Is SeatGuru on the Decline?

For years I’ve recommended checking SeatGuru when making airline reservations. There really are better and worse seats on most aircraft, and SeatGuru always seemed to be ‘in the know’ and their advice was generally spot on.

But more and more I’m noticing that their recommendations are flawed. Either the information is outdated, or I just disagree with it.

And when it’s outdated, submitting feedback doesn’t seem to get it corrected.

Take, for example, Asiana’s 747s. There’s no indication on the website that Asiana offers both an old-style first and business class, and a refitted version. (The refitted 747 is handling most of the New York-JFK – Seoul flying these days.) All they show is the passenger and combi old-style.

My personal pet peeve, though, is that SeatGuru says there are power ports onboard the old 747s. This is just wrong. I’ve emailed them twice about it, and I never heard back. No ‘thanks’ or ‘we’re looking into it’ or ‘we just don’t believe you even though you’ve flown on it and we haven’t’. And the wrong information persists.

Or check out the Thai Airways 747s. SeatGuru thinks that the older configuration 747 has power ports. But it does not.

These are just very limited data points, of course, but when coupled with the fact that SeatGuru — originally a one person startup — was sold last year to TripAdvisor, which is in turn owned by Expedia, one wonders whether there are some transition pains, or if the folks in charge know what they’re doing.

Meanwhile, SeatExpert has gotten much more reliable in its advice, and extensive in its coverage. So far it lacks the detailed commentary on individual seats that SeatGuru has, it just says which ones are good and which are bad (though more commentary is supposedly coming soon). But at least it seems to get the seat power issue right!

I’ll be keeping an eye on whether SeatGuru retains its usefulness, and whether SeatExpert overtakes it in the months to come.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Sorry, Gary, but they are probably just matching their personnel time with demand. My guess is that 95-99% of the hits they get on seatguru are for American carriers and thus their biggest vested interest is in making sure those configurations/data are correct.

  2. Hi Gary,
    Very interesting indeed. I’m looking forward to your future reports on SeatGuru vs. SeatExpert. It seems, though, that neither site would have prevented my latest unhappy seat experience: my flight to Hong Kong in an aisle coach seat on a Cathay Pacific 747, where my foot space was limited by a big black box-like structure. SeatGuru and SeatExpert both warn that foot space is limited in MIDDLE seats in coach, but neither seems to mention the obstructed foot space of aisle and window seats as well (I was on the aisle in 45C). You can read my report about it here:

  3. Seatguru lost this race about a year ago. Try finding new business class on American, or an A380 on seatguru, anything new isn’t in seatguru. They’re just riding their success.

  4. In Feb2007 I flew from JFK to Gatwick via Delta. Seatguru said row 18cde had more legroom(767-300). It did indeed have more room since I am 6’4” AND although the lav was behind me, there was storage space for my backpack/laptop, newspaper, water etc It made for a more reasonable trip. However, lets be real….it was still narrow, hard, coach…….

  5. Yes, they seem to have lost their groove. I’m really sad about that because I loved it. Seatguru is inaccurate for some Virgin Atlantic flights too and doesn’t provide accurate information on seat formations in the upgraded Premium Economy Section. When I spoke to reservations at Virgin Atlantic they actually complained that seatguru was misleading. Check the very useful for details of seat configurations and comments on the best seats on Virgin flights.

  6. I agree they have lost their groove. Not sure if their new owners are holding back the innovation or the influx of publicity they get from being part of TripAdvisor/Expedia is flooding them with misinformation… I’ll give seatexpert another look.

  7. How about Has somebody checked them out? What’s your opinion on them?

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