If you travel often enough, you"™ll probably be approached by some sad-eyed stranger on your flight who will stand in the aisle, wringing their hands and telling you the most heartbreaking story this side of an Adele song. All they want is to swap seats with you so they can sit beside their husband or their pre-teen or their favorite window on their favorite Airbus. But what do you get out of the deal? Nothing "” at least not until Seateroo launches next month.
The new app wants to make it easier for fliers to facilitate seat swaps, for a price. Seateroo will allow travelers to list their seat on the app and then sell it to a passenger on the same flight. The minimum price will be $5 (which barely gets you a bottle of water in the airport) and the company will take a 15% cut from each sale. Seats can be listed for sale up to five days before the flight date (unless you"™re flying Southwest and then the virtual sales window opens the day before the flight).
According to a survey published on Seateroo"™s blog, 55% of its 401 respondents said they were "moderately to extremely likely" to be willing to pay another passenger to swap seats during a flight that lasted 3.5 hours or more. That number fell to 7% for flights between .5 and 1.5 hours.
Passengers were willing to pay an average of $24 for a short flight to $34 for a long flight to swap from a less desirable seat (read: the middle) to a more desirable one. The average jumped to $53 to move from an economy to a premium seat on a long flight "” although premium passengers indicated that they would like to be paid an average of $79 to move back to the cheap seats.
Of course, some of these trades are at the discretion of the airline…