Flying can be stressful, especially when you have disruptive seatmates invading your personal space, striking up awkward conversations, or getting in the way of your super long nap.
Etihad Airways — the second largest airline in the United Arab Emirates —gets that, and has come up with a solution: a “Neighbour-Free Seat.”
The concept allows a passenger to bid on up to three empty seats (!!!) on their flight, provided they’re adjacent to the already booked seat. Who needs first class when you’ve got an entire row to yourself, right?
According to the airline’s website, passengers can make a bid during their regular ticket purchase process. Though the extra space is not guaranteed, passengers will be notified if their bid is accepted with a confirmation message 32 hours before the flight. If they don’t get a yes, well, they’re stuck bumping elbows with their seatmates in a classic battle for the armrest.
Passengers also have the option of canceling or modifying bids before receiving a status notification email should they decide they don’t want to shell out any more cash.
The airline’s website describes Neighbour-Free Seating as a perfect option for “small families in need of more space for the little ones; a business traveller who wants extra room to relax and work, or [someone who’s] traveling alone and looking for a private spot to stretch your legs.”
Though we’re not sure this will catch on with airlines around the world, it could be a decent way to compensate for some downright obnoxious flight realities, like less leg room and lack of carry-on space.
Perhaps one day, if we’re lucky planes, will be almost as enjoyable as actual vacations.