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How to select the best airline seats

Choosing your seat on an aircraft is an important decision. Nobody wants to select what they thought was a preferred window seat, only to end up with an obtrusive in-flight entertainment box occupying half of their legroom.

This situation is exacerbated by the draconian charges that passengers must part with in order to pre-select a preferred seat when flying British Airways (BA) for example. A passenger without elite status with BA can book a £5,000 business class ticket to Los Angeles and still have to pay up to £95 per person to choose their preferred seat. Similarly, you may have found a really cheap economy sale price to Johannesburg only to find that you have to pay anywhere up to £56 if you wish to pre-select a seat.

If you do choose to pay that price you want to be absolutely certain your seat will offer the legroom or privacy that you are hoping for. With that in mind, I thought it would be beneficial to review 4 of the main ‘seat-plan’ tools available online.

Where to look

For this analysis, I looked at the following sites:


I compared the information each one provided about seating when flying a British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft in either Club World (Business) and World Traveller (Economy).

Key terms:




SeatGuru is the clear winner here. Not only is it the only site that allows you to hover over an individual seat and read comments on it, it also has an impressively uncluttered and easy-to-navigate setup. While it was missing details regarding the bassinet positions in Club World, it did redeem itself by clearly highlighting where they are located in the World Traveller cabin. It is my go-to site for seat information.

Seatmaestro has to settle for the title of ‘best of the rest’. It has a more sophisticated look than Seatplans and therefore just shades it as the better option. They both offer a decent mix of reader reviews and comments. If it is user reviews you are after I would recommend checking both of them. Seat Expert is clearly long-overdue an update. Given the A380 was first flown by BA more than 3 years ago, it is disappointing that the seat maps for this aircraft still do not feature.

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