Guest Author - Aurora Mae
We've all had the bad seats, annoyingly small leg spaces, the unnaturally cold areas of the plane, and the business class that isn't business class. Until now, you've had to rely solely on travel agents for a seat assignment and accurate calculation of frequent flyer miles. In the last few years, several tools have popped up to help those who travel finds the seats and other amenities they want.
Whether you travel once a year or all-the time, are going on a trek or a walkabout, there are a number of tools that will enhance your travel experience and make it more manageable in the process. There are a number of travel related sites that can ensure your trip is virtually headache free, including WebFlyer.com and SeatGuru.com
These vary in what they offer users, but each one is an excellent tool and can help immensely when you're booking a flight yourself online. Another option is check with the site withy whom your booking your trip, as they may have other useful tools. Onetravelsource.com, for example, offers city and state 'what to do and see' guides for most of the major and minor cities in the US. They also have a map tool that allows you to see what places and venues are located near your vacation spot.
Here are some other sites with tools you might use for planning your flight:
Web Flyer is one of the better sites for navigating your way through tricky mileage programs. You'll find all the information you ever wanted to know about flight programs, benefits, and rewards. There's a mile calculator, a blackout calendar, and many others.
Most of the information is geared helping you get the most out of your preferred frequent flyer mile program. The site offers tips on taking advantage of myriad promotions, like those offered by your credit card company, and those geared towards restaurants or hotel stays.
Seat Guru allows you to research and peruse the seating maps for major airlines across the globe. The seats bear labels, such as good seat, be aware, poor seat, power port, and more. The maps are quite detailed and seating is color coded to ensure easy understanding. All the rest of the plane sections are labeled as well, including bathrooms, exit rows, and closet areas.
If you mouse over any of the seating areas, a window pops up that describes the good and bad qualities of the seats and whether they have adequate legroom, etc. This is useful for economy through first class, as not all seats are created equal, even in the same class. For example, two seats in the same area may have differences in leg room of temperature. To use SeatGuru.com appropriately to plan your travels, you have to know what airline you're on and the specific plane model. If you don't have a ticket yet and are just browsing, they have a comparative list of airlines and give a rundown on the pros and cons of the airline seating layout.
FlightStats.com offers live tracking of both private and commercial flights. There are statistics, discussion areas (forums), and lots of resources related to air travel. They have the stats for every major world airport, such as take-off and departure schedules in real-time, as well as delays and cancellation notices; all you need is the flight number and the airline.
They also offer updates and information on airport activity, such as security waits, check in times, construction, and anything else a traveler wants or needs to know about the airport.