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Anyone else use Seat Guru?

Does anyone else use Seat Guru when choosing seats for your flight? I always have and find it really pays off. I recently booked a Delta flight to Berlin and picked a seat that looked good. But when I checked the plane's seating on SG, I found that particular seat had limited recline, which for a 6+ hour overnight flight is unacceptable. It also has other helpful notes from passengers who have flown on that particular plan, such as one that noted the bright yellow exit lights that stay on all night and shine directly on 2 particular seats.

Posted by
3271 posts

Yes,for any flight over 3 hours. And since on flights of that length we usually get categories that include advance seat selection, I try to check out SG just before making the actual booking.

Posted by
189 posts

Yeah I always use it. Seat Guru is part of my travel tool kit.

Posted by
1290 posts

Yes have been using SG for quite a while. The last thing I want is some contraption under my seat not allowing me to stretch out or a bad report on the seat.

Posted by
3372 posts

Absolutely. My go-to before selecting a seat.
Extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
4473 posts

I’ve never checked it, but after reading your description about a bright exit light (my eyes are sensitive), I will definitely be checking it for upcoming flights.

Posted by
231 posts

I always look at it for long haul flights, but in general so few seats rate a solid positive, the only real advantage of SG is avoiding the ones that are red flagged. And some of the half and half seats (like economy bulkhead near the loos) don't bother me much, so I ignore those warnings.

Posted by
2133 posts

I use it for all flights. Then, as if that isn’t enough, sometimes I watch videos on YouTube of the airplane interiors to get a better idea of the cabin layout and more views of the legroom.;)
I am an overplanner for sure!

Posted by
962 posts

I’ve never checked it, but after reading your description about a bright exit light (my eyes are sensitive), I will definitely be checking it for upcoming flights.

Jean, that happened to me on a trip to Europe many years ago (before I discovered Seat Guru) and it was awful - I was not able to sleep at all because of that exit light.

Posted by
5584 posts

SeatGuru ("SG") is a VERY useful resource. I'd never dream of booking any flight without checking it. But it's far from perfect, and does have limitations that any user should be aware of. There are also other good (often better) sources for info.

A lot of the info on SG may be out of date. Airlines change their planes all the time. Sometimes a last-minute aircraft swap was required for safety/unplanned maintenance, or other operational issues (ie plane was stuck somewhere else). Sometimes it's a planned schedule adjustment that SG just didn't notice - routine aircraft swaps are much more common now due to unpredictability of passenger loads during the pandemic. SG also just gets it wrong sometimes, especially when an airline has multiple versions of the same aircraft that they use. For example, United has multiple versions of 787s they use, some with updated (better) interiors, some with older (worse) interiors. SG may show the wrong version which can lead to big surprises when you step on board. The "user reports" comments on SG can be very helpful, but they often refer to older/different aircraft interiors, so check the comment dates carefully.

Now, I'm not saying SG is bad or useless, it's not. I use SG a LOT. But I don't rely on it alone, I use it in conjunction with other tools. Combined with those, it's much better. These are also very useful:

  • aerolopa.com In many ways, aeroLOPA is like SeatGuru "turned up to 100". Although they do not try to cover every flight on every airline, for the airlines they do cover, they have an incredible level of detail and accuracy -- compared to SG, it's stunning. Worth a look. Free.
  • ExpertFlyer ExpertFlying is a portal to deep oceans of details of (nearly) every airline flight, including seating charts and much, much more. It's a paid service (worthwhile IMHO if you fly a lot) but also has a limited free version. ExpertFlyer works well as a "reality-check" to use against what SG tells you -- check to see if the seat layouts match, if they don't, ExpertFlyer is almost always the one that's right.
  • The airline's own "seat chart". You generally need to be logged in (or in the process of booking a ticket) at an airline's website, but they usually show some kind of a seat/cabin layout, and it's often quite accurate. Getting a look at the seat layout may require jumping through an extra hoop or two if you book a flight on an airline partner (you often need to log in and "manage my flight" on that airline's website, and for that you will need the confirmation code aka "PNR" for that specific airline, so it may only be possible once you've booked the flight).
  • Online reviews of the seat. Just google the details for the specific flight, noting the airline, route, flight number, aircraft type and cabin details (eg: "AA 136 SFO-LHR premium economy review"). You will find plenty of matches or close-enough matches (including videos and written accounts with photos), from individuals, bloggers and other wanna-be "influencers" who want your eyeballs to further their own agendas. Take what you see/read with a large hunk of salt, as these folks absolutely have bias and financial skin in their games.

Finally, once you have booked your ticket, don't just tune out and then months later head for the airport. Airlines do change things, including the plane and seat you chose. It's worth monitoring the details of your flight occasionally, especially if booked far ahead. This may sound like a lot of overhead, but if you care about the seat you'll be in on a loooong flight, some of us think it's worth it (and even fun). YMMV.

Hope this is useful!

Posted by
202 posts

Seatguru has helped me tremendously for many years. I typically use it first to get an idea of what type of aircraft is being used and second to evaluate what seats it identifies as potential issues. Any resources that provide information geared toward making my flight comfortable is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
218 posts

@David: Thank you for the pointer to aeroLOPA! Very nice! I do use Seat Guru but start with the airline's seat map to cross-check what Seat Guru initially shows. SG does allow to to see the alternate configurations. AeroLOPA has much better graphics and let me better understand the fore/aft layout BA has in their Business Class (and caused me to Run Away!, as we used to say in D&D).

RE: United's 787-9s ("789s"): Of their 38 789s, 28 have been updated to true Polaris. Of the remaining ten, three are currently in XMN (Xiamen, China) undergoing upgrades to Polaris, according the the (non-United) United Airlines Fleet website (https://sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/polaris-mod-schedule). United claims all of the remaining 789s will be updated by summer. The fleet website shows 44 days scheduled per plane, with three being modded in parallel.

Nothing appears to be going on with the old-layout 767s.

Posted by
1820 posts

Thanks to David for the links to the two other seat sites.