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sergegva
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Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:16 am

I'm flying with Etihad next week and I just received a surprising offer.
I'm used to the "bid for upgrade" thing, but now they offer me to make a bid for one or two "neighbour-free" seats next to me. Per segment, the minimum bid for one free seat is 45 $ and 90 $ for two. By default, the target is set at 65 $.

They offer this option in my GVA-AUH and AUH-GVA segments only, not in AUH-NRT and NRT-AUH.

It inspires me a lot of questions...

Fisrt, is this a new thing? Do other airlines offer the same thing?
If they offer this option in some sections only, does that mean that I already have a neighbour in my AUH-NRT-AUH sections, and not yet in my GVA-AUH-GVA sections?
And finally... Does it really work well? I mean, in Europe, people are used to change seats shortly before take-off (of shortly after) if there are any seats left. I do that myself regularly when, for whatever reason, I was not able to get a window seat at check-in. In this case, what happens it a passenger moove from his seat to take one of those you got "neighbour-free"? I guess you will have to ask him to leave (or call a FA)... Let's say you are at a window seat and you bought two neighbour-free seats. A guy take the free aisle seat. He is not even seated next to you. Asking him to leave will be weird, don't you think?
 
Samrnpage
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:48 pm

Etihad is not filling out its planes then ?
 
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sassiciai
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:52 pm

I too just read the Etihad email about this! It's always more pleasant to have at least one empty seat next to you, it just makes the entire experience so much better. No elbow competitions for the arm rest, enough room at be able to eat properly, and an easier proposition for sleeping. I have several experiences of Etihad flights where I had a central row of 4 on an A330, and that was a lie-flat bed in Y! I also, on an Etihad ticket, flew HKG - AUH with Air Seychelles, and their A330 4-seat block is/was actually 2 blocks of 2, where the middle arm rests would not fold down

About moving about after boarding is completed, of course we all do that when possible. But the deal Etihad is proposing will be absolutely tied to your ticketed seat number. If you have seat 33D, and have paid to have 33E and 33F empty, that's what you get. If you move to 40A to look out the window, you cannot transfer your blocked seats as well
 
BlatantEcho
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:52 pm

I have been surprised airlines haven't been doing this for many years. Seems like a total no-brainer to make revenue off of a seat that isn't sold.

Maybe technology wasn't there to make it feasible, but I am shocked all airlines don't offer this already.
Total no brainer to allow people to pay a small amount for empty seat next to them. Win-Win.
 
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cougar15
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:59 pm

sergegva wrote:
I'm flying with Etihad next week and I just received a surprising offer.
I'm used to the "bid for upgrade" thing, but now they offer me to make a bid for one or two "neighbour-free" seats next to me. Per segment, the minimum bid for one free seat is 45 $ and 90 $ for two. By default, the target is set at 65 $.

They offer this option in my GVA-AUH and AUH-GVA segments only, not in AUH-NRT and NRT-AUH.

It inspires me a lot of questions...

Fisrt, is this a new thing? Do other airlines offer the same thing?
If they offer this option in some sections only, does that mean that I already have a neighbour in my AUH-NRT-AUH sections, and not yet in my GVA-AUH-GVA sections?
And finally... Does it really work well? I mean, in Europe, people are used to change seats shortly before take-off (of shortly after) if there are any seats left. I do that myself regularly when, for whatever reason, I was not able to get a window seat at check-in. In this case, what happens it a passenger moove from his seat to take one of those you got "neighbour-free"? I guess you will have to ask him to leave (or call a FA)... Let's say you are at a window seat and you bought two neighbour-free seats. A guy take the free aisle seat. He is not even seated next to you. Asking him to leave will be weird, don't you think?



DO NOT BID, it is a waste of money, sadly, you will find those seats empty without paying extra! That sayed from an EY fan and...…. just take my word for it or not...! Happy travels!
some you lose, others you can´t win!
 
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GCT64
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:07 pm

With the price of keeping a seat free being so low (compared with selling it to a pax) Etihad will only be doing this on planes that are going to have lots of empty seats anyway. If I was you, I wouldn't pay and be careful/clever about seat selection, then you will get it for free.
Flown in: A20N,A21N,A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A359,A388,BA11,BU31,(..56 more types..),VC10,WESX
 
jumpjets
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:32 pm

A conundrum! I have not come across this before so it has set me thinking,

Lets say I am travelling on my own on an Etihad 77W in Y. My chosen seat is 37A and I am given the empty seat offer. If I bid for 37B doesn't that mean in effect I am also bidding on behalf of someone who choses 37C - but that person gets the benefit of the empty seat for free. Not sure I would take up that offer. if I was travelling with someone else and we could both benefit from the free seat then potentially it would be worth while.
 
Yflyer
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:30 pm

sassiciai wrote:
If you have seat 33D, and have paid to have 33E and 33F empty, that's what you get. If you move to 40A to look out the window, you cannot transfer your blocked seats as well


That's not how I read the question, though. Suppose he's on an A340 and selected a window seat and successfully bids to have the aisle seat next to him empty. What happens if someone else who got stuck with a middle seat notices the empty aisle seat and decides he'd really rather sit there? Does he have to tell that person "Sorry, you can't sit there", which might come across as a bit rude? Or does Etihad somehow physically block off that seat or otherwise mark it as unavailable?
 
YOWVIEWER
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:33 pm

Yes, you are correct. But the reverse could also happen whereby the guy in 37C purchases 37B, and you get a freebee.
 
Delta777Jet
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:41 pm

The idea is great and really wonder why nobody did it so far. Even not Ryanair.
On many flights there are always some empty seats , so paying for that will give more or less a guarantee that if a seat is free, thats the one next to you. Agree that this must be marked in some way, like "reserved for your comfort" or whatever.
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
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tjcab
Posts: 352
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:55 pm

Yflyer wrote:
sassiciai wrote:
If you have seat 33D, and have paid to have 33E and 33F empty, that's what you get. If you move to 40A to look out the window, you cannot transfer your blocked seats as well


That's not how I read the question, though. Suppose he's on an A340 and selected a window seat and successfully bids to have the aisle seat next to him empty. What happens if someone else who got stuck with a middle seat notices the empty aisle seat and decides he'd really rather sit there? Does he have to tell that person "Sorry, you can't sit there", which might come across as a bit rude? Or does Etihad somehow physically block off that seat or otherwise mark it as unavailable?


Maybe they will place signage on the seat or put the temporary tray table contraption similar to:

Image
 
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YSAPW
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:57 pm

Yflyer wrote:
sassiciai wrote:
If you have seat 33D, and have paid to have 33E and 33F empty, that's what you get. If you move to 40A to look out the window, you cannot transfer your blocked seats as well


That's not how I read the question, though. Suppose he's on an A340 and selected a window seat and successfully bids to have the aisle seat next to him empty. What happens if someone else who got stuck with a middle seat notices the empty aisle seat and decides he'd really rather sit there? Does he have to tell that person "Sorry, you can't sit there", which might come across as a bit rude? Or does Etihad somehow physically block off that seat or otherwise mark it as unavailable?



Or say you are in the middle section -aisle, you bid for the empty middle seat, and you "win". The following can happen:

- Your other fellow middle section aisle will benefit with having a empty middle seat, which you had to pay for.
- If someone wants to sit on the empty seat (no one would like the middle seat but say someone does), it can be rude to tell him off...ok, but what happens if the seat remains empty, and again, your fellow middle section aisle, sees the empty seat and uses it for some of its belongings during flight, say laptop, etc etc. Would you tell him: hey, back of, this seat is mine...that would be difficult.
- Is it possible that in a 3 seat middle section, both aisle seats can actually bid, and without even knowing, both end paying. (that could be a cheap trick from the airline to get more money selling a "nice" idea to 2 passengers instead of 1). If so, who would have "rights" over that real estate?

Maybe in this case, the tiny terms and conditions would be interesting to read.
 
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XAM2175
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:02 pm

GCT64 wrote:
With the price of keeping a seat free being so low (compared with selling it to a pax) Etihad will only be doing this on planes that are going to have lots of empty seats anyway.


Bingo! Remember, an empty seat is worth as much as somebody is willing to pay to sit in it, right up to a full-fare ticket bought minutes before check-in closes. The only reason, therefore, other than monumental stupidity that EY could have for telling you here and now that that seat is worth $45 to them is that they're pretty damned sure that nobody is going to pay any more, so you get certainty that you'll be neighbour free and they get $45 instead of $0.

Yflyer wrote:
Or does Etihad somehow physically block off that seat or otherwise mark it as unavailable?

