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Bad Airplane Seat? Now You Can Pay Someone Else to Take It


No one likes to be trapped in a middle seat on an airplane or next to passengers who won't leave you alone. Now, the free market, and the app economy, have figured out a way to solve that problem... so long as you're willing to pay.

Lifestyle, Travel, Airlines,

Flying, which hasn’t been fun for years, is made worse by a bad seat. On a long-haul flight, how much would you pay to move out of your middle seat or get away from a non-stop talker or a frequent farter? That’s the basis for Seateroo, a recently launched app.

Evidently, bad smells can be a byproduct of flying. “A professor from the University of Copenhagen found that the drop in air cabin pressure increases the frequency of flatulence,” says Seateroo. So that explains why the row mate on your last flight tooted his way home.

Seateroo enables you to swap your awful seat with a passenger on the same flight for a fee. Unlike Seatguru and Expertflyer, tools that assist you in selecting the best plane seats before you board, Seateroo helps you get out of the rotten seat you’re otherwise stuck with.

Can’t fold your legs into your mini-sized middle seat? Get claustrophobic sitting in the last row? Worried about noise from the galley waking you up on your overnight flight? With Seateroo, you download the free app, sign-up, offer a price for someone to switch with you and see what happens.

Lifestyle, Travel, Airlines,

Interestingly, Seateroo offers a potential remedy for what the seat charts can’t warn you about: the aggravating passenger in the seat next to you. Is your seat belt buddy too chatty, too chubby, or too malodorous? Now, you can pay to get away from him or her.

Why would someone swap a good seat—aisle, window, upfront—for one that isn’t? Money. Seateroo is pure marketplace. The minimum fee offered to the willing swapper is $5. Seateroo takes 15%. Exit row passengers, Seateroo notes, must swap after receiving permission from a flight attendant who ensures that the swapper can meet exit row requirements.

Prices for swaps vary with the length of the flight and the problems with your seat. According to a Seateroo November survey, the average price passengers would ask to move from a premium seat to an economy seat was $56 for a short flight and $79 for a long flight. But that was the average. Suggested rates came in as low as $30 and as high as $100.

Seateroo lets you post your request five days in advance of your flight except if boarding Southwest Airlines, which does not assign seats. For Southwest seats, post requests one day in advance.

How much would you pay not to have to sit next to an annoying passenger on a short flight and on a long one? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.

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