middle seat blocking auction
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Plusgrade is a company that sells ancillary revenue streams to airlines. By tying in with airline’s global reservation management systems, they are able to give you the opportunity to “bid” for First or Business Class upgrades, such that the amount you may pay for an upgrade will vary from flight – optimizing that revenue for the airline.


Some Airlines Are Already Blocking Middle Seats – Free

I applaud Delta, for instance, for its short to medium term commitment to blocking middle seats (and to enforcing the use of masks onboard). Through September 30th, at least, Delta is blocking middle seats in economy (and limited seats sales up front as well) to show their commitment to your safety. While we don’t know for sure that blocking a middle seat makes flying safer, we know that it feels safer and it helps reinforce Delta’s position as a premium airline you can trust. And it may actually be safer.

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I would personally fly Delta right now over any other domestic carrier if I had to fly – for this reason. And I’d pay more for it.

But what if choosing to have that middle seat vacant did come at a price? What would you pay?


Plusgrade’s Dynamic SeatBlocker

While SeatBlocker has been a product of PlusGrade’s since 2017, only Etihad has ever used it. My guess is that this product will gain a LOT of traction in the near term and you’ll see it soon enough. Unlike the auction-like bidding for upgrades, you’ll be offered a fixed price for seat blocking.

The cost will vary based on the load factor as well as predetermined minimum and maximum prices set by each airline that uses the software, as well as, I assume, some other predictive algorithms to determine what will extract the most total $’s per flights.

You can block middle seats or entire rows!

The airline can email you ahead of the flight or you can purchase at check-in.

middle seat blocking auction
Image: PlusGrade.com

HT: Apex.aero


What would you pay for a blocked middle seat? How about a whole row?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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