Virgin Australia says its new Economy X seating is now available across its fleet and the extra legroom product is proving popular among passengers.
The airline has reconfigured the first three rows of the economy cabin on most of its Boeing 737 fleet to give passengers prepared to shell out extra dollars an additional three inches (7.6cms) of legroom.
Combined with exit row seating, this means one in five seats in its B737 economy cabin — 30 seats on a B737-800 — are now branded Economy X.
People who fork out extra for the seats on domestic flights also get preferred overhead locker space, priority boarding and priority security screening.
Economy X replaces Economy Space+ on short-haul international flights and includes priority boarding where applicable. On long-haul international flights, it also features guaranteed first meal choice and premium noise-cancelling headphones.
The move works on the theory that people are happier to pay more if they think they getting a better experience with additional value but get upset when airlines take away something that was traditionally included in the fare and start charging for it.
It comes as Virgin is struggling to move back into profitability after posting a third-quarter net loss of $A69m.
“Since Economy X went on sale earlier this year we have had incredible demand from our guests and we can’t wait for them to experience the new product from today,” Virgin Australia Airlines group executive John Thomas said in a statement.
“Since Economy X went on sale earlier this year we have had incredible demand from our guests and we can’t wait for them to experience the new product from today.”
Touted by the airline as an Australian first, the new product will be available for an additional $29 one-way on short sectors such as Sydney-Melbourne with prices ranging up to an extra $149 on its longest routes to Los Angeles. A transcontinental route such as Brisbane-Perth will cost an extra $59 each wa.
Platinum frequent flyers get it for free.