Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits

Emirates allows passengers to purchase entire rows as pandemic upends travel habits

Emirates passengers can now purchase up to three empty adjoining seats on their economy class flights.

It comes as passengers seek out more space on planes amid a pandemic that is forcing airlines to re-think the entire flying experience

The Dubai carrier said the new scheme will be offered to all economy class customers with a confirmed booking, but there will be no option to pre-book the empty seats.

Customers can only purchase the seats, which cost $55 to $165, upon airport check-in.

Emirates said the move was based on customer feedback, particularly on seeking extra privacy and space while flying economy class.

Customers who are likely to purchase extra seats include couples, parents traveling with in-lap infants, and those who want to be socially distant while travelling amid the pandemic.

Gulf airlines are seeking new ways to encourage passengers to return to flying as the industry grapples with continuing international travel restrictions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) now expects that the airline industry will remain cash negative throughout 2021.

“With governments having tightening border restrictions, 2021 is shaping up to be a much tougher year than previously expected,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Our best-case scenario sees airlines burning through $75 billion in cash this year. And it could be as bad as $95 billion.”

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