This European low-cost carrier will let you pay extra to keep the middle seat empty

Aug 20, 2020

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As well as obligatory face masks on most, if not all, carriers around the world, some airlines are blocking middle seats — most commonly in the U.S. While the phenomenon hasn’t largely spread to this side of the Atlantic, German carrier Eurowings has taken the step to allow its passengers the choice to block the middle seat on flights.

However, instead of blocking them as a courtesy for free, the airline is charging for the empty middle seat from €18 (£16) one-way.

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The move comes at a time where airlines are trying to find ways to help to stop the spread of the virus and, at the same time, keep the world flying.

In a press release, the airline said it conducted a trial with the feature “over the past few weeks”. It said that 5,000 middle seats have been sold and blocked for those passengers who would prefer to keep more social distance during their flight.

“Customers want more comfort and distance on board”, said Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof.

Related: The hidden costs of saying goodbye to the middle seat

Middle seats are available to purchase on all routes that the airline operates within Europe. It’s currently only possible to do so by calling the Eurowings Service Centre on +491806320320. However, from September 2020, it will be bookable directly through the Eurowings website when booking.

The airline is the first in Europe to offer such a measure in the face of COVID-19. In the U.S., low-cost carrier Frontier offered the same option, starting from $39 (£30).

In the early stages of the pandemic, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said the airline would be leaving its middle seats free, but failed to put the measure in place.

Featured image courtesy of Eurowings.

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