Several airlines offer the opportunity to purchase a free neighbouring seat on your flight for a small fee. One is Air New Zealand, which sells “Twin Seats” for as little as $29 on flights to New Zealand. This guarantees an empty seat beside you. That’s a small price to pay for a much more comfortable flight!
Air New Zealand Twin Seats can be requested at check-in and are subject to availability. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis so we recommend getting to the airport early if you wish to purchase a Twin Seat. These are not offered on full flights and you won’t earn any points for the extra seat.
Twin Seats cost just $29 on all Air New Zealand flights from Australia (except Perth) to New Zealand, Norfolk Island or Rarotonga. On long-haul flights, including from Perth to Auckland, the surcharge is $99. A full list of prices is available on the Air New Zealand website.
Where available, Air New Zealand also gives you the option to bid for a “OneUp” upgrade to Premium Economy or Business up to 7 days before the flight. But many Air New Zealand flights to Australia and the Pacific Islands are on Airbus A320s with an Economy-only configuration. In this case, requesting a Twin Seat is still your best chance for a more comfortable flight at a low price.
Another Air New Zealand product on long-haul flights is the Skycouch. This is where a block of three Economy seats is converted into a bed. This can be booked in advance, but the prices are much higher than those for Twin Seats.
While neither Qantas nor Virgin Australia sell the equivalent of Air New Zealand Twin Seats at check-in, you can purchase a comfort seat in advance. You’ll have to pay the fare for the second seat, but you’ll only pay the taxes once and you will earn double the points and status credits.
Finally, there is one Qantas flight where you can purchase an entire row of Economy seats for yourself. On QF8 from Dallas to Sydney, you can purchase a “comfort row” at check-in for around $250. There are always empty seats on QF8 due to payload restrictions, so this is a way for Qantas to monetise them. It’s a win-win for the airline and customers.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Tricks to economy long haul