“Seat Plus” – Virgin Atlantic’s way of marketing the idea of an “Extra Seat”

A little known fact is that you can buy an extra seat from the airline when travelling. This is commonly used by musicians who don’t wish to check valuable musical instruments into the hold, and more recently to accommodate bariatric passengers who can’t fit in a single seat.

Those in the know also book extra seats to make long haul journeys in economy a little more bearable – we all know the wave of relief when the announcement says “boarding complete” and you’ve got an open seat next to you.

But, the airlines have tended to not like you doing it unless you really have a need. Depending on the airline, the extra seat can be cheaper than the seat you’ll actually be sat in (no meals, no extra bag entitlement, etc.), so it loses them some revenue.

Virgin Atlantic have decided to market the idea of extra seat, but it’s not quite the same concept. In this case, they are only bookable from 72 hours in advance – i.e. when Virgin know the plane is or isn’t going to go with empty seats, and they can be as cheap as £99 per flight.

In theory, it sounds like a good idea – by paying a fee, you can be certain you’ll have a bit more space, and Virgin get a little bit of money for that seat which would otherwise have gone empty.

I’ve not flown Virgin now for over two years, and that means I don’t have any status in their frequent flyer scheme anymore (I was Gold for about 8-10 years). Giving away “Seat Plus” to a Flying Club Gold member would be a fantastic perk, wouldn’t it? Don’t know if they are planning on doing it though.

3 thoughts on ““Seat Plus” – Virgin Atlantic’s way of marketing the idea of an “Extra Seat””

  1. The email to me said ‘Seat Plus is available up to 72 hours before your flight’, i.e. Virgin still don’t know about the load. And condition 9c makes me wonder whether a new customer wanting to buy a ticket is ‘foreseen’, or means ‘tough – here’s your seat plus money back’.

    1. Actually, I suspect Virgin have a pretty good idea of load at 72 hours, they will know from experience and based on the route how many “last minute” bookings they will take, and therefore how many seats they can confidently release as “Seat Plus”.

      Of course, that doesn’t account for irregular ops, when a flight with space needs to accommodate displaced passengers from cancelled, delayed or overbooked flights, which I suspect is also a motivation behind condition 9c.

      1. You wrote ‘only bookable 72 hours in advance – i.e. when Virgin know..’. My first point was that the email appeared to mean any time up to 72 hours before the flight. Not quite the same thing.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: