Everyone loves travelling, but there’s nothing worse than cramming into a tiny economy seat on a long haul flight, fighting for legroom with strangers. 

Thanks to Qantas, that struggle could become a thing of the past. The Aussie airline is trialling ‘Neighbour Free’, a scheme that allows any economy passenger the opportunity to pay extra to ensure there’s a free seat next to them.

By booking the extra seat for just $30, you can swing your legs freely and relax on your flight. ‘Neighbour Free’ guarantees that no other passenger can sit beside you for the full flight. It sounds almost too good to be true.

While this scheme is ideal for long international travel, Qantas is trialling ‘Neighbour Free’ on its domestic flights first. The extra seat on shorter flights costs just $30, with the price rising on longer flights, for example between Sydney and Perth.

Some rules apply of course. ‘Neighbour Free’ can only be purchased between 48 hours and one hour before your scheduled flight takes off, via the email invitation each passenger receives. A passenger can only make one reservation for each segment of their booking. When a passenger books the extra seat, their boarding pass will show both their own seat and extra seat.

‘Neighbour Free’ refers to the seat space only and can’t be used for things like extra baggage, musical instruments, or travelling infants And availability is limited, so passengers should make sure to reserve their extra seat early.

The scheme should be a tempting bonus for travellers put off by the current travel crisis. Qantas recently told passengers to expect more flight delays and cancellations, with thousands of extra passengers attempting to fly post-pandemic.

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“Our on-time performance isn’t where it needs to be, but we’re continuing to make changes,” a Qantas spokesperson said at the end of July.

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