Paid to block the seat neighbour in the plane

Payer pour bloquer le siège voisin en avion

A young quebec company, which is financed by the Caisse de depot, offers travelers worried about contracting the COVID-19 by plane to pay to block the seat neighbor.

“Today, travelers are looking for ways to feel more comfortable to fly again,” explains Plusgrade in a press release published yesterday, only in English.

The company notes that according to a poll conducted a few weeks ago to IATA, the lobby of the airline, 65% of respondents were afraid to sit next to a passenger reaches of the COVID-19.

The new service of Plusgrade, called ” Dynamic Seat Blocker “, allows a passenger to buy the seat next to hers – and even the row in full – to ensure that no one at his side.

Plusgrade supports that nearly a third of travellers are willing to pay to block at least one seat in a flight of two hours or more.

For the moment, seven international airlines, including Royal Jordanian and Etihad, expect to offer the feature.

Air Canada is slow to ship

Air Canada is not one of them. Until the 1st of July, the company did not sell the middle seat on flights for easy distance. Today, she is contacted by its customers 24 hours in advance “when a flight is on track to achieve its full capacity” and offers them free of charge the possibility to take another.

“On many flights, we are still able to provide additional space for customers who wish it,” said Pascale Déry, who is a spokesperson for Air Canada.

The largest carrier in the country already provides the basic service of Plusgrade, is the opportunity for travelers to participate in an auction to buy an upgrade to business class.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement holds approximately 40 % of Plusgrade by virtue of an investment of $ 200 million announced in November 2018. It is one of its largest investment holdings in the technology sector in Quebec.

A few clients of Plusgrade

  • Air Canada
  • WestJet
  • AeroMexico
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Oman Air
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
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