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26 September, 2005

Are you sitting comfortably?

When I first saw this at Lifehacker, I thought it slightly more useful than it actually is, but I'll mention it anyway.

It's a site offering seat plans for a range of passenger aircraft, including airline-specific configurations.  Thrilling, eh?  Okay, no, but I've often wished for a little advance warning and the ability to avoid being allocated inferior seats at check-in.

For example, on Thursday I'll be boarding an Avro RJ85 to Brussels and another on to Warsaw, and now know that (presuming my choice of airline configures its planes the same way as Northwest Airlines) Row 5 may have extra legroom whereas Row 15 is at the very back, next to the toilets.

My slight criticism is that the view from the windows isn't a parameter mentioned, though it's one I value. The position of the wings is indicated on each seat plan, so one can estimate which seats only overlook the engines, and for planes with wings below seat level (unlike the RJ85, thankfully), one can guess which seats will have no view of the ground whatsoever. However, it would have been good if the site had provided specific advice.

Cross-checking against a photo of the plane, I think I'll try for something in Rows 10-14 (not 5; the engines are in the way), and Seats A or F (by the windows).

Does it matter? Yes, absolutely. I love flying, and spend every moment of the first and last ~20 mins of each flight staring out of the window; more, if it isn't cloudy. The trip out to Prague in June was slightly disappointing, as I was over the wing, without a view.

[Update 23/01/09: Seatplans.com seems better, and non- US-centric.]

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