New app Seateroo lets passengers pay to swap plane seats
If you've ever found yourself stuck in the middle seat on a plane next to a Chatty Cathy and wishing you could move, a new app could provide an escape.
Seateroo, which is set to launch in January, is promising to help passengers improve their seats through a digital marketplace where users can pay to "swap" with other passengers, according to its website.
Users will be able to communicate through the app before boarding the plane, and negotiate the fee from a minimum price of $5 (NZ$7.50), with the company taking a 15 per cent cut of each trade.
Those who end up with superior seats can also list them on the marketplace and set a price, so buyers seeking an upgrade can browse through.
Seateroo is based in Southern California, and is not affiliated with any airline. The app will initially only launch in the US.
According to the company's research, 55 per cent of 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.
Passengers were willing to pay an average of $24 for a short flight and $34 for a long flight to swap from a less desirable seat to a more desirable one.
Seateroo warns that some airlines prohibit seat swaps between economy and premium classes, and that passengers should not attempt to swap for an exit row seat unless given permission to do so by a flight attendant.