One of our favorite travel sites, SeatGuru, finally came out with an iPhone and iPad app last week (’bout time, Mr. Guru). For those who aren’t familiar with it, SeatGuru’s long been a favorite for trip planning, with a simple, straightforward design that gives advice on how to pick a seat on a particular flight. Just choose your airline and type of plane, and you’ll see an easy to follow layout that will show warnings about potentially bad seats (doesn’t recline, limited foot space, etc).
A criticism of the site has been that you have to know the type of plane you’re flying on in order to find the airplane model – and that’s not really a factor in most people’s travel choices. However, both the site and the app have introduced a new feature where you simply enter the flight info, and the model info (Boeing, Embraer, 747, 777, etc) pops up. There have been some reports of wonkiness with this feature, though, so we’d still recommend cross-referencing with the type of plane you’re actually flying on (which is included in your e-ticket and confirmation).
The app is as straightforward as the site: Seats have different colors, so click to see if it’s standard (no color), particularly good (green), particularly bad (red) or a bit of both (yellow). An example of that might be a seat that’s in the exit row (extra legroom!) but next to the door (can get cold in flight).
We’ve long used the site when making flight choices, and it’s a really handy tool for nervous flyers. You can see up front if you’re on a larger plane, for instance, without going through the process of actually booking and then discovering you’re on a flight that seats two by two in a dozen rows.
SeatGuru was bought a few years ago by TripAdvisor, and their flight search is included in the app. We’d still recommend searching for flights through an easier-to-use app like Kayak, however, or going directly to the airline of your choice. Airlines have been fickle about their best prices being shown on other sites (we’re looking at you, American), so you’re often better off going straight to the source for the best deals.
Still, when it comes to choosing how you’re going to fly through space in a metal tube, the SeatGuru app can help you make a comfortable choice… even if looking at diagrams of business-class and first-class seats can be a bummer to those sitting in 53K.