Emirates is using reduced passenger numbers to its advantage by offering flyers the chance to block out adjacent seats at a fee. Olivia Palamountain reports

With passenger numbers have been at an all-time low and the threat of Covid-19 quite literally hanging in the air, airlines such as Emirates are shifting spare seats at lowered costs to allow travellers to socially distance responsibly while recouping cash.

In a move designed off the back of customer feedback, all Emirates economy class customers now have the option to purchase up to three empty adjoining seats.

The empty seats are not available to pre-book and will only be offered for purchase at the airport check-in counter prior to flight departure at a cost ranging from US$55 to US$165 per empty seat (plus applicable taxes depending on flight sector).

Who’s booking? According to Emirates, the initiative is proving popular with couples who wish to have the entire row to themselves (maximum of three seats in same row), parents travelling with in-lap infants and travellers looking for additional personal space during the pandemic.

Emirates isn’t the only airline promoting enhanced privacy and space. Delta is now the only US airline limiting capacity onboard, and will continue to block all middle seats until at least April 30, 2021.

This supports Covid-19 measures already in place at the airline, decorated for its response to the pandemic (it was crowned the US airline with the best response to coping with Covid-19 by The Points Guy), such as UV light sanitisation and at-home Covid test kits for departing passengers.

Alaska, meanwhile is taking a similar stance, pledging not to sell any middle seats but only in its premium class cabins.

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE