Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - What is SeatGuru and How Does It Work?
SeatGuru is an invaluable resource for travelers looking to pick the perfect seat on their next flight. This nifty website and app provides detailed seat maps and reviews for thousands of aircraft across hundreds of different airlines.
With SeatGuru, you can easily look up the specific plane you'll be flying on and see how other travelers have rated each seat. It provides info on seat width, legroom, movable armrests, proximity to lavatories, and more. You'll know which seats to target and which to avoid when booking your flight.
SeatGuru works by compiling traveler reviews and feedback alongside technical seat specifications provided by airlines. The site was founded by TripAdvisor co-founder Sacha Wunsch in 2001 and acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008.
To use SeatGuru, simply search for your airline and flight number or aircraft type. You'll see a color-coded seat map pop up, with green indicating good seats, yellow indicating average seats, and red indicating poor seats. Hover over any seat for details on specs and traveler ratings.
For example, a seat rated "green" may have extra legroom, a movable armrest, and a window view. A "red" seat could have limited recline, be near a noisy galley, and be missing a window. Traveler comments on each seat are also shown.
SeatGuru doesn't actually assign the colors itself. They come from thousands of reviews entered by people who have flown in that seat on that aircraft. So the colors truly reflect real-world experiences from frequent flyers.
When picking a seat, consider your priorities. Want legroom? Aim for exit rows. Love windows? Grab a window over the wing. Traveling with a companion? Check for paired seats. The color coding makes it easy to identify seats that fit your preferences.
SeatGuru also notes which seats may have extra fees. Many airlines now charge extra for preferred seats near the front or with extra legroom. SeatGuru clearly marks these so you can weigh the costs and benefits.
The site provides tips tailored to different types of travelers too. For families, it recommends aisle seats in later rows for easy bathroom access. For tall travelers, exit rows and bulkheads are highlighted. For nervous fliers, seats over the wing near flight attendants are suggested.
SeatGuru can be used for both domestic and international flights on dozens of airlines. It's available on both desktop and mobile too. The app lets you download maps for offline use while flying.
What else is in this post?
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - What is SeatGuru and How Does It Work?
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Choosing Seats Based on Your Preferences
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Avoiding the Worst Seats on the Plane
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Finding Seats with Extra Legroom
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Getting Seats Near the Front for Quick Deplaning
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Picking Bulkhead and Exit Row Seats
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Understanding Airline Specific Seat Features
- Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Using SeatGuru for International Flights
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Choosing Seats Based on Your Preferences
When booking a flight, choosing the right seat can make all the difference in your in-flight experience. With the help of SeatGuru, you can select seats tailored to your personal preferences so you're as comfortable as possible while in the air. Whether you want extra legroom, a window view, aisle access, or a spot near the front, SeatGuru has you covered.
For tall travelers or those who simply value personal space, exit row and bulkhead seats are prized real estate. They offer the most legroom on the plane, with some seats having up to 10 extra inches compared to regular economy seats. This allows you to stretch out without your knees hitting the seat in front of you. Bulkheads do have tradeoffs, like no under-seat storage and missing TV screens, but the legroom is worth it for many fliers. SeatGuru clearly labels emergency exit and bulkhead seats on its maps so you can easily find these seats when booking.
Avid readers, daydreamers, and sightseers will want to grab a window seat for gazing at clouds and cityscapes from above. Make sure to check SeatGuru first though, as not all window seats are created equal. Some windows can be misaligned or missing entirely due to emergency exit doors. Seats directly at the wing also tend to have obstructed views. For the best vistas, aim for window seats in front of or behind the wings.
For families and companions traveling together, opting for paired seats can make for a smoother journey. Many airlines block off certain seats to accommodate groups. SeatGuru indicates where these seat pairs are located, though you'll want to double check on the airline's site that they're still available when booking. Choosing seats together means you can help each other with bags, easily chat, and keep kids entertained.
