It's Obvious Why Passengers Refused Fab.com CEO's $100 Bribe To Switch Seats On A Plane

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jason goldberg, Bradford Shane Shellhammer, fab, fab.com, december 2011, bi, dng

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Bradford Shellhammer and Jason Goldberg

Earlier today we told you about Fab.com founder/CEO Jason Goldberg's annoyance at his fellow passengers for refusing to switch seats on a plane from Stockholm to Newark even when he offered them $100 to do so.

Goldberg has yet to get back to us on the issue of why he thought it was unreasonable for his fellow passengers not to move so he and a colleague could sit together. He has suggested, on Facebook, that his fellow travelers' reasons for declining his money were bogus — they told him they wanted to be near family, but in the event didn't talk much to each other.

Jim Edwards / BI

But we've created a speculative, tongue-in-cheek reconstruction of the event which shows an obvious reason Goldberg and his colleague, chief design officer Bradford Shellhammer, didn't get their way earlier this morning in Sweden. We don't know this for a proven fact. But we can make some educated guesses about what caused today's events.

Just to emphasize — because some readers appear to be taking this very minor incident much too seriously — this is just for fun. Everyone hates flying. Haven't we all vented like Goldberg at one point or another?

First, it's important to establish that as Goldberg says he wanted to switch the occupants of seats 1F and 2F, this almost certainly puts him on an SAS Airbus A330-300 wide body jet, which has seat rows that are six wide. United and KLM also fly from Stockholm to Newark, but the SAS flight appears to match the window of Goldberg's posts.

Using an Airbus A330-300 seat plan (which has a six-wide seating arrangement similar to KLM and United), and Goldberg's own Facebook posts, we get this scenario:

Goldberg was probably in 1F, judging by his Facebook posts. He wanted to switch with the guy behind him in 2F. It's not clear where Shellhammer was sitting, but we know it wasn't in 1E, because that man also refused to move. Goldberg writes "1E than [sic] says he needs to sit in close proximity to his family in 1A and 1B. Grrr."

So we can presume that Shellhammer was in 2E. If you've picked 1E — front row, aisle — do you really want to move to the window seat? People tend to have strong aisle/window preferences. (United's Airbus has a four-wide seating system, with seats C-D ommited, so the seat sequence goes A, B, E, F. But you get the same overal results.)

Second, he's offering only $100. This is a nine and a half hour flight — 10 hours or more including all the taxi-ing and deplaning. No one likes flying long distance. But Goldberg is basically offering his passengers the equivalent of $10 an hour to sit in worse seats. They'd make more money tending bar.

Goldberg doesn't appear to realize that he's way off, price-wise. Business class tickets between Stockholm and Newark can cost up to $7,000 or more. After you've paid that, who is going to accept $100 to get a second-choice seat?



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