Aer Lingus set to auction business class seating

Aer Lingus passengers travelling to and from the US and Canada are being given the chance to bid for some luxury on their trip, with an auction for seats in business class.

“Make us an offer to upgrade your transatlantic economy booking, and you could be travelling in style in our business cabin,” the airline says on its website. “You tell us how much you are willing to pay and, if your bid is successful, you can savour the Aer Lingus business class experience on your flight.”

Passengers will receive an email shortly after booking their economy class seat, inviting them to make an offer for the upgrade. There is a slider on the upgrade page which the person can move along according to the size of their bid. The lowest possible bid is likely to be around €300, although Aer Lingus says that varies depending on “routing, time of year, day of week and the overall demand conditions for a business class seat on each particular flight”.

There is even an “offer strength” gauge giving the passenger an indication of the likelihood their offer will be accepted.

The offer window closes five days prior to the departure date of a flight. A successful bid in the region of €300 would mean an end-cost significantly below the usual business class rate.

“The aim of the auction is to find a match between how much the customer is willing to pay for an upgrade seat and how little we’re willing to accept,” an airline spokeswoman said. “These two curves do not always intersect and so there’s no guarantee that a customer will bid successfully, but there’s also nothing lost in trying.

“It’s not aimed at the business traveller who wants the extra comfort of the Business Cabin to work more effectively on board or to arrive fully rested at their destination. That category of customer books business class in the normal manner and is certain of what they’re getting.

It is aimed at the customer who is willing to treat themselves to the additional luxury at a particular price but is willing to risk not actually getting the upgrade.”


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