Those who need frequent lavatory access should avoid window seats and aim for aisles instead. With aisle seats, you can get up without needing others to move and won't have to climb over your row-mates when nature calls. Be aware, though, that aisle seats also have more foot traffic and less privacy. Check SeatGuru for pro tips on choosing the most convenient aisle seats for your flight.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Avoiding the Worst Seats on the Plane
While scoring a window seat or extra legroom is airline seat selection nirvana, nothing sours the in-flight experience faster than getting stuck in one of the worst seats on the plane. With help from SeatGuru, you can dodge the most dreaded seats that frequent flyers agree spell discomfort. Trust us, no one wants to spend hours jammed into a cramped middle seat that won’t recline or trapped next to a noisy galley. Avoid these seat pitfalls, and your flight will feel that much smoother.
First, steer clear of any middle seat, especially in the middle section. There’s a reason the classic airplane etiquette of calling “dibs” on window or aisle seats exists - no one wants to be sandwiched in the middle if they can avoid it. Middle seats mean painful games of elbow wars with your seatmates all flight long. It also means both your neighbors likely need to get up to use the restroom, forcing you to unbuckle and shimmy out of the way each time. Middle seats typically don’t offer much wiggle room either thanks to confined armrests. Unless you’re traveling with companions, skip middle seats at all costs.
You’ll also want to avoid seats in the very last row, or those directly in front of it. These spots seem to attract particularly active kickers, since there's no seat behind to get kicked by. SeatGuru user reviews for these seats are rife with complaints of constant seat back kicking and jostling throughout flights. There's simply no escaping it. If you want to avoid being a kick bag for antsy kids or restless adults, steer clear of the back section.
While bulkhead seats boast extra legroom, they come with significant disadvantages too. Chief among them is the inability to store personal items under the seat in front of you, since there is no seat there. This forces you to cram bags in overhead bins a long distance from your seat. Bulkhead seats also often lack tray tables, in-flight entertainment screens, and a full recline mechanism. Unless you absolutely need the legroom, pass on bulkheads.
Bathrooms and galleys equal annoyances as well. Seats in the immediate vicinity of lavatories and galleys see constant foot traffic, flush sounds, odor, and noise from the flight crew. Galley areas in particular involve slamming doors, meal prep sounds, chattering attendants, and of course that dreaded beverage cart bumping into knees and toes. Sit just a few rows away and you'll be much happier.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Finding Seats with Extra Legroom
Scoring a seat with extra legroom should be top priority for taller travelers, or really anyone who values comfort and personal space while flying. There’s simply nothing worse than spending hours with your knees jammed into the seat in front of you, unable to even do a little stretch. Luckily, airlines do offer select seats with a few extra precious inches of legroom to make flying more bearable. With help from SeatGuru, finding and booking these seats is easy - you just have to know where to look.
First, keep an eye out for exit row seats, usually labeled as “emergency exit” on seat maps. These seats have several extra inches of legroom compared to standard seats, allowing even taller flyers to stretch out. Many airlines block exit row seats for passengers with mobility issues, so you may have to pay a fee. But for some, the extra cost is well worth the added comfort. Just be aware that exit row seats don’t recline and lack under-seat storage since they need to leave clearance for emergency evacuations.
Bulkhead seats are another prime option, especially in economy class. Like exit rows, they offer extended legroom since there’s no seat directly in front. You can really stretch your legs out without constantly banging your knees on the seat back tray. Just be prepared for reduced under-seat storage space and potentially missing TV screens or tray tables in some bulkhead seats. You’ll have to stash bags further overhead.
If you don’t snag an exit row or bulkhead, your next best bet is the first 1-2 economy rows. While they don’t have quite as much legroom as exit rows or bulkheads, these seats still typically offer an extra inch or two. Since they’re right behind premium economy or business class, some of that generous legroom spills over. You’ll be able to cross your legs and shift positions without constantly grazing the seat in front of you.
