times. It has to be carried out by the Exec Club and the cost is the seat price less taxes and charges. On some domestics it can work out at just £5. For Golds and Silvers, it even works in the em exit rows, much to the chagrin of other passengers who try to move after the doors close! The empty comfort seat gets blocked out on the seating plan and with load control.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Just another ancillary fee dreamed up to squeeze us even more —- Disgraceful !!

    If Etihad and BA (cheers for the info openfly) truly valued their most loyal customers they’d create an algorithms that tried to seat tiered customers next to an open seat, or at the very least comply with their request for their favourite seat as per their FFF profile.

    Finding a sellable commodity where there once wasn’t seems to be the obsession of airlines all over the world !!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I fail to understand why passengers think they should get an empty seat without paying the lost revenue that the empty seat represents to the airline. I do understand that calculating that revenue is a complex matter but it can be done.

    If seats are empty anyway, that’s a different matter, and they can be given preferentially, but to lose revenue by blocking off seats is nonsensical.


    Inthesandpit
    Participant

    Interesting, one question if I may ask, say you are travelling Econimule in a window seat, you pay for the two adjacent seats and after doors closed some oik decides to move to the aisle seat you paid for, if said passenger then refuses to move because the seat is empty even after careful and patient explanation (like we all do ) will the crew be brave enough to validate your explanation, back you up and request nay insist the passenger takes their original seat which may now have been taken by someone else. I can see musical chairs and lots of anger.


    openfly
    Participant

    @canucklad The BA passenger loading system is programmed to leave seats next to a Gold empty until the seats are required at the end. I have friends in BA Load Control who confirm this. Mind you, if you upset the person on checkin a quick phone call to Flight Monitoring Unit can change that!! So if your are a Gold in economy on a full flight, there is every chance that you will have an empty seat beside you.


    openfly
    Participant

    @inthesandpit ….you can only book and pay for one Comfort seat. I am told that the CSD/CSM have a note on their iPad with the info. It is up to the crew to explain and remove a person who intrudes. I asked the Exec Club about this when I first booked it and they said that, if the seat was used, a report by the CSD/CSM would ensure a refund. It hasn’t happened to me.
    The Comfort seat was introduced years ago by BA to cope with extremely large passengers (not me!) and remove the chance of embarrassment. A sympathetic gesture.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    I do know that on easyJet if you’ve paid for a front seat either at time of booking or as an easyJet+ cardholder, they won’t normally allow plebs to intrude. However on a flight last year I had a most unpleasant, noisy, restless, smelly and very large ‘yoof’ next to me, whom they’d stuck in at the last minute because the flight was full. I complained to the CSM and she made a note and I got a £50 voucher. I’d rather have had the empty seat!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    stevescoots
    Participant

    @canucklad The BA passenger loading system is programmed to leave seats next to a Gold empty until the seats are required at the end. I have friends in BA Load Control who confirm this. Mind you, if you upset the person on checkin a quick phone call to Flight Monitoring Unit can change that!! So if your are a Gold in economy on a full flight, there is every chance that you will have an empty seat beside you.

    I agree with that, I think CX do the same as OW gold, often i will have empty seat next to me but rows behind will be full. Last time was on an AA internal flight I was in economy and every row was full except mine with just me and the one across the isle. the passemger across the ilse got moved to F and they freed up his row to others whilst mine was kept just to me


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    @canucklad The BA passenger loading system is programmed to leave seats next to a Gold empty until the seats are required at the end. I have friends in BA Load Control who confirm this. Mind you, if you upset the person on checkin a quick phone call to Flight Monitoring Unit can change that!! So if your are a Gold in economy on a full flight, there is every chance that you will have an empty seat beside you.

    I agree with that, I think CX do the same as OW gold, often i will have empty seat next to me but rows behind will be full. Last time was on an AA internal flight I was in economy and every row was full except mine with just me and the one across the isle. the passemger across the ilse got moved to F and they freed up his row to others whilst mine was kept just to me

    It is true and I’ve been beneficiary on more than a few occasions. On the other hand, it is not a published benefit with BA and is not to be assumed/expected, as it sometimes doesn’t happen.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    RHMAngel
    Participant

    I would love to see this in practice with air stewards mediating the entire flight. How often do you see on regular transport “anyone sitting there ?” (Clearly not, except a ghost) No ? What’s a PAX to say ? No all three seats are mine ?! Clear off …the classic put a bag or towel or jacket on empty seats …

    I’ve seen parents with infants move said kids into empty seats next to PAX with an attitude, but they were empty sense of entitlement …and air stewards do sweet FA to move said child squatters.

    I’ve even been in J class with an empty seat next to me only to have a baby dumped next to me and cursory “but the seat is empty” (I did protest at that one; my company had paid a lot for my ticket and for me to be work ready on landing (long haul)) a) no the baby or you hadn’t paid and b) no way was I biz class with a even a mildly crying baby – it’s called have the baby in a basenet or better still don’t have the baby in business class if you can’t travel responsibly with it, using amenities provided. The fact the empty seat was apart from the central seating where the mother was sat appeared lost on the mother (?!)

    Lastly how is paying for x2-3 seats in economy cheaper than buying one seat in Premium or if long haul possibly even buying one in J class … airlines continue to race to the bottom pandering to selfishness…


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    I was on a BA long haul last year which was essentially full in Y, Y+ and J. I was in Y+ asile seat. I was BAEC Gold.

    The person seated beside me (middle seat) was seriouslsy way too large for (even the) Y+ seat. Their bicepts were literally an inch from my ear. My guess was that the checl in personnel upgraded them into Y+ because there would absolutely no way they could fit into a Y seat.

    As the doors closed I left my seat and had a chat with the Pursar. She looked at the sitiation (from a distance). She said Y,Y+ and J were full but to wait until after the meal service and the lights would go down for the night flight. She also slipped me a glas of champagne and some nuts from J.

    Lights out, and she arrived back 90 min into the flight. She moved the other PAX into my seat, therefore giving this person more space (aisle and the previously occupied seat) and led me through J into F !! where I had 3-4 hours of sleep.

    Reflecting on the comments above, it seems that BA do actively manage these situations where a PAX is really too big for a seat.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    SwissExPat, that sounds more like a CSD using both initiative and common sense that kept everyone happy. Keep that to yourself because if the BA pencil pushers hear about this
    the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against the CSD is quite high I would guess. I can recall when I started my own business and hence flew CX economy often the seat next to me was blocked I being a Diamond member when the flight was not full. A very welcome benefit and over time as the business took off, pun intended, I upgraded myself to Business where I have been fortunate enough to reside ever since. I have to say as I board each flight now and look through the curtain I say to myself “never again”!!

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls