Travelers flying from the United States and Canada with Aer Lingus can now bid to upgrade their tickets to business class at low prices.

Passengers flying long-haul with the Irish airline can bid for the lowest possible price, which could be about $408 (€300). Ordinarily these business class flights cost $2,722 (€2,000).

Their offer closes five days before departure. Each passenger will receive an email after booking, inviting them to bid, to upgrade their economy seat. A slider on the upgrade page will allow the passenger to choose what amount they want to pay.

The Aer Lingus web site states, “Make us an offer to upgrade your transatlantic economy booking, and you could be traveling in style in our business cabin.

“You tell us how much you are willing to pay and, if your bid is successful, you can savor the Aer Lingus business class experience on your flight.”

The aim of this passenger auction is to find a price that the airline and the passenger are willing to accept.

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As the company spokesman said, “The aim of the auction is to find a match between how much the customer is willing to pay for an upgrade seat and how little we’re willing to accept.

“These two curves do not always intersect and so there’s no guarantee that a customer will bid successfully, but there’s also nothing lost in trying.

“It’s not aimed at the business traveler who wants the extra comfort of the Business Cabin to work more effectively on board or to arrive fully rested at their destination. That category of customer books business class in the normal manner and is certain of what they’re getting.

“It is aimed at the customer who is willing to treat themselves to the additional luxury at a particular price but is willing to risk not actually getting the upgrade.”