Air Travel

Seateroo User Survey

Market for sale listing - cabin

Seateroo conducted a survey of registered Seateroo users to obtain valuable feedback related to key metrics associated with airline seat swaps. Unlike our passenger survey conducted with the help of SurveyMonkey in 2015, this survey was solely sent to Seateroo users rather than general air travelers. If you are interested in the 2015 survey results of 401 frequent air travelers, then you can read about it here.

Survey Results

Our survey results was based upon 130 responses from Seateroo registered users.

How many flights do you fly annually?

The maximum number of flights flown annually was estimated to be 160. The average for all respondents was 26 flights annually with a median of 18 flights annually.

Would you be more likely to swap seats using an airline-branded seat swap app?

89% of respondents indicated “yes”.

If you were unhappy with the location of your ECONOMY seat, then what is the MAXIMUM amount you would be willing to pay to swap for a better ECONOMY seat?

The price varied based upon the length of the flight. In addition, there was a wide-range of prices offered among respondents for a particular length of flight. For flights of 5 hours or more, the average price was approximately $50. However, approximately 20% of respondents indicated a willingness to pay $81 to $100.

If you were unhappy with the location of your ECONOMY seat, then what is the MAXIMUM amount you would be willing to pay another passenger to swap for a better BUSINESS CLASS or FIRST CLASS seat?

The price varied based upon the length of the flight. For flights of 5 hours or more, the average price was approximately $75. However, approximately 53% of respondents indicated a willingness to pay $81 to $100. We did not ask about prices greater than $100, but if given the choice to do so, presumably a significant percentage of respondents would indicate a willingness to pay a price greater than $100.

How frequently are you UNHAPPY with your seat location or who you are sitting next to?

Based upon the 130 respondents included in our survey, respondents estimated that they were unhappy on over 30% of their flights. [···]

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Passengers Prefer Self-Service to People

Passengers Want Self-Service

Air Passengers Want Self-Service

A new survey indicates that air passengers prefer the self-service options offered through technology over completing the same tasks via airline employees. In fact, 55% of passengers reported using some self-service tech for air travel. According to the “2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey” published on May 28, 2016, airline passengers are now so comfortable with technology – especially their own mobile devices – that airlines and airports must offer passengers both choice as well as control.

Tech + Self-Service = Satisfaction

The survey found that passengers are happiest during the steps in the air travel process which permit the most choice and self-control. For example, at booking, which can be done via PC, mobile, or an agent, 93% of passengers report a positive experience. At the opposite end of the spectrum, passengers reported the most negative emotions are experienced during security screening, which permit the least amount of choice and self-control. [···]

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Minimum Airline Seat Size? No.

Crowded Flights

No Minimum Seat Size Coming

On April 7, 2016, the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal to require the FAA to create minimum seat size and legroom requirements for airlines. As a result, airlines are free to continue shrinking seat size and legroom for air passengers and let “free market” forces determine the seating options for air passengers.

Shrinking Airline Seats

In order to increase the capacity of air passengers on each flight, airlines have shrunk economy class airline seats. In recent years, average economy class seats have shrunk from a width of 18 inches to 16.5 inches. Seat pitch, which is the space between a point on a seat to the same point on the seat in front of it, has shrunk from 35 inches to about 31 inches. Air passengers wanting more room have been required to pay additional fees for “premium” seats.

Nature of the Proposal

Senator Chuck Schumer sponsored an amendment that would have blocked airlines from further reducing the “size, width, padding, and pitch” of seats, passengers’ legroom, and the width of aisles. In addition, the amendment would have also required the FAA to set standards for the minimum amount of space that airlines must provide air passengers. Such space minimums would consider the “safety, health, and comfort” of air passengers.

The proposal also would have led to more transparent communications by airlines of the size of their seats. Specifically, airline websites would have had to communicate the size of an airlines’ seats, which would enable consumers to consider such information when buying airline tickets.

The Vote

Airlines have lobbied heavily against any mandates related to minimum seat size or seat pitch. Instead, airlines have argued that competition, not regulation, should determine the seat options (including sizes) available for air passengers.

The proposal failed by a vote of 42 for and 54 against, which reflected votes in favor by all but three Democrats and votes against by all but one Republican. Opponents of the proposal were largely based upon a rationale that seat size regulations would increase travel costs and limit travel options.


People are getting bigger, but airline seats are getting smaller. Proponents of increased regulation related to mandated minimum seat sizes believe that consumers are entitled to certain minimum standards related to comfort and safety. However, opponents argue that the disadvantages of increased regulation – fewer consumer options and potentially higher travel costs – outweigh the advantages. For U.S. consumers, based upon the recent vote in the Senate, no minimum seat sizes should be expected at any time soon. As a result, when searching for flights, consumers need to be aware of the differences in seat sizes when choosing among flights and cabins.

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In-Flight Wi-Fi Speeds

In-Flight Wi-Fi

In-Flight Wi-Fi

When it comes to in-flight Wi-Fi, availability, cost, and quality can vary significantly from airline-to-airline and flight-to-flight. Especially among business travelers, the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi is relatively nominal in order to be able to use air travel time productively.

For airlines, the quality of in-flight availability has the potential to provide not only an additional source of ancillary revenues, but also a differentiating factor. Fortunately, airlines have the ability to leverage contract terms to push in-flight Wi-Fi providers to enhance the quality of service, including Wi-Fi speeds.