For identifying all these prime legroom seats, SeatGuru is indispensable. The interactive seat maps clearly label emergency exits and bulkheads in green, making them easy to spot. And user reviews warn if seats have cramped legroom vs. extended space.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Getting Seats Near the Front for Quick Deplaning
Eager to bolt off the plane as soon as humanly possible? You’re not alone. Snagging seats near the front to be among the first passengers off is a pro traveler move, especially when trying to make a tight connection or avoid baggage claim crowds. But be warned - airlines often restrict front-cabin seating for elite frequent fliers only.
According to SeatGuru, the first few rows of coach are your golden tickets for deplaning first. This includes bulkhead rows along with the initial 1-5 rows depending on aircraft size. Exit rows can also work, though you may need to vault over bags left in front of emergency doors. The key advantage of front seats is that you’ll be ahead of that painfully slow mid-cabin deplaning once the plane reaches the gate. No need to anxiously wait as travelers retrieve bags and shuffle along.
Now most airlines - including American, United, Delta and Alaska - reserve these prime front seats for elite frequent flier members. So unless you have elite status, snagging one of the first few rows can be tough. But it never hurts to check when booking just in case they stay open. Set alerts in case the seats become available later too. You can use SeatGuru’s color coded maps to identify which rows typically go to elites vs. regular passengers.
If you strike out up front, then opting for the exit row is your next best bet. The extra legroom is nice, but more importantly you’ll be among the very first passengers off the plane since exits debark first for safety. SeatGuru marks all exit row seats clearly making them easy to find. Do keep in mind you may pay an extra exit row seat fee.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Picking Bulkhead and Exit Row Seats
Getting stuck in a cramped seat on a long flight can really put a damper on your whole trip. But savvy travelers know that scoring bulkhead or exit row seats is the key to stretching your legs and traveling in comfort, even in economy. While these prime seats don’t come for free, they’re often worth paying extra for – especially on red-eyes or international journeys.
First up: exit rows. These seats have the most legroom on the entire plane, often with over 10 inches of extra space compared to standard economy seats. We’re talking full-on legs outstretched relaxation without even grazing the seat in front of you. Exit rows are located nearest emergency doors, usually just behind first/business class or at mid-cabin doors. With the ample room, even the tallest travelers can cross legs and shift positions freely without the dreaded knees-in-your-chin feeling.
Since they need to be kept clear in emergencies, exit row seats don’t recline and lack under-seat storage. But frequent fliers agree the literal legroom is well worth the tradeoff. Solo travelers in particular love having their own bubble of personal space. Some exit row seats even come with extra padding and width, making them closer to domestic first-class seats.
Just be prepared to shell out for the legroom luxury. Most airlines charge at least $50 extra per flight for exit row seats, sometimes as high as $150 each way. Prices vary based on route and demand. SeatGuru clearly marks exit rows so you can weigh the costs vs. benefits. Pro tip: if your preferred exit row is sold out, check back often as seats sometimes open up last minute. Set alerts too.
Bulkhead seats offer similarly generous dimensions thanks to no seat directly ahead, though legroom inches vary. You’ll be able to fully stretch without even coming close to banging knees. Bulkhead seats located in front of solid walls are the winners for legroom. But beware of tradeoffs like greatly reduced under-seat storage, or missing tray tables on certain aircraft.
Some bulkhead seats have another downside: seat-arm TV screens and on-board power can be absent, as they are attached to the seat in front of you. So check SeatGuru for your specific aircraft. While bulkheads don’t command the steep fees of exit rows, they still cost extra – usually an additional $25-$40 each way. Again, budget travelers argue it’s worth it.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Understanding Airline Specific Seat Features
Understanding the unique seat features of your preferred airline is key to choosing the optimal spot to rest your behind on your next flight. Each carrier has quirks that impact the passenger experience, from varying seat sizes and legroom to the availability of power outlets and entertainment. Doing your homework on airline-specific seat features ensures no surprises and helps you pick the right seat on the right aircraft.
