Have we gone from the joy of travel to the ordeal of transportation?
Can finding the right seat be the cure of many travel hassles?
Peter Greenberg sits down with Terry Gardner from the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune to discuss her take on choosing budget seats on airlines.
Peter Greenberg: Looking at an aircraft type, you can find out everything you need to know about the seats you want and the seats you don’t ever want to go near.
Terry Gardner: That’s an interesting description. Before I finalize a ticket, if I can reserve a seat, I always check SeatGuru.com.
PG: I do too because they have the configurations for every different airplane type by airline. Here’s an example: A 10A or 10F on a 757 on some airlines is probably the best coach seat that’s a window seat because there’s no 9A and 9F. The cool thing about that is you have a window seat but you don’t have to climb over anyone to go to the bathroom, or get out of your seat. You have all the leg room in the world.
TG: I usually pick the aisle, because I drink a lot of water on the plane. Have you checked out some of the comfort seats in economy on JetBlue or Virgin America?
PG: On principle, if somebody says to me, for a little bit more money we’ll give you a less abusive coach seat, I stay in the original coach seat. I figure it’s a coach seat no matter what they say and I’ll just grin and bear it. I know people would argue the point. There are seats called Economy Plus and on longer flights they have a little more leg room. For me, I figure I’m going to get deep-vein thrombosis no matter what I do.
TG: So you’re an optimist?
PG: No, I’m a pragmatist. But I know you have checked them out, so share that with me.
TG: JetBlue really does have more seat room with the 34-inch seat pitch. A seat pitch is basically the distance from any point on the seat in front of you to where you’re sitting, and it translates to leg room. George Hobica from AirfareWatchdog.com always pays the extra money to have what JetBlue calls more leg room. It can cost anywhere from $10 to $60 and he says it’s worth it when he’s flying New York to L.A.
Learn more: Premium Economy Seats: Worth It?
PG: To each his own. For me, going to New York to L.A. is like going to the supermarket. Let’s talk New York to Melbourne, Australia, then I might pay more money. New York to Bangkok, a 19-hour flight, or New York to Singapore, now we’re talking a long flight.
TG: I was excited about Air New Zealand’s new Skycouch.
PG: I saw that seat, and we actually demonstrated it on CBS. They haven’t really developed it that well, but the concept is so good, isn’t it?
TG: It’s great except they narrowed the aisle. Some of those planes, the 777-300s, have nine seats across. Air New Zealand has 10 seats across. To be able to do the Skycouch and fit more people into economy, they customize things. Matt Daimler, the founder of SeatGuru, said he hopes the Skycouch is really comfortable and applauds Air New Zealand for their ingenuity, but he wishes they hadn’t narrowed the aisle.
PG: I agree with him, but it’s a great concept because if you’re traveling with a significant other, especially, or even a family of three, then the thing basically folds out into your own personal couch.
TG: Exactly. It’s ideal especially for a parent traveling with a kid because it’s just perfect for cuddling. For two adults, it’s a little cozier.
For more ideas, check out Terry Gardner’s feature on Cheap-Seat Basics for Air Travelers.
By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio.
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