Is This Seat Taken?

In the air, it’s all about the seat. Northwest Airlines is testing whether coach passengers will pay extra for more legroom, charging $15 per flight for some seats on the aisle and in exit rows. Are those seats worth the premium? Or should you shell out for a bigger berth up front? Here are two Web sites to help you scout any seating situation before you book.

Mission: Search by airline and aircraft type to find out which seats have more (or less) legroom, limited recline, no overhead storage, no window, proximity to the bathroom, and extras such as power outlets.
Sources: The airlines, SeatGuru’s founders, and visitors
What’s new: Info for 30 airlines on baggage restrictions, on-board amenities, and check-in policies
What’s missing: Photos, and tips on which seats the airlines typically save for premium frequent fliers

Mission: Evaluate first- and business-class airline seats, identifying the ones that recline to a truly flat bed.
Sources: The airline-industry consultants who run the site
What’s new: Interactive animations that let you enter your height, weight, and width to virtually “try out” the seat
What’s missing: A clearer layout–and more input from real travelersFCS