One crowdsourced data service, the Wi-Fly app, has emerged that will actually enable passengers to compare the speed of Wi-Fi by flight. Users simply open the app during air travel, enter the flight information, and the app will measure the Wi-Fi speed. Given that not all in-flight Wi-Fi services are the same, this crowdsourcing data can provide a valuable source of data for both airlines as well as air travelers.


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Seateroo Joins APEX



Seateroo is pleased to announced that it has become a member of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).  APEX is a network of the world’s leading airlines, suppliers and related companies committed to elevating the level of the airline passenger experience. APEX offers members a wide range of opportunities to excel in the airline passenger experience industry by keeping them current with the latest industry news, trends and developments and by helping them develop relationships with clients and colleagues from around the world.

More information on APEX is available here.

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Seateroo Advisor on the Today Show

Sara Keagle, a member of the Seateroo Board of Advisors, shared her travel knowledge in a January 18, 2016 appearance on the Today Show. Watch it here.

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Airline Auctions Arrive

Airline Auctions

Airline Auctions

Airlines are known to leave no stone unturned in seeking additional revenue streams (generally referred to as ancillary revenue), especially those with little to no cost. Airline auctions are a new tool being used by airlines to sell upgraded seats to the highest bidder in the days prior to a flight departure. As compared to simply giving such upgrades away to passengers based upon frequent flier status, airline auctions provide an immediate boost to revenues and profits.

Airline Auctions Explained

Premium airline seats often come with extremely high fares, which often results in such seats going unsold. As a result, airlines seek ways to fill these seats, including by offering upgrades to passengers who have purchased economy or other non-premium seats. Airline auctions involve the sale of upgraded seats, which may include first class, business class and premium coach seats. In addition, some airlines have even offered passengers the ability to purchase a seat next to an empty seat, offering what could be termed “neighbor-free” seating. [···]

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Last Minute Air Travel

Last Minute

Last Minute Air Travel

Last minute air travel leads leads to fewer seat options and, typically, higher air fare costs. Almost 1 out of 5 online searches for air travel were for last minute air travel during the 3rd quarter of 2015, according to a recent report.

Last Minute Air Travel Defined

“Last minute” in this context is defined as travel departing within 7 days from the date of booking. Not surprisingly, due to the sometimes uncertain timing for business, business travelers comprise the majority of business travelers. For example, through the first two quarters of 2015, 56% and 73% of all last minute air travel bookings were made by business travelers.

In addition, last minute air travel is primarily made for solo travelers. During the 3rd quarter of 2015, searches for last minute air travel for solo travelers comprised the majority of searches by region: North America (72%); Latin America (71%); Europe (68%); Middle East (75%); and Asia-Pacific (75%).

Last Minute Air Travel Frequency

During the 3rd quarter of 2015, 19% of online searches for airfare in North America were for last minute air travel.  This was higher than the level for the 1st and 2nd quarter, which was 16% and 15%, respectively. [···]

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Survey on Airline Seat Swaps

Seat Swaps

Crowded Flights

Airline seat swaps occur regularly during commercial air travel. Air travelers are willing to pay or be paid to swap seats with other travelers, according to survey results released today. Air travelers sitting in a less desirable seat are willing to pay other travelers to swap for a more desirable seat. Similarly, in return for receiving payment, air travelers are willing to swap from a more desirable seat to a less desirable seat.

Airline Seat Swaps: Survey Overview

Presented below is an overview of the survey on airline seat swaps.

Survey Respondents

Seateroo hired SurveyMonkey to survey U.S. residents aged 18 to 65 years old who are mobile device users and had traveled via commercial airline at least 3 times during the previous 6 months. SurveyMonkey gathered responses from 401 respondents meeting the above criteria during the week of November 15-19, 2015. The margin for error based upon this sample size is +/- 5%.

Survey Design

Based upon prior studies related to air traveler preferences and complaints, we made certain underlying assumptions regarding the types of airline seats and situations that air travelers consider to be either more desirable or less desirable, respectively. Specifically, the airline seat swaps survey included the following assumptions:

  • Aisle and window seats are more desirable than middle seats;
  • Seats closer to the front are more desirable than seats towards the back;
  • Seats closer to family, friends, or colleagues are more desirable than seats next to strangers;
  • Seats in a premium seating section (i.e., business or first class) are more desirable than economy seats; and
  • Seats near quiet passengers are more desirable than seats near crying children, loud talkers, or other potentially annoying air travelers.


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Airplane Etiquette 2015 Study

Rear seat-kickers are the most annoying passengers in America, according to an Expedia study published on November 10, 2015.



Airplane Etiquette Study

Expedia’s airplane etiquette survey was based upon questions posed to 1,000 U.S. adults during August 2015. Expedia previously conducted a similar study during 2014. In addition to generating a list of the top complaints related to air passenger behavior, the study also revealed the actions taken (and not taken) by passengers in reaction to annoying passenger behavior. Lastly, the study provided insight into air passengers preferred level of interaction with fellow passengers.

Most Annoying Air Passenger Behavior

For the second year in a row, rear seat-kicker ranked as the most annoying air passenger behavior. The annoying behaviors were ranked in terms of the frequency of being named by the survey respondents. Below is the list of annoying behaviors and frequency the behavior was mentioned in the survey. [···]

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