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更新时间:2013-9-13 20:46:53 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Finding a Seat That Fits on a Flight

For travelers who are taller or broader or heavier than the average American, who have had their knees bashed, heads bonked and hips squeezed on flights from coast to coast, a little relief is in sight.


No, airlines are not reconfiguring planes. But it is becoming easier to find the best possible seats thanks to some new and lesser-known Web sites that allow you to search for flights not only by price and schedule (like Kayak, Priceline, Expedia) but also by seat width, legroom, quality of aircraft and conveniences like Wi-Fi and power outlets.


For years, SeatGuru.com has been the go-to destination for travelers intent on discovering the roomiest seats farthest from the bathrooms, which you can do with a cursory glance at the site’s color-coded airplane maps: green for good seats, yellow for potential drawbacks like misaligned windows or restricted legroom, green and yellow for mixed reviews, red for bad seats. The site’s sortable comparison charts for long-haul and short-haul flights enable you to easily see which airlines have the widest seats (Air Canada, British Airways, Asiana Airlines, Aeroflot at 20 to 21 inches for long-haul economy flights) and the narrowest seats (ANA, AirAsia X and Air Vanuatu at 16 to 16.5 inches). You can check out which airlines offer the most legroom (United, American Airlines, Thai Airways) and the least legroom (there are too many to list) in a column labeled “seat pitch.” And you can look up which planes have laptop power and Wi-Fi, as well as the type of video available on board.

几年来,座椅大师网(SeatGuru.com)已经成为那些希望找到空间最大、距厕所最远座位的旅客们经常造访的一个网站。只需浏览一下分色处理的飞机座位分布图,就能解决一切:绿色代表好座位;黄色表示可能有问题,比如座位与窗户位置不和谐或腿部空间有限;黄绿交错的座位表示大家对它的点评褒贬都有;红色表示坏座位。网站专门为长途旅行和短途旅行做的分类比较表让你轻松看出哪些航空公司座椅最宽(加拿大航空[Air Canada]、英国航空、韩亚航空和俄罗斯航空[Aeroflot]长途经济舱的座椅宽度是20至21英寸),哪些公司的座椅最窄(全日空[ANA]、亚航长途 [AirAsia X]和瓦努阿图航空公司[Air Vanuatu]的座椅宽度是16至16.5英寸)。在一个叫作“座椅排距”的条目中,你还可以看出,哪些航空公司的腿部空间最大(美联航、美国航空和泰航[Thai Airways]),哪些公司的最小(太多了,无法一一列举)。此外你还可以搜索哪些飞机装有笔记本电脑电源和WiFi信号,以及机舱内有哪些电影可选。

Now SeatGuru has an innovation, Guru Factor (or G-Factor), a “comfort rating system” that ranks the in-flight experience by “love it,” “like it” or “live with it.” Part of the site’s nascent flight comparison search engine, G-Factor scores each flight by legroom and comfort (type of seat, seat pitch, width, recline).

现在,座椅大师网还创造了个叫作“大师元素(Guru Factor ;简称 G-Factor)的“舒适度评分系统”,将乘机体验按照“爱死它”、“挺喜欢”、“忍耐之”分为三个等级。作为网站初创的飞行体验比较搜索引擎的一部分,“大师元素”按照腿部空间和舒适度(座椅的类型、排距、宽度和倾斜度)对每个航班打分。

The ratings also take into account customer service and satisfaction ratings (the site is owned by TripAdvisor and therefore has access to scores of reviews), in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi and the availability of power ports at the seat. You can browse flight search results not only by lowest prices, but also by G-Factor simply by clicking buttons at the top of the page.


For me, the seat maps continue to be the main draw to the site. G-Factor is a more opaque tool. A recent search for a direct flight to Berlin from Newark in late August turned up a $1,306 fare on United Airlines with “tight” legroom. The G-Factor was “like it.” For the same dates, a flight to Berlin from Kennedy Airport with one stop each way turned up a $1,538 fare on Delta that had a “love it” G-Factor. That flight had a stop, was more expensive and didn’t have better seats (they were listed as “tight” legroom as well), yet Delta had a higher TripAdvisor rating than United. In other words, keep in mind that when using G-Factor, you might love what it loves — or you might not.


G-Factor, as one might expect, has competition. A new site called Routehappy.com is striving to stand out by allowing users to filter flight search results by “happiness factors.” The site, which is intuitive and easy to use, allows you to search for a flight and then narrow your results by nonstop routes, time, airlines, airports, flights that are “happy and cheap” or “happiness factors” — which you can filter even further by clicking boxes for “nicer planes,” “roomier seats,” “high flyer rating,” “Wi-Fi,” “best entertainment” and “in-seat power.”


Control freaks, rejoice. After a recent search for a flight to Chicago from Los Angeles in late August, I winnowed the results by clicking “roomier seats,” and flights with more pitch and width (like Virgin America, United and US Airways) rose to the top of the page. When I added filters for nonstop flights as well as “in-seat power,” Virgin America was the only airline left standing.


Like SeatGuru, Routehappy is a search site, not a booking platform. So if you like what you find, you’ll have to book it directly with the airline or an online travel agency.


Those familiar with this breed of site may also know that a big player in this space, Hipmunk.com, has been around since 2010 and allows users to sort flight search results by “agony” factor, a combination of price, number of stops and duration. After searching for a flight, you can sort the results by agony or by other individual factors like arrival, departure, duration and price.


If your primary goal is to make your flight as brief as possible, the Danish flight search site Momondo.com rates routes on a scale of 1 to 10 based on price and average flight time. The best scores receive green smiley faces. The worst? Red frowns.

如果你的首要目标是让航班尽可能地简单,丹麦机票搜索网站Momondo.com根据价格和平均飞行时间,将机票按照1到10的标准进行评级。得分最高的会得到笑脸的图案。 最低的呢?皱眉发怒的红脸图案。

So what if you’ve already booked a flight and every decent seat is occupied?


You can avail yourself of a seat-tracking app. Unfortunately, these services do not enable you to actually book a seat when it becomes available — they simply alert you to that fact. It’s up to you to then call your airline or use its Web site to nab the seat before some other long-legged passenger does.


One such tool is Seat Tracker, a new feature from TripIt Pro, the popular trip organization app and Web site. To use Seat Tracker, you must be a TripIt Pro member ($49 a year, though the Web site offers free 30-day trials). Members simply log into the site and create an alert for a future flight, then select their criteria, like a window, middle, aisle or “aisle or window” seat as well as their desired area of the plane: ahead of the wing, over the wing, behind the wing, in the exit row or by the bulkhead.

TripIt Pro 的新产品“座位追踪”( Seat Tracker)就是这样一个工具。TripIt Pro是个热门的旅行规划应用程序和实用网站。若想使用座位追踪,你必须是TripIt Pro会员(年费49美元,但网站提供了可以免费30天的试用版)。会员可直接登录网站,为将来的航班搜索设定一个网站提醒,然后选择自己需要的标准,比如靠窗、中间、靠过道或者“要么靠过道要么靠窗”的座位,以及自己喜欢的机舱区域,比如机翼前方、机翼上方、机翼后方、紧急出口周边或舱壁旁边。

You can also request up to four seats together. If the seat or seats you want become available, TripIt will notify you with a text or e-mail message and tell you how to contact the airline or booking agent to change your seat. Information: tripit.com/seattracker.


If you don’t want to pay for a seat alert, there’s ExpertFlyer. A basic membership to the site, which specializes in helping frequent fliers maximize their miles and elite upgrades, is $4.99 a month; a premium membership is $9.99 a month. But you can sign up for one seat alert at a time free of charge (additional alerts are 99 cents each if you do not have a monthly membership). An iPhone and iPad app enables you to manage your alerts wherever your travels may take you. Information: expertflyer.com/free-program.

如果你不想为座位提醒的服务花钱,就用飞行专家网(ExpertFlyer)。这家网站专注于帮助常旅客将自己的里程最大化,并帮助高端旅客升舱。网站基本会员月费4.99美元,高级会员每月9.99美元。但新注册用户可以免费享受一次座位提醒服务(如果你不是每月缴费的会员,每次新的提醒服务都需支付99美分)。此外,iPhone和iPad平台的应用让你无论旅行到什么地方都可以随时管理各种提醒。详细信息: expertflyer.com/free-program。