Qantas now lets customers pay to get an empty seat next to them

Qantas economy class seating.
Qantas economy class seating. Photo credit: Supplied

Qantas is now offering a 'Neighbour Free' option that allows customers to pay to block anyone from sitting in the seat next to them.

Pricing will start at AU$30, but the airline said it will vary on each flight. A customer who flew from Perth and Brisbane reported it cost AU$60 to Executive Traveller.

Other airlines already offer the option of ensuring there's an empty seat beside you, often as a perk of either premium priced tickets or membership of a frequent flyer programme.

Air New Zealand, for example, offers a 'neighbour free guarantee' with Works Deluxe airfares on trans-Tasman flights.

Qantas is currently trialling the service on select Australian domestic flights.

"Neighbour Free gives you more space to relax in economy. When you reserve Neighbour Free, the seat next to you remains free throughout your flight," Qantas said on its website.

"Availability is limited, so make sure you reserve your seat early."

Customers on upcoming Qantas domestic flights where the service is available will be emailed an invitation to buy it 48 hours before departure.

The airline said it will only accept credit and debit cards for payment - not travel credit or the AU$50 vouchers it recently awarded customers after a series of delays and bungles.

Qantas also advises Neighbour Free doesn't 100 percent guarantee an empty seat next to you "as seats may need to be changed for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft".