Awesome Travel Hack That Turned Economy Seats into a Flat Bed For Two


Ever watch those commercials for Singapore or Emirates Airlines with beautiful people sleeping on luxurious beds while flying across time zones? Jason Blum, a film producer known for the Paranormal Activity franchise, figured out a way to get ‘er done without paying over $10,000 a seat, via Businessweek.:

When Jason Blum and his wife flew to Morocco last year, they could have gone first class. The cost, though, was $22,000. And Blum, possibly the most profitable movie producer in Hollywood, never pays full price when a cheaper alternative will do.

Instead, Blum bought a row of seats in coach for $1,800. He obtained the measurements of the legroom void in front of these seats and had a custom, trapezoidal air mattress built for $500. He packed this contraption into his carry-on. Once airborne, he inflated it, creating a combined seat/air-mattress surface large enough to sleep next to his wife. Estimated savings: $19,700.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any photos by Blum. It was probably similar to the SkyCouch from Air New Zealand:



But that has very limited availability, so I think it’d be cool if he started selling those custom air mattresses to the rest of us!


  1. Eugene Franco says:

    The airline has the right to resell a seat to anyone traveling standby if the person who purchased the seat does not show up. I’ve seen it done. So I don’t know how this would work, unless you wanted to gamble each time.

    • He did show up though. If I buy one, two, or x amount of seats and do not show then of course the airline can resell them. If I do show up, then they cannot. If they can resell my extra one seat, because I bought two, then they could sell both of them. Your statement contradicts itself. He showed up, so regardless of the quantity purchased he has the right to any and all seats he purchased.

      • Eugene Franco says:

        Paul, the statement is not contradictory.

        On the airline I regularly used to fly, AirTran, it was prohibited to purchase more than one seat for personal space. On other airlines they prohibit it probably since the cost of three coach class seats is often way less than a pair of first class tickets for the same exact amount of space (though no alcoholic beverages are included).

        Some couples thought they were more intelligent than the contract of carriage and would purchase a middle seat for a phantom person and actually take a copy of the boarding pass with them and claim that the person had just missed the plane.

        Little did they know that the contract of carriage allows the resale of the seat should the person ticketed not meet the check-in deadline, to a standby flier.

        As I said in the post right after, if you fly on an airline that allows a single person to purchase multiple seats, which is becoming a larger percentage of the carriers each day because of the obesity epidemic in America, then this might work.

        • Honest Rob says:

          That’s patently false nowadays. My brother is a fat dude and he buys a whole row constantly.
          Newer once in 7 years of him flying like this has he ever had a seat “sold” out from underneath him.
          Delta, United, AA, Southwest, Jetblue – he has flown them all without a problem. (he’s watching the game next to me so I asked him)

          Airtran was a skybus no frill airline and i bet they still accommodated overweight folks who bought multiple seats.
          Discrimination otherwise.

  2. Eugene Franco says:

    Or alternatively, you would have to fly on airline that allows a single person to purchase multiple seats.

    Thanks to the obesity epidemic in America, most domestic carriers now allow this since some travelers spill over to a second seat anyhow. Not sure about foreign carriers.

  3. @Eugene – I think that the DID pay for the ~3 seats necessary for the whole row. At $600 each, sounds reasonable. I don’t think an airline would blink at two people buying three seats.

    However, he probably would get some disapproving stares from flight attendants. And, they probably would have a right to tell him he couldn’t use it (Say if the seatbelt light comes on, how long would it take him to deflate the contraption and get back into a buckled seat?).

    I really am one for travel hacks – this one takes it too far.

    • I see people sleeping across seats all the time on empty, long flights. Just usually one person across three seat row. The hack here is that this way you can fit two people on three seats and guarantee the space.

  4. Jonathan, sorry, but this is just b.s. Three roundtrip tickets to Morocco for 1800? A _custom made_ trapezoidal air mattress for $500? What about the seat belt rules (as the previous commenter noted)? What about the seats in from of him reclining into his space?

    Probably a good stunt, but not a realistic scenario by any stretch of imagination.

    • A quick search shows that a flight NYC to Tangier can be had for $900 depending schedule today. Within the last 5 years depending on fuel prices, I don’t think $600 is impossible.

      People sleep across three seats all the time on long redeye flights. As long as there isn’t severe turbulence the flight attendants won’t bother you. I imagine can also usually fit the middle seat belt around you loosely even in such a position.

  5. publicity stunt

  6. Where do you find a roundtrip ticket to Morocco for $600? How do you support the air mattress? I can’t imagine that security let him bring on legs or a stand to place the mattress on. And since when is three seats enough space to lie down on, assuming you’re over 4 feet tall?

    • I found JFK to TNG for $867 today, this story could be years ago so $600 sounds feasible. Even if $900 does it really matter?

      The air mattress is trapezoidal so it supports itself. Think triangle with top lopped off. The wide base provides support.

      To fit, you bend your knees slightly while laying on your side. I’ve seen so many people do this…

      I’m not him so I don’t know if it actually happened, but I really don’t see anything about this story that is so hard to believe. If you look at the Skycouch pic and link, this is exactly what Air New Zealand is trying to sell people these days with custom seats.

    • I flew Tampa Fl to Morroco on British Airways about a year ago for $800 and some change. I’ve would imagine you can score a ticket for cheaper closer to Morrocco. KLM recently had a sale NYC to Nairobi for $700. A few years ago I got a ticket Tampa to Copenhagen on KLM for $660.

  7. Here’s a picture of two people sleeping across three seats:

  8. As a flight attendant for a major airline, I can tell you this would be a waste of money. You may be able to get away with this on a foreign airline, but not on a US carrier. Buying an extra seat is a great idea (this does happen on occasion and no, we cannot sell the seat to a standby passenger). But any kind of contraption like this would not be authorized by the FAA. Heck, we don’t let people have their laptops in the seatback pocket for take off and landing. An air mattress? Great idea in theory, but not realistic. Sorry 🙁

  9. Agree with Jen, I’m sure they won’t allow it based on it being an obstruction during emergency situations. Don’t think you’ll be able to stow the mattress under the seat in front of you 😉

  10. In 2010 my SQ Houston – Moscow 12 hours flight was half empty. I got a whole row (3 seats) for myself. Once the plane took off and buckle-up sign went off, the seat became a comfortable bed for a 5.4 ft me. Flight attendant let me sleep like a baby.

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