Sites Help Travelers Win the Long-Haul Lottery.
(Dive Travel Business News - April 10, 2012) -- Booking an airline seat can be a bit of a gamble. Seat-review websites take some of the guesswork out of choosing a seat for a trip by airplane, allowing users to review seats and also offer detailed maps. Sites like Skytrax and SeatGuru arm travelers with information - through user reviews and aircraft seat maps - to help travelers make smarter booking decisions, and get the best travel experience for their money.
Choosing the short straw seat on a long-haul flight can see passengers trapped for hours in a seat with cramped leg room, or surrounded by queues to the bathroom. "As prices become more competitive, sites like SeatGuru become more important," said Andrew Wong of SeatGuru.
With a team of 30 professional auditors, UK-based Skytrax generates over 90% of its reviews through actual flyers. Passengers submit their opinions of an airline's offerings during their flight for a given route, which are then reviewed for accuracy and relevancy by Skytrax before being posted. About 300 reviews are uploaded to Skytrax each day, divided into separate sections for first class, business and economy.
Founded in 2001, SeatGuru offers a different services. Passengers enter their flight number to obtain a color-coded seat map of the aircraft displaying the best and worst seats to book. SeatGuru has a database of 722 seat maps for planes from 95 airlines that are compiled from 45,000 flier reviews. SeatGuru recently launched a free app allowing users to access the site via mobile phone, alerting them to relevant details, such as if a particular seat comes with a power outlet, extended legroom or has a limited recline.
In an age when social media gives customers greater power to speak out about poor services or products, airlines realize "there's no point trying to change or hide this type of information, says SeatGuru. On the whole, the aviation industry is clearly paying attention to the seat review sites, even proactively submitting information with new layouts or corrections to keep the sites up to date. Airlines are realizing these sites are now part of the process of choosing an airline.
Photo: Courtesy SeatGuru.com
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