Let’s start with seat sizes, which unfortunately continue to shrink on some airlines as profit pressures mount. Butt-pinchers like Spirit and Frontier have notoriously snug seats, while carriers like JetBlue and Virgin pack in more cushion. SeatGuru provides detailed dimensions for each airline and plane type. For larger travelers, an inch or two makes a big difference. Legroom also varies significantly – airlines like Allegiant and Spirit have painfully cramped rows, while JetBlue and Delta offer a bit more space to maneuver. Again, know your aircraft.
Power outlet access is another key point. On United, only select economy seats have outlets, so opt for Premier Access seats if you need juice. Delta reserves outlets for first class on certain jets. Southwest has no inflight power. But on American, all seats have plugs on newer planes. For entertainment screens, American and United boast seatback screens on most aircraft, while Southwest still lacks them entirely. Delta reserves seatback screens for first class on many jets. This matters if you want to stream your own content.
Also look at which cabins get priority for upgrades. On American, almost all economy seats except basic economy qualify, while on United only select economy fare classes are eligible. Delta prioritizes Comfort+ for upgrades over standard economy. Knowing your chances is useful when weighing fare costs.
Row numbering and seat letters can also be airline-specific. United uses letters A-F for aisles to windows, while American uses letters L-R. Front to back, American numbers from 1 while United starts at 11. Learn your carrier's system to avoid confusion when booking specific seats.
Beverage and meal service can even depend on your seat location. Bulkhead rows on some jets get served first since galleys are close. But on other aircraft, attendants start in the back and move forward. Sitting closer to galleys may also mean you get first dibs on snacks.
In first class, the differences are even more pronounced. From variations in seat privacy, tray table size, meal courses and amenity kits to the availability of mattress pads and pajamas, airlines showcase their flagship premium experiences. But not all first class seats are equal. Study up before redeeming upgrades as the discrepancies can be substantial.
Picking the Perfect Seat: How SeatGuru Can Upgrade Your Next Flight - Using SeatGuru for International Flights
When globetrotting on long-haul international flights, picking the right seat is especially critical for maintaining sanity and arriving refreshed. With 10+ hours in the air unable to move about much, you'll want to be strategic in choosing a seat tailored to your preferences and needs. This is where SeatGuru's deep knowledge on specific international aircraft proves invaluable.
On overseas journeys, extra legroom and personal space should be top priorities for seat selection. Exit rows and bulkheads allow stretching your legs, crossing your feet, and shifting positions to avoid stiffness and cramps on marathon flights. SeatGuru users advise shelling out for these prime legroom seats on planes like the Airbus A380 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner used for international routes. Budget travelers report the $100 fee is easily worth it after experiencing the difference in comfort first-hand.
For sleeping, look at the seat recline - some only recline 2 inches in international economy, while others have a full 6 inches. Flat beds are ideal, naturally, but lie-flat seats are usually reserved for business and first class tickets out of most travelers' price range. Check SeatGuru for the seat pitch and recline stats on your specific aircraft and airline. Window seats also allow you to rest your head against the side of the plane undisturbed.
Proximity to bathrooms and galleys is a mixed bag on international flights. Sitting right by the facilities means easy access without climbing over seatmates. But some frequent fliers complain it also brings lines of waiting passengers and noise. Being close to galleys allows you to grab snacks faster between meal services. Yet galley areas also involve bumping carts and staff chatter.
How and when meals are served can even depend on your seat location. For example, on Etihad's A380, bulkhead rows get served first. But on Lufthansa's 747, attendants start in the back then move forward. This impacts your odds of getting entree choices before they're gone.
With diverse international fleets, don't assume all economy seats are created equal, even on the same airline. For instance, on Singapore Air's A380, seats have varying widths between 17.5 and 19 inches. That can make a big difference on a 13+ hour flight. Always consult SeatGuru first to avoid unpleasant seat surprises at cruising altitude.