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Qantas expands ‘neighbour free’ program, letting customers purchase an empty seat beside them

Qantas is letting economy passengers pay to have an empty seat next to them on select domestic flights – something that makes flying in economy a lot more pleasant.

Under the program, called Neighbour Free, an empty seat can be purchased between 48 hours and one hour before departure via an email invitation received from Qantas.

Qantas launched a trial of the program on a small number of routes last September and is now expanding it.

The cost is between $30 and $65 depending on the route. The current routes are:

  • Adelaide-Brisbane
  • Adelaide-Darwin
  • Adelaide-Melbourne
  • Adelaide-Perth
  • Adelaide-Sydney
  • Brisbane-Darwin
  • Brisbane-Perth
  • Darwin-Melbourne
  • Darwin-Sydney
  • Melbourne-Gold Coast
  • Perth-Darwin
  • Perth-Melbourne
  • Perth-Sydney
  • Sydney-Gold Coast

Of course, the ability to purchase an empty seat is limited and requires an aircraft to be undersold.

Still, it’s a win-win for both passengers and the airline.

Until now, Qantas was known to give top-tier frequent flyers a complimentary empty seat next to them. Whether this will continue is unclear.

The only way to purchase a Neighbour Free seat is upon receiving an email invitation from Qantas.

According to the T&Cs on Qantas’ website, Neighbour Free cannot be guaranteed even if you’ve paid, as seats may need to be changed for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft (in which case you’d get a refund).

Additional Qantas Points and Status Credits will not be earned on Neighbour Free reservations.

This is an interesting program from Qantas and we’ll be watching to see if it’s expanded even further in the months ahead.

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