I want to travel conveniently from Darwin to Sydney. For an empty seat next to me, I am happy to purchase another ticket.

Do airlines allow a passenger manifest with two similar names? Am unable to find an airline which guarantees the seating to be next to me. How do I go about booking an extra seat for myself where the extra seat is guaranteed to be next to my seat?

  • 8
    Do Not Just book two tickets for yourself online, on most airlines the second one will be cancelled at some point before boarding, viewed as a no-show! You need to speak to the airline, at explain clearly what you want. On BA it's called a "comfort seat", other airlines have similar names
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 9:45
  • 3
    Isn't there business class on this route?
    – Calchas
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 12:19
  • 1
    I edited my answer with cxagentscanada.com/content/pdf/GDS_EXST_entry_20120417.pdf this rather important and interesting document.
    – user4188
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 7:02

4 Answers 4


Although others answered similarly it does not seem they had first hand experience, well, I do. I called the airline, Norwegian in this case and they didn't bat an eye. I got a reservation for two seats, one for say Smith/John (me) and one for Smith/Exst (short for extra seat). I have no idea what they would do if someone with the given name Exst would show up.

This EXST seems to be the practice for Cathay Pacific as well and this document very strongly suggests it is a GDS thing ie not airline specific.

And I was able to reserve specific seats for John and Exst both :) which on Norwegian long haul is really badly important because there is only one bulkhead seat pair which can lift the armrest: 6D and 6E. Look carefully at the image below from The Points Guy blog and you can see the unmoving armrests for the bulkhead seats and on the bottom right although a bit dark you can clearly see the normal armrest, that's 6D-6E:

Norwegian bulkhead seats

  • When you do this, it's usually a good idea to mention to the Agent that you have an extra seat booked or listen for cabin announcements. If your scan doesn't on both seats, they might give it away as a no-show.
    – DTRT
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 17:35

Call the airline direct, tell the reservation agent what you are buying it for and ask them to make a note in your booking record that both seats need to be assigned together.

Airlines allow similar names on a manifest, my dad & I have similar names (same first & Last, same middle initial, but different middle names) and travel together. Online seat selection was the only place we ran into issues with as it didn't like the same name next to itself, but calling direct made it happen.

  • So, would you be able to check-in for both seats? I wonder if they wouldn't cancel one of the tickets if the names don't match?
    – Chris
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 3:24
  • 4
    The notes the ticketing agent makes about your booking stay with the reservation, so everyone involved at any stage will be able to reference them. You are not the first person to buy an extra seat, people do it for privacy, for obesity, etc.
    – user13044
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 3:49

It will depend on the airline for sure, you need to call them or read around on their web site.

Southwest for example has that process explained on their website (look for 'person of size', but you do not actually need to be that). You even get the money for the extra seat back if the flight turns out to be not full.


As others have wisely suggested, you should call the airline. Since you are flying a domestic Australian route the chances are high that you will be on Quantas airlines. Here is their relevant FAQ. This includes links to their customer support contact page. They will be happy to sell you the extra seat!


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