surveys

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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Reclining Airline Seats and You

Reclining Airline Seats
Reclining Airline Seats

Passengers flying economy are faced with smaller seats with less space between seats (called seat pitch). In this cabin environment, reclining airline seats significantly can greatly reduce the space for the passenger sitting behind the reclining passenger.  A survey of international flight attendants indicated that over 60% had been involved in, or witness to, an argument between passengers on the subject of reclined seats. Is the end near for reclining airline seats?

Opinions on Seat Reclining

There are passengers that are pro- and anti-seat reclining. For the pro-reclining passengers, the rationale is fairly simple: the airlines offer reclining seats and anyone can choose to recline or not to recline as desired. In addition, particularly on longer flights, some passengers indicate that a reclining airline seat is the difference between being able to sleep and staying awake.

The anti-reclining passengers point out that the ability to recline should not outweigh the fact that the airlines have significantly reduced the pitch between seats, especially in the economy section. In addition, for taller passengers and/or passengers working on laptops, they have a right to be comfortable which is not guaranteed by also electing to recline their seats. [···]

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