After all the effort in recent months from carriers such as KLM and Malaysia Airlines, you’d think that today’s airline passengers are just desperate for people to sit next to.
Earlier this month, KLM introduced its long-planned tool that allowed passengers to share their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles with others on the plane, hoping to spark new in-flight relationships and building on a more basic tool released last year by Malaysia Airlines.
But flying in the face of the current trend for ‘social seating’ is AirAsia X, appealing to the less talkative among us by offering travellers the chance to nab a full set of seats for themselves in order to spread out.
Introduced quietly in January, AirAsia X has introduced an Empty Seat Option on some flights, allowing guests to pay to request an empty seat next to them.
On AirAsia X’s China, Japan and Korea routes, passengers can pay MYR 30 ( euro 7.50) for one empty seat or stretch to MYR 40 ( euro 10) for the whole row, the publication says.
Obviously, the airline isn’t going to prevent paying customers to facilitate such a deal, so the reservation is, strictly speaking, more of a request – passengers are told ahead of their flight whether the Empty Seat Option came through, and receive a refund if it couldn’t be fulfilled.
But if there’s space on the flight, customers will be granted their wish to be seated alone and AirAsia will collect a fee (if only a small one) for the empty seat.
AirAsia X claims to be the first airline to offer such a service – but if antisocial travel takes off, it may not be long before others follow suit.