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Plusgrade launches Dynamic Seat Blocker to address passenger in-flight distancing needs

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New ancillary revenue technology provides airlines with the tools to offer passengers the choice of purchasing additional personal space on an aircraft.

MONTREAL - Plusgrade, a leading ancillary revenue and merchandising platform used by global travel organizations to generate revenue from otherwise unsold inventory, today announced the launch of Dynamic Seat Blocker, elevating how airlines capture incremental revenue, and meet the evolving needs of passengers in a COVID-19 economy. With the launch of Dynamic Seat Blocker, Plusgrade continues to provide revenue recovery tools to help the airline industry rebound by adding a new type of enhanced seating option for additional comfort and space - improving the overall travel experience.

Today, travelers are looking for ways to feel more comfortable about flying again. They are most concerned (65%) about sitting next to someone on the aircraft that is infected, according to a July 2020 IATA Study. This has led to increased accountability for the airline to ensure passenger confidence and mitigate any worry or skepticism. On the other hand, Ancillary Revenue Managers are tasked to drive revenue, now more than ever, in the face of limited demand. Dynamic Seat Blocker provides airlines with a must-have solution that meets both traveler and revenue needs, while building on existing sanitization measures. It offers passengers the ability to purchase an empty seat or row next to them at a fixed price set by the airline, guaranteeing that no one sits next to them - a choice over 31% of travelers said they would purchase on a 2 hour flight*. By doing so, Revenue Managers can maximize revenue opportunities across the entire flight and build more complete and robust long-term ancillary revenue programs that get passengers back on board, today.

“Our world has changed and as an airline, we need to adapt. Dynamic Seat Blocker is the exact innovation we were looking for to ensure that our guests fly confidently,” shared Umesh Chhiber, Senior Vice President of Revenue Optimization & Pricing at Oman Air. "However passengers want to fly, with someone sitting next to them or not, Seat Blocker gives them the power to decide.”

These Dynamic Seat Blocker benefits and capabilities are now available for all of Plusgrade’s airline customers:

Passenger confidence: Provide passengers with the power of choice - block the neighboring seat or the entire row beside them. Eligible travelers select their desired blocked seat(s) directly from the seat map, creating a smooth and more comfortable travel experience.

  • In-flight social distancing: Enable physical distancing across a variety of seat configurations, on both narrow and wide-body aircraft. Provide every travel party type (singles, couples, families) with their ideal journey.
  • Dynamic seat configuration: Automated seat-blocking and business rule configuration adapts seat allocation based on load factor and available inventory.
  • PSS Integration: Integrated directly with the airline's PSS, transactions are seamlessly fulfilled in the reservation system. If the airline is an existing Plusgrade customer, payment and fulfillment are already set up.
  • Turnkey solution: Easy implementation of 4 to 8 weeks for existing Plusgrade partners and new customers, respectively.

"The industry is facing unforeseen challenges that we feel are ripe for solving," said Ken Harris , CEO and Founder of Plusgrade. "Dynamic Seat Blocker puts travelers in control of their experience, gives revenue management teams the tools they need to help their airline recover quickly, and allows airlines to have sustainable solutions well into the future. This is all possible due to recent advancements in predictive data that helped make Dynamic Seat Blocker a reality."

Dynamic Seat Blocker is the newest version of Plusgrade’s existing solution, Neighbor-Free Seat, that has been on the market since 2017. Seven carriers are expected to go live with the new product in the next 30 days including Royal Jordanian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, and Etihad Airways, whose Ancillary Revenue Strategy Manager, Abigael Wanjiru, stated: “We expect this to be one of our greatest ancillary revenue generators moving forward.”


*According to a study conducted in June 2020 by Plusgrade

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