Surviving long-haul flights in “cattle class” can be a challenge at the best of times. But there’s now a way to ease the pain and guarantee a whole row to yourself on an international Qantas flight!
Short of an upgrade, there’s not much better than two empty neighbouring seats when you’re stuck in Economy a long international flight. It means you’ll be able to stretch out across three or four seats, and you may even be able to sleep better.
Getting a row to spread out on used to be a matter of luck. But Qantas is now selling “comfort rows” on its longest international flight. This means that, for a fee, you’ll be able to get a guaranteed row all to yourself.
Passengers on QF8 from Dallas to Sydney can request a comfort row either at the check-in counter, or at the gate prior to boarding. The cost is $250, and you will be issued boarding passes for each of the remaining seats in the row.
It is 100% offered by Qantas, and the row that you purchase will appear as a remark on your boarding pass, with additional boarding passes printed and given to the crew so they know who has paid (so not to move someone to what may appear to be a spare aisle seat for example). The number of rows available are subject to the loads.
The reason this is specifically offered on QF8 from Dallas to Sydney is that the flight is never completely full. As one of the world’s longest flights, some Economy seats always remain unsold due to weight restrictions. However, the exact number of “comfort rows” available will depend on the exact number of Economy seats that remain unsold on the day of the flight.
$250 for a whole row seems fairly reasonable for a flight that takes more than 16 hours. By comparison, exit row and extra legroom seats are sold for $180.
While it is possible that “comfort rows” may be extended to other routes in the future, it’s only officially offered on the Dallas-Sydney route at this stage. To reserve a guaranteed free neighbouring seat on other flights, you would need to purchase a “comfort seat” in advance. This generally means paying for two seats, although taxes are not charged on the second seat.
If you want another seat for any other flight it has to be done through reservations and for the cost of another seat (excluding airport taxes for international flights from what I remember).
While this is a relatively unique product offering, Air New Zealand offers what it calls a “Skycouch” on its long-haul Boeing 777 flights. This is where the airline sells a block of three seats that transform into a couch. However, these are primarily targeted towards couples and families; and for a solo traveller the cost would be much greater than $250.
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