Middle seats are the worst. You’ve got someone on either side of you, so you can’t just lean over into the window or the aisle, and you’ve got two armrests to fight over not just one.
Often the passenger in the middle seat was disserviced on a previous flight. Or they paid the most for their ticket in the whole cabin, buying when there weren’t any aisle or window seats left. In either case the person who may be the most deserving of a better (or at least not deserving of a wose) experience gets exactly that. Over time there have been several ideas floated to address this.
Airlines could offer exclusive perks funded by brand advertising to middle seat passengers.
“It makes the middle seat less sucky,” Liddell says. “I’m not in the aisle or the window, but maybe I’m in the Xbox middle seat, so I get to play prerelease games.”
It’s easy to imagine a company like Nike selling a custom Air Force 1 to sneakerheads, but only if they booked a middle seat on American during the holiday season–or for the company to offer 20% off a custom Nike ID order, but only if they placed their order in the air.
Or adopt a wider middle seat ‘slider’ design.
Or — in Spirit Airlines’ new plan — award bonus frequent flyer miles to passengers in the middle seat. But because they’re an ultra low cost carrier and must control costs, they’re going to draw a winner from each flight from amongst passengers in the middle who will receive the bonus.
Spirit is giving away 5,000 Free Spirit miles to one middle seat passenger on EVERY Spirit flight starting in March. That adds up to over 2 million Free Spirit Miles being awarded per month. It’s like being a leprechaun born with a rabbit’s foot finding a heads-up penny underneath a horseshoe in a field of four-leaf clovers.
Spirit calls this a new way to strike gold for the passenger who occupies the ‘lucky’ middle seat so I think this somehow has to do with St. Patrick’s Day.
Spirit used to give away 8000 miles just for complaining about an airline, and you didn’t even have to fly Spirit (let alone in a middle seat) so I’m not sure how lucky this makes you.
Especially since Spirit miles expire after 90 days of inactivity, close-in redemption fees start within 180 days of travel, and without redemption partners besides magazines your reward for traveling on Spirit is… more travel on Spirit.
Ultimately no one has a really good idea to make the middle seats as good as other seats on a plane, other than direct aisle access for everyone of course but that comes at an unacceptable cost…