This International Airline Will Now Allow Passengers To Reserve An Extra Seat Next To Them

Oh, how nice it would be to have two whole seats to yourself when flying. You could relax, knowing you won't accidentally elbow your neighboring passenger, or you might even be able to pull your feet up to lie down. Or, if you have your belongings in tow, you could use the extra space for your carry-on items — no more stepping on your laptop case and toiletry bag.

The idea of having an extra seat might sound dreamy, but it's already a reality for some travelers flying with Qantas. The Australian airline offers what it calls "Neighbour Free seating," allowing Economy passengers the chance to reserve two seats for a single person. Alternatively, if you're traveling with a partner, you can book the entire three-seat row to yourselves for added comfort and privacy. The perk does come at a cost, though the fee is generally much cheaper than the price of a regular seat.

The majority of domestic Qantas flights in Australia already offer the program, but the good news for us outside the Land Down Under is that the airline is expanding the option to more of its international routes — and it could be the travel game-changer you need on your next flight.

Neighbor-free seats are coming to the U.S.

If you plan to take a Qantas flight connecting the U.S. and Australia, you might soon have the option to book an additional seat for a fraction of the original cost. According to USA Today, the airline is testing out its Neighbor Free program on select flights from Dallas, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and San Francisco.

Under the initiative, a second seat will set you back only around $140, making it a far more economical choice than booking a Business or First class seat. However, there's a catch: You can't book a second seat until 48 hours before departure. At that point, Qantas confirms it has vacant seats and frees them up to passengers desiring some extra room on board. If the option is available on your flight, you'll receive an email inviting you to make a reservation. Then, you can book two adjacent seats, paying the additional fee for the second. Note that you won't be able to book a neighbor-free seat if you choose an economy seat with extra legroom, opt for an upgrade, or are traveling with an infant.

Another drawback to the program: Your spare seat isn't guaranteed until departure. Qantas may sell your seat to a last-minute traveler or rearrange your seats for safety or security reasons. If this happens, you'll receive a refund for the added fee.

Can you book an extra seat on other airlines?

Qantas' Neighbor Free seat option is unique, especially at its affordable price point. However, the Australian carrier isn't the only one offering additional seats to travelers. Most U.S. airlines allow single flyers to book two seats, though not always at a wallet-friendly fare. Moreover, online booking forms aren't generally set up to accommodate multiple seats for one person, so it's best to call your carrier of choice first before making a reservation. They can inform you of any restrictions, fees, and how to properly arrange your booking.

One scenario where airlines sometimes offer more flexibility is when a larger-bodied traveler requires an additional seat. For example, if you fly Delta and can't comfortably fit in your seat with the armrest down, you can request to be moved next to an empty seat at no additional cost (though this option may not be available on fully booked flights). On Southwest flights, "customers of size" can purchase additional seats before flying to ensure sufficient space. These additional seats can then be refunded after the flight.

If your booking isn't eligible for extra seating or you don't want to pay the price for two spots, there's one last option: TikTok's seating hack. If you're traveling with a companion, book the aisle and window seats, leaving the middle open. If you're lucky, no one will reserve the spot between you and your friend, giving you two the entire row to stretch out in.