SeatGuru Updates Seat Maps, Adds Features – Review

By Paul Riegler on 22 January 2013
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SeatGuru's new look and feel

SeatGuru’s new look and feel

One of the most useful travel resources on the web is SeatGuru.  SeatGuru was founded in 2001 by a frequent business traveler and the basic principle of displaying airplane seat maps with seats coded as good, bad, or “be aware” hasn’t changed since the website’s inception.

Anyone accessing SeatGuru today was in for a surprise as the company, which is owned by TripAdvisor (which in turn is part of Expedia), has updated its website with new graphics, improved navigation, and new features.

The seat maps themselves look far more professional and less like line drawings that escaped from a CAD system ca. 1995.  Each seat map has more information about the plane than before (including user-submitted photos) and it is also far better organized.

Gone, however, is the convenient list of airlines running across the left margin of the page, replaced by a pull-down menu that works equally well once you remember where it is.

The same SeatGuru page before update

The same SeatGuru page before update

Comparison charts are another useful feature  and allow for an easy comparison of business or economy seating.  The downside of the feature is that it is a bit unwieldy due to the sheer number of airplanes in the SeatGuru database.  The comparison chart for long-haul first-class had over 130 entries and there’s no way to limit the display to just a few selected airlines.  Hopefully future versions of the comparison chart feature will allow the visitor to select specific airlines, thereby making it easier to actually compare specific entries.  While in the comparison chart, clicking on a desired configuration will navigate directly to the seat map.

The system only allows for long-haul and short-haul aircraft and some of the classifications seem to need fine tuning.  For example, American Airlines’ Boeing 762 is like a duck out of water in the short-haul category; perhaps a medium-haul category is in order.

SeatGuru’s iPad app still has the old seat maps but the company will soon update the app with the new ones so mobile users can enjoy the same greatly improved interface.

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