Sydney-based start-up Seatfrog is hoping to modernise the upgrading process by allowing passengers to bid on last-minute upgrades in an auction process similar to eBay.

The new app, which has attracted some serious industry backing from some of the best and brightest minds in the business – such as former Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey, leading global aviation lawyer Richard Davis, and David Soskin and Sascha Hausmann from London-based venture capital firm Howzat Partners – may be what many flyers have been dreaming of for years.

(Howzat Partners was the investment team behind Trivago, which was bought by Expedia in 2013.)

Designed for truly last-minute buying decisions, Seatfrog will use an auction process similar to eBay that will allow passengers to bid against each on last-minute upgrades across all class categories: from Economy to Premium Economy, and Business to First-class.

Seatfrog will also offer a “buy it now” option for an instant upgrade.

According to Griffin, the idea behind Seatfrog is to make upgrading as easy and painless as possible.

“Upgrading should be effortless, but somehow it’s become complicated. We’re here to change that.”

Iain Griffin, CEO, Seatfrog.


Once a passenger wins an auction, the upgrade will be fully automated and take literally just seconds. Payment will be made within the app and as soon as the upgrade transaction is over a new boarding pass will then be sent straight to your phone that you can then use to hop onto your flight.

Easy peasy.

All that will then be left to do is just sit – or lie – back and relax, perhaps on a Business class flight from Dubai to London with Qantas


On the airlines’ side, it will be they who set the reserve price, helping them make the most of every seat.

“Airlines can manage this with our highly intelligent dashboard where they can create a consistent policy around ancillaries, allowing the automation of rules, from frequent flyer priority to more complex business rules.”

Iain Griffin, CEO, Seatfrog.

According to Seatfrog’s founders, millions of premium-class seats fly empty around the world, costing airlines billions of dollars in lost revenue. By allowing passengers to bid for these unoccupied premium seats, airlines can maximise their profits whilst making their passengers happy.

The app is totally compatible with the global distribution systems used by airlines and won’t cost an airline anything if the seats don’t sell – it’s totally performance based.


Seatfrog is currently in a beta phase and is likely to hit consumers later this year – if all goes well. At this stage it isn’t clear whether Australian carriers have agreed to participate in testing the new app.

Do you think Seatfrog will take off?