The best seat in the house

WHEN you are travelling on business, there are certain things that you don't need to worry about. One of them is the quality of the seats on your plane. There is little more depressing than that sinking feeling when you realise that your seat on a 10-hour flight is going to be interrupted by people banging a bathroom door, a screaming child or that you can’t see the movie because the screen is hidden.

Imagine a tool that allowed you to check your seat before you book it, which could tell you if there will be enough leg-room, whether the noise from the standard class seating is going to keep you awake or whether the window is misaligned.

Well, there is one. A site called SeatGuru, which uses the information sent in by travellers to tell you all about your seat.

Launched with a single map of an aeroplane in 2001, it marks sets in green if they are good, red if they are bad, and yellow if there is something that you should be aware of. The site now covers 75 airlines and has over 500 seating maps. Here are some examples.

Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 Vers. 2
&9679; Avoid seats 1A and 1K which are right behind the bathrooms, which might disturb some passengers.

&9679; This small, forward section of business class is very quiet, but there is not a lot of leg-room in the first row of seats, and space is restricted when you’re fully reclining your seat. The second row of Business Class (row 4) is the best on the plane.

&9679; Rows 10 and 11 are often very cold.

&9679; Seats 12A and 12K have misaligned windows.

British Airways Boeing 747-400 52-Bus
&9679; The first two rows of First Class on BA’s 747 Airbus have seats that recline fully into beds and all the luxury trimmings. These first four seats have by far the most privacy.

&9679; Row 15 - the proximity of the galley behind can be bothersome.

&9679; Seat 17A can be a little warm, as it is close to the heating system.

&9679; Seats E and F in Club World are the best seats if you are travelling with another person, but are maybe best avoided if you are travelling alone, as they do not offer a lot of privacy.

&9679; All seats in Club World on the upper deck are great – this is a quiet section and the service is often very good. 62A and K are the best seats, as they have a lot of legroom due to the exit row. Note that the overhead bins are smaller here than in the lower deck.

&9679; 64A has a space to fit an infant seat, meaning that there is more space, but also that small children may be located here.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 Vers. 2
&9679; Rows 10-11 - the proximity of the massage area can be troublesome.

Upper deck
&9679; The Upper Deck is a great space – there is more privacy and better service than on other parts of the plane. 1A and K have extra storage, although the proximity of the bathrooms might bother some.

&9679; Passengers in 5A and K can be bothered by noise from Premium.

&9679; 70A-K have extra legroom, although the tray tables and televisions in the armrests do make the seats a little less wide.

Air France Boeing 777-300 Vers. 1
&9679; 1F - Light and noise from the galley can be bothersome.

&9679; The seats in the forward cabin are preferred by many, as it is small and private. Bear in mind that the seats in the first row (seats 3A-L) have televisions in the armrests and are smaller than the seat-back ones in other rows.

&9679; 5A-L - These seats are often given to passengers with infants.

&9679; 10A and L are missing a window.

&9679; 12A-L - Some complain about the noise from Tempo class.