To make up for revenue lost by blocking off the middle seat, low-cost carriers would have to hike up the price of tickets. Image: istock.com/Alan Morris via AFP Relaxnews

Industry experts predict that to make up for the empty middle seat — a casualty of social distancing requirements in the age of COVID-19 — passengers flying low-cost carriers would need to pay 50% more than they do now to fill the revenue gap.

That’s according to a blog post from OAG, a British global travel data provider.

After low-cost carrier EasyJet projected the possibility of leaving the middle seat empty in the era of post-coronavirus travel, OAG crunched the numbers and found that every passenger would need to pony up 52% more than current plane tickets for no-frills airlines.

To come up with that figure, experts identified the average yield per passenger on five of the largest low-cost airlines in the world and calculated the requirement to retain the same levels of revenue.

But that kind of price mark-up defeats the whole business model of the low-cost airline, which offers lower airfares by squeezing in as many seats as possible into a cabin.

To adhere to social distancing rules, airlines like JetBlue, United, Alaska and American Airlines have also limited the number of seats for sale or temporarily blocked off the middle seat. RGA

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