Delta777Jet wrote:
Agree that this must be marked in some way, like "reserved for your comfort" or whatever.

tjcab wrote:
Maybe they will place signage on the seat or put the temporary tray table contraption


I am 99.99% prepared to guarantee all of you that this will be nothing more than a software block - otherwise the cost of administering signage and configuration will totally destroy the benefit. After all, passengers who actually book a comfort seat at the full-occupancy fare don't get any special treatment along these lines.
 
debonair
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:06 pm

sergegva wrote:
Do other airlines offer the same thing? ... Does it really work well?


Well, many airlines are offering this "upgrade" - just have a look: https://www.optiontown.com/home_page.do ... ectProduct

I did it once, on an ArkeFly flight to Mexico - the flight was fully booked, except for just ONE seat which was assigned as ExtraSeat to me thanks to the bid I did. For sure, if this seat would have been sold "last-minute", I would have been refunded (which was the case on the return sector).
 
dredgy
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:13 pm

A fair few airlines do offer this. I did place a bid on one on an AirAsia flight, but won the bid for business class instead.
 
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Arq
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:13 pm

I have experienced something similar. But that's the offer by Air Asia, with a little bit of difference
- The offer pop up on the screen when I check in and confirm my (paid) seat selection, not an email before
- The offer is not on every flight, so it is safe to say that they offer this on the flight with low load factor and not much chance of last minute passenger
- They use random seat assignment system for any passenger not paying for seat selection. Their fleet of all A320 offer seat of 3-3 abreast. Naturally the passenger paying for a seat selection would either choose windows seat or aisle seat. Blocking the middle seat is effective as nobody will want to come sit on it anyway. They just have to make sure that the seat is not available during random seat assignment

It's works in a simple and straight forward operation. But I would like to see how complex airlines like Etihad handle their option.
 
Alexdk
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:57 am

Do any airlines actually enforce you not to seat not on your place even if it’s free (not considering extra-space seat)?
 
Yflyer
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:45 pm

YSAPW wrote:
- Is it possible that in a 3 seat middle section, both aisle seats can actually bid, and without even knowing, both end paying. (that could be a cheap trick from the airline to get more money selling a "nice" idea to 2 passengers instead of 1). If so, who would have "rights" over that real estate?


I wonder if in the case where two passengers both bid if Etihad might "pool" their bids. For example suppose the person in 33A bids $50 to have the middle seat empty, and the person in 33C also bids $50 to have that same seat empty. Meanwhile, the person in 34A bid $75, but 34C bid nothing. Does the combined $100 from row 33 beat the $75 from row 34?
 
IPFreely
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:49 am

jumpjets wrote:
A conundrum! I have not come across this before so it has set me thinking,

Lets say I am travelling on my own on an Etihad 77W in Y. My chosen seat is 37A and I am given the empty seat offer. If I bid for 37B doesn't that mean in effect I am also bidding on behalf of someone who choses 37C - but that person gets the benefit of the empty seat for free. Not sure I would take up that offer. if I was travelling with someone else and we could both benefit from the free seat then potentially it would be worth while.


I agree with the posters who this offer is asking you to pay for a seat that is likely empty anyway. And if exactly two people on the plane pay for the empty middle seat next to them, they will most likely find themselves in 37A and 37C (or whatever the row is). Nowhere does Etihad say they will inform someone in 37C that 37A has paid for 37B to be empty, or that they would turn down 37C's empty seat money because 37A has already paid for it. Not only are they "selling" seats that are likely empty anyway, they're probably "double selling" a lot of them.
 
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spinkid
Posts: 1893
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:29 am

Alexdk wrote:
Do any airlines actually enforce you not to seat not on your place even if it’s free (not considering extra-space seat)?


I've only seen FA's stop people from moving to seats that are comfort or extra space seats. I imagine they would do the same in this scenario as well if you paid for the seat or seats next to you.

I ALWAYS try to move my seat if I notice empty rows toward the back of the plane and I'm in an aisle with someone else in my row.

I will only move to an empty row though. If i was in a full row and I saw someone with a window and 2 seats I wouldn't take the aisle. I would feel rude doing that. If it was a long flight or I was especially cramped I might ask them.
 
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sergegva
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Re: Make a bid for a Neighbour-Free Seat ?!

Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks for your answers.

For the little story, all 4 sectors were 100% full, so I could not learn anything during these flights.
Etihad's very aggressive prices at the moment seem to attract many travelers. The hub of Abu Dhabi was totally crowded last night!

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