Comfort seats don’t just give you the benefit of extra space when you fly. They are also a clever way to earn extra frequent flyer points and status credits!
Many airlines sell “comfort seats”, or free neighbouring seats, for a fee. These were originally intended for larger passengers that might have difficulty fitting in one airline seat. But there are many other reasons you may wish to purchase a comfort seat.
Some passengers simply prefer the extra space that a free neighbour seat provides. On aircraft configurations with two seats by the window, purchasing a comfort seat guarantees you a window seat with direct aisle access and space to spread out. Comfort seats can also be used to store bulky carry-on items such as musical instruments.
This article primarily focuses on Qantas. Many other airlines sell comfort seats too, including Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines, although Jetstar does not.
How much do comfort seats cost?
You’ll need to pay for a second airfare. But it’s only the base fare that you’ll have to pay for twice. You don’t need to pay the taxes and other surcharges twice because these are levied on a per-passenger basis. So, you will end up paying a bit less than double the cost of a single seat.
During a recent sale, one AFF member managed to book return Qantas flights from Singapore to Australia – with a comfort seat on all flights – for just $750. The comfort seats cost barely $200 extra.
Purchasing a comfort seat can be an especially good deal on routes where the base fare is relatively low, and the bulk of the ticket price is made up of taxes. For example, the base fare on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Canberra can be as low as $50 during a sale.
Some airlines, such as Southwest in the United States, will actually refund the cost of the second seat if the flight is not full. But this is rare.
Earn more points and status credits
A little-known benefit of comfort seats is that you’ll also earn points and status credits for the second seat. So, purchasing comfort seats can actually be a rather clever way to accelerate your status credit balance.
If you’re thinking of undertaking a status run, consider purchasing a comfort seat. You’ll get double the status credits for less than double the cost… and you’ll only need to do half the flying to reach your status credit goal!
How to book a comfort seat
Comfort seats cannot be booked online. To book a comfort seat, you will need to call the airline.
It’s generally best to book the comfort seat together with your original fare. If you decide to add a comfort seat later, you may need to pay change fees.
Limitations of comfort seats
There are some limitations when booking a comfort seat. Firstly, you won’t be able to select a seat or manage your booking online. Secondly, it makes it harder to get an upgrade to a higher cabin. If you wish to upgrade with points, and have purchased a comfort seat, you will need to pay for two upgrades.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer community: Comfort seat question