ESo: $5 Empty Seat Option from Airlines is Smart Brand Utility

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The flight’s not full and you can pay a little extra for the seat next to you to be empty.

Smart for airlines, smart for travellers.  Airlines that have signed up for Optiontown, a site selling add-on infight options for a range of (mostly) low cost airlines, including Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Air Europa, Air Asia. AeroMexico, and Vietnam Airlines are making money from selling an Empty Seat Option (ESo) – unsold seat space for travellers who want a little elbow room.  Low cost regional Indian airline, SpiceJet is now offering ESo.

It works like this – when buying a seat online, you prepay an additional fee (dependant on seat capacity) – from about $5 US dollars (Estonian airlines), for one or two empty seats next to your seat, and then an email is  sent to you 1-3 days before departure to confirm your empty seats. Otherwise, the empty seat price is fully refundable if not assigned to you.

Whilst this can be seen as another wheeze from low cost airlines to extract add-on extras; this is an example of brand utility that big airlines could offer – a win/win for all. Why doesn’t every airline offer this brand utility?

 

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About the author

Paul Marsden

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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By Paul Marsden

Digital Intelligence Today

Consumer psychology insights and news for digital professionals brought to you by WPP agency SYZYGY and Dr Paul Marsden (@marsattacks)

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Paul Marsden

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.