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Everything You Need To Know As Qantas Rolls Out Domestic Neighbor-Free Seating For All Travelers

23 May, 2023

Qantas rolled out its 'Neighbour Free' seating product to eight additional routes following successful testing on six routes last year.

Qantas began expanding its ‘Neighbour Free’ seating product for economy passengers last Thursday, May 18. This comes following positive passenger feedback on its initial trial of six routes which began last year. All routes currently eligible for Neighbor Free seating are domestic.

Program roll-out and expansion

According to correspondence with a Qantas public affairs representative, the airline intends to continue adding new eligible routes to the program in the near future.

“The expansion, which started last Thursday, brings the total number of routes in the program to 14, with plans to further expand the initiative to other domestic routes in the months ahead."

Neighbour Free offers economy customers on these routes the opportunity to keep an unbooked, neighboring seat open during their flight. Although customers will not be able to reserve a neighboring seat during the booking process itself, customers on eligible flights with spare capacity will receive an invitation via email to utilize the offer between 48 hours and 1 hour before departure.

Taking advantage of the program to keep an adjacent seat open will cost AU$30 - AU$65 ($20 - $43), depending on the route. Upon accepting the invitation to utilize Neighbour Free, customers will have the opportunity to reselect their seat, and open an adjacent seat using an online seat map. Once a customer pays for and submits their Neighbour Free request, their seat selection and Neighbour Free reservation will appear on their boarding pass.

Passengers should note, however, that Qantas still reserves the right to fill neighboring seats based on capacity, operational, safety, or security reasons up to the moment of departure, including during the boarding process. Even so, if the neighboring seat is sold, Qantas will issue a refund to the Neighbor Free customer. Neighbour Free also does not provide any additional baggage allowances, nor can the adjacent seat be used for storing carry-on items or infants.

Eligible routes

According to the airline, the new domestic routes adding Neighbour Free include:


Neighbour Free Price (in AUD)

Adelaide - Darwin


Adelaide - Melbourne


Adelaide - Perth


Brisbane - Darwin


Melbourne - Gold Coast


Perth - Darwin


Perth - Melbourne


Perth - Sydney


In addition to the eight new routes added on Thursday, Qantas already offered Neighbour Free on six other routes:


Neighbour Free Price (AUD)

Adelaide - Brisbane


Adelaide - Sydney


Brisbane - Perth


Darwin - Melbourne


Darwin - Sydney


Sydney - Gold Coast


Other airlines

Several other airlines offer similar seating products, including Emirates, Fiji Airways, Philippine Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. Each of these airlines offers passengers the ability to reserve neighboring seats during a specified window before departure following the completion of the booking process.

Other similar products include Air New Zealand’s ‘Works Deluxe’ seating package, which can be booked during the initial reservation process and offers a ‘Neighbor Free Guarantee’. Etihad also offers passengers the ability to place bids for upgrades during the booking process, including for economy passengers who would like to bid for an empty adjacent seat.


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