Virgin Australia Middle Seat Sitter Off To The Caribbean

If you happen to travel on a Virgin Australia flight in the next few months and someone asks if you want to swap your middle seat for a window, do yourself a favor and politely decline. Unless it’s swapping with someone happy to share their windfall with you, such as a Virgin Voyages cruise around the Caribbean.

And the winner is….

Lauren and Nick Virgin Australia Middle Seat lottery winners

Photo: Virgin Australia

Fortunately, high-school sweethearts and newlyweds Nick and Lauren Jackson are more than happy to share and are off to the Caribbean as the first winners of Virgin Australia’s Middle Seat Lottery. The recently married couple farm goats on Burndoo Station, 2.5 hours north of Broken Hill, a frontier mining and farming region in the far west of New South Wales, Australia.


As well as being the birthplace of one of the world’s biggest mining companies, BHP, iconic movies such as The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Mad Max 2 were filmed in the area. It is 710 miles (1,143 kilometers) west of Sydney and 318 miles (511 kilometers) north of Adelaide. It’s a long way from the inviting waters of the Caribbean.

Virgin Australia Middle Seat Lottery Winners MSL-7

Photo: Virgin Australia

It happened on the Honeymoon

They set off on their honeymoon a day after the wedding, taking a Virgin Australia (VA) flight to the aqua-blue waters of the Whitsunday Islands when fate played its hand. When the boarding passes on the Boeing 737-800 were handed out, Nick had a middle seat, but Lauren said she knew he wanted the window, so was more than happy to swap. This is how she explains it in a video interview,

“I know Nick loves looking out the window, so I did say to Nick you can have the window seat, and I will just sit in the middle and make friends, I don’t mind that. When we settled in we noticed the corner of a pamphlet sticking up in the seat pocket and it was the middle seat lottery ad, and I thought you have to be in it to win it so why not give it a go.”

Swapping goats for the Caribbean

Virgin Australia Middle Seat Lottery winner Lauren Jackson

Photo: Virgin Australia

The pair, who have already been together for 15 years, has won two premium economy return tickets to Maimi and the Virgin Voyages Caribbean cruise. When the email came in from Virgin Australia telling them they had won a cruise, the couple dismissed it as a scam, but as Virgin persisted, they took it much more seriously. Here is Nick,

“To be honest, we thought it was a scam to start off with. You get so many emails and telephone calls, so when it came through and said you’ve won, we weren’t sure it was true until days after when Lauren was receiving phone calls from Virgin. It’ll be a bloody good holiday, I reckon.”

Virgin Australia Middle Seat Lottery Winners newlyweds5

Photo: Virgin Australia

The couple had planned to marry on a station near the Murray River, but recent flooding put paid to that, so a hastily arranged wedding in Broken Hill became the backdrop for all the excitement that followed. The final word goes to Lauren, who said she can’t really believe it “as this type of thing doesn’t happen to people like us.” But it does, so long as you sit in the middle seat on a VA flight and fill in the entry form.

In a passenger survey, Virgin Australia found that 62% preferred the aisle seat, 35% the window, and 3% didn’t care – there were zero votes for the middle seat. If they do that again and ask Lauren, it will get at least one vote, with her saying:

“I will definitely pick the middle seat next time.”

The Middle Seat Lottery is giving away prizes valued at around AU$230,000 ($155,000) and runs until April 23rd, 2023. So there’s plenty of time to tick the middle seat on your next Virgin Australia flight.

Would this motivate you to choose the middle seat? Let us know in the comments.

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