Posted on: 22 January 2016 by Ross McSweeny
tThe Seateroo app, which has just launched in the App Store, uses in-flight connectivity (IFC) to create an online market where passengers can swap seats in exchange for electronic payment during a flight.ttThe philosophy behind the app is that buyers unhappy with their seat location are willing to pay to swap for a desired seat, while sellers, in return for being paid, are willing to swap for a less desired seat.tt“Booking a desired seat is helpful, but passengers still face uncertainty regarding the in-flight behaviour of other passengers,” explained Brad Pursel, founder and president of Seateroo. “Short of eliminating aggravating passenger behaviour, the next best option is to offer passengers an ‘on-demand’ tool to find a more pleasant seat, which may include using the Seateroo app to pay a passenger willing to swap seats.tt“Currently, we are not tied into any airline systems. We are hoping to partner with airlines to expand promotion and the range of rewards for people willing to swap for a less preferred seat,” added Pursel.ttWhen asked how this may negatively impact the role of the cabin crew, who may be unaware of the changes, Pursel responded, “In many instances, we think this will actually make a flight attendant’s job easier as there will theoretically be happier passengers and fewer complaints. Special meal requests is probably a case where someone would either want to not use the app or inform the flight attendants before changing seats.”ttSeateroo conducted a survey in November 2015 on 401 US residents aged between 18 and 65 years old who use mobile device and had travelled at least three times during the previous six months.ttThe results showed that, “On a long flight, 55% indicated that they were moderately to extremely likely to be willing to pay another passenger to swap for a better seat, while 20% indicated that they were moderately to extremely likely to be willing to swap for a less desirable seat in return for being paid.tt“On a short flight, 7% indicated that they were moderately to extremely likely to be willing to pay another passenger to swap for a better seat, while 45% indicated that they were moderately to extremely likely to be willing to swap for a less desirable seat in return for being paid.”ttThe app’s site says the conclusion of the survey is that “the joy from a desirable seat or pain from an undesirable seat is directly correlated to the length of the flight.”ttThe Seateroo app can also be used pre-flight, but passengers are expected to board using their issued boarding passes and then swap once on the plane. It can currently only be used by US residents.