One of the best tips in travel is to why yourself a second seat when you’re flying coach. Each of the major airlines has a procedure to let you do this, and it can be a great value when fares are cheap. Do it yourself first class, or at least it can be extra room at a value price (and you’re not getting a great meal if you were flying real first class anyway).
The process to do this is different with every airline, but oddly it’s not something U.S. airlines advertise. Some international carriers will sell you almost as many extra seats as you want, online as part of the booking process. That makes sense, it’s extra revenue. China Southern (which is part-owned by American Airlines) has sold extra coach seats at the airport the way some airlines pitch upgrades at check-in.
American Airlines, though, did make it a little bit easier by introducing the ability to pay for an extra seat using trip credits.
JetBlue, though, has made it easiest – letting you just reserve two seats when you’re booking your ticket and offering a check box to say that both seats are for you. That’s much easier than the manual phone process most airlines have, that not every agent may be familiar with.
Do any other airlines make it this easy to book an extra seat online? If I choose a 2-pax itinerary on JetBlue there's a checkbox to flag it as my second seat. That's relatively new to the online booking portal AFAIK. #PaxEx pic.twitter.com/feYLMfgz2y
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) January 7, 2022
Southwest Airlines probably has the most customer-friendly extra seat policy for passengers of size – they get the money back for the extra seat if the flight isn’t full. Anyone else can easily do ‘extra seat’ on a do-it-yourself basis when the flight isn’t full. Some people put crumpled up tissues on the seat next to them… Although middle seat blocking is perhaps the one elite benefit that would be low cost for airlines to provide that they are ignoring.
I much prefer the ability to pay for that extra seat if it’s easy. So kudos to JetBlue for making it easy.