Oct 25, 2022 - World

Airline launches lottery for travelers who take middle seat

Airplane taking off

A Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 plane takes off at Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport in Australia in May 2021. Photo: David Gray/Getty Images

Virgin Australia is offering travelers the chance to turn the dreaded middle seat into a lottery ticket.

Driving the news: The airline announced the launch of the “Middle Seat Lottery” Monday to transform the “middle seats on the airline’s domestic flights from the least favourite to the most fun and wonderful.”

  • More than $230,000 worth of prizes will be given away through April 23 to travelers "who either select or who are assigned a middle seat" on Virgin Australia.

The big picture: Less than 1% of travelers chose the middle seat intentionally as their first seat preference, a Virgin Australia social media survey in May found.

  • The aisle seat was the preferred seat for 67% of the 7,500 respondents and the window got about 34% of the vote.

Why it matters: The new contest and Bring on Wonderful campaign follow Virgin Australia's 24-month transformation, which returns the airline to profitability.

  • The airline filed and exited bankruptcy in 2020.

Yes, but: The contest is open to its Velocity members who are Australian residents and 18 or older, according to the fine print.

  • They also need to fly in a middle seat on a Virgin Australia-operated domestic flight by April 23.

Flashback: Many airlines kept the middle seats empty in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to reduce exposure.

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