SeatExpert Becomes Much More User Friendly

Some readers will recall that I have long found SeatGuru a very useful tool, but increasingly limited and inaccurate) for non-US carriers.

For those, SeatExpert has been an excellent supplement. The site has been redesigned, and now for many non-experts will be a better choice since they’ve added a feature where you don’t even have to know your aircraft type in order to look up your flight’s seat map. Just plug in the flight number and date and SeatExpert will show you the relevant seat map.

I tend to know the particulars of aircraft I’ll be flying, but I’m often reminded about how even the most frequent of flyers don’t have all the details of their travel at their fingertips. Earlier in the week I met a United 100,000 mile flyer who didn’t know they had Systemwide upgrades, and had been upgraded on American Airlines just a single time internationally. With all of her international travels I would have expected more upfront experience with United. A 1K unaware of systemwides!

So anything that makes tools of travel more accessible is likely a positive! SeatExpert’s ability to pull up the right aircraft will make it an exceptionally useful site to recommend, for ease-of-use.

That said, I’ve found it only “so so” in handling some complications, such as aircraft with multiple configurations that have the same GDS identifiers. For example, United lists its Boeing 777 aircraft simply as “777” in schedules regardless of whether it’s a two- or three-cabin aircraft. Pull up United flight 1 from Chicago to Honolulu and you’ll see a three-cabin seat map on Expert Flyer, when the plane is actually two-cabin. Similarly, it seemed to correctly handle old- versus new-configuration Boeing 747s on United, though it did pull up an old seatmap for a flight operated with new equipment when checking a couple of San Francisco – Hong Kong flights. (This is likely a function of the GDS they’re pulling data from, I’ll need to check in with them to figure out the particulars.)

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. Where this would be really useful is with airlines like LH that have a number of different configurations for the same aircraft type (e.g., A340-xxx) and it basically requires “pattern matching” between the airline’s seatmap when picking a seat and the Seatguru/expert maps to find out which particular configuration is scheduled for the flight.

    Is there a typo in the 1K sub-story? Why would she have been upgraded on AA if she’s a UA 1K?

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