Tough times have forced many business travellers to trade down to economy class, but all is not lost for those who miss the perks up front.
Austrian Airlines is giving economy class passengers on certain long-haul flights the chance to bid for an upgrade to business class and snag a substantially reduced ticket.
Economy travellers who aren’t travelling on the most discounted tickets will be invited to bid for an upgrade on the airline’s website.
The seat will be sold to the highest bidder, who will be contacted three days before the flight and given the good news.
But the three days could prove frustrating for the airline’s most loyal travellers, including those with top-tier status who might be worried about seats being prioritised for online bidders.
Airlines will naturally be cautious about cannibalising full-fare paying business class passengers.
Austrian Airlines’ auction is limited to a handful of destinations, including Cairo (Egypt), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Tripoli (Libya).
The airline joins a growing list of airlines that are auctioning off leftover premium seats, including Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, Copa Airlines, El Al and Etihad.