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On New Zealand airline, travelers will bid for better seats

Mobility & Transport

Travelers will soon have to bid the amount they’re willing to pay for an Air New Zealand seat upgrade. The airline will then award the seats to the highest bidders.

Given the efforts we’ve seen recently to give travelers more choice in airline seating — KLM’s new Meet and Seat program, for example — Air New Zealand’s latest initiative may come as a surprise. Focusing on members of its Airpoints loyalty program, the airline will soon stop offering seat upgrades for a fixed price; instead, travelers will have to bid the amount they’re willing to pay, and the airline will award the seats to the highest bidders. Starting on May 30, Air New Zealand’s OneUp upgrade program will require that Airpoints customers visit the airline’s site to request an upgrade at least seven days before their date of travel. There they’ll see a sliding scale indicating minimum offer prices for upgrades to the various seat categories; also included will be a meter indicating the likelihood that a particular offer will be accepted. Once they make their bid, the airline will review all offers and let passengers know between three and seven days before their flight departure time if their bid was accepted. Following the OneUp program’s trial last year, the airline has reportedly experienced some backlash in response to the announcement that it will soon become official. One to watch! Spotted by: Paul Reid



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