Purchase the Seat Next To You For As Little As $4 on SpiceJet
If you do not like to sit next to strangers — or perhaps your girth is a little more than a standard economy class seat can handle — you have the opportunity to purchase the Empty Seat Option for as few as 250 Indian Rupees or approximately four United States dollars and possibly have the entire row to yourself when traveling as a passenger on SpiceJet, which is a low-cost carrier operating in India.
The Empty Seat Option — powered by a third-party provider called Optiontown — is part of a suite of options on SpiceJet known as Flexifly, which also offers options for multiple bookings, preferred flights and flexible rewards.
If your are successful with the the Empty Seat Option, you will get to enjoy the complete row of three seats to yourself — and you have exclusive rights to use the assigned empty seat or seats for the entire duration of the flight. Use those seats together for the economy class version of flat-bed seats, for example. Your success with the Empty Seat Option is based on availability of rows of empty seats and other factors, so your success is not guaranteed.
You will be notified generally one to three days before departure — and no later than four hours before departure — about your Empty Seat Option decision and whether or not it is successful. If you are not successful, the price of the Empty Seat Option for which you paid will be refunded automatically to you within five business days after your flight departure.
This might be a nice option to add to flights within the domestic United States — if the airplanes were not so crowded and close to capacity, of course.
My luck more often than not runs out on flights where there are many open seats, which is when I could really use the Empty Seat Option. For some reason, I seem to wind up sitting next to someone who not only is assigned to the middle seat next to me — but wants to remain there!
Then again, there have been other times where the only empty seat on a crowded airplane has been next to me — rare as that might be, and without having to pay a fee — so I suppose I cannot complain.
Regardless — as I have stated before — I am usually in favor of additional options for travelers without taking away current options. This creative idea appears to be one of those options for which passengers might not mind paying a fee — especially as it seems reasonable and is without risk.
Would you take advantage of the Empty Seat Option if it were available to you?