Getting the perfect seat on a plane can be a real battle but with a new app, you can pay for your in-flight comfort. Called Seateroo, the app allows users to purchase the seat of their choice off of someone or to sell their seat for a few extra bucks.
"Apps have greatly enhanced the travel experience for many," said Brad Pursel, Founder and President of Seateroo. "I believe that Seateroo has the potential to become a travel app that is used widely by those traveling by air for business or pleasure. After all, on almost any flight, there are going to be both people who wish they had a better seat as well as others who would like to save money on travel."
To start the process, the user has to download the iOS app, which is not affiliated with any airline, and select their flight. Then they input their seat number, designate a price for their seat, and see if anyone has interest in paying for their spot. Should a user want to change their seat, then they enter the seat position they want (say, aisle) and seating section (e.g. front, middle, back). Then, they can browse the market to see what their options are and how much it will cost.
All payments are made electronically and Seateroo takes a 15 percent cut of the price. It should be noted that the seat change will not take effect in an official capacity (read: it won’t show up on your boarding pass) but the seat swap will go down boarding, either before or after take-off. For those concerned about government regulations, the app explains: “Regulations require that each airline maintain a record of who boards a flight, but does not require that a passenger sit in a particular seat. Otherwise, Southwest Airlines could not offer unassigned seating.”
Last year, the San Diego-based startup commissioned a survey from SurveyMonkey to see the attitudes of travelers. Some of the findings were intuitive: aisle and window seats are more desirables, seats towards the front are more coveted than those in the back, people prefer to sit near people they know than strangers, and people want to sit near quiet passengers. As for whether people would pay for a better seat, 55 percent of those surveyed said they would be moderately to extremely likely to pay for a better seat on a long flight.
Conceptually, the app has a unique idea that most travelers will be on board for. That said, the success of the app will likely rely on how many users download the app and actually use it to swap seats.