Being forced into the middle seat of an aeroplane has always seemed like the short straw to passengers. The airline industry’s other side presents a challenge: asking consumers to pay the same as their aisle and window neighbours but providing neither a view nor simple access to the lavatory.
According to a recent social media survey conducted by Virgin Australia, only 1% of customers would voluntarily choose the middle seat. However, that might be about to alter. The Middle Seat Lottery, a unique raffle with significant weekly rewards that is only open to customers willing to sit in the middle seat, has just been introduced by Virgin Australia. Through April 2023, the promotion will last six months, with a total prize pool of nearly $230,000 AUD, or about $145,000 US.
This is how it goes: Each week, one prize winner will be chosen at random from among passengers who took the middle seats. A helicopter pub crawl, flights and tickets to a favourite AFL team’s away games in 2023, a VIP package to the AFL Grand Final (the Super Bowl of Australian rules football), and a Cairns adventure package with lodging, transportation, and a variety of heart-pounding activities like bungee jumping, giant swinging, river rafting, and tubing are just a few of the potential prizes.
For a chance to win a six-night Caribbean cruise for two with Virgin Voyages, including roundtrip flights to the US, passengers flying this week in the middle seat must be in the middle seat.
The incentive for the next week is one million points plus platinum status for a year in the airline’s Virgin Velocity frequent flyer programme. That may cover numerous roundtrip tickets from Sydney or Melbourne to San Francisco.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka launched the campaign by giving out Virgin Voyages vacations worth nearly $6,000 apiece to gullible middle-seat passengers on a Monday trip from Melbourne to Adelaide. Aisle and window seat holders received 10,000 additional Velocity points.