The Seat Guru

There are a few new faces on the second go-round of Star Mega DO, and one happens to belong to Matt Daimler, a.k.a Phatteus, who founded nearly a decade ago. “It started in 2001 as one plane, with one map,” he says, and wasn’t much more than a hobby until revenue Google AdSense began turning it into a real business circa 2004. He sold the site to Expedia in 2007 (today his card says “Founder” and his role is effectively an evangelist) and his current wish is to see Seatguru’s maps incorporated into the most popular iPhone apps like Flight Tracker.

He still tells the story of learning how fare classes work. While traveling with a friend circa 1996, their flight was canceled and the airline was forced to rebook them on another carrier, issuing paper vouchers to do so. Seeing a “Y” written on the voucher, Matt’s friend asked what it meant. Informed “Y” meant coach and an “F” was required to be rebooked in first, his friend decided to fix that. Using a pen, he doctored the “Y” into an “F.” And it worked.


At its best, air travel is time travel — as anyone who’s arrived someplace before their stated departure time could attest. That wasn’t quite the case on LH 405 from JFK to FRA this morning, but thanks to a serendipitous combination of tailwinds, a short taxi at JFK, and a clear path to the gate at FRA, we arrived a full 75 minutes early. There’s nothing quite like breakfasting in the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge on sausages and Lowenbrau Oktoberfest half an hour before you ever planned on arriving. (The sole snafu of the morning: the discovery that the Welcome Lounge was sealed behind a blast door unable to be opened from the inside — as faint German voices informed us from the other side. Someone’s trolley had bumped into the emergency button, sealing them inside.)

Checked in, refreshed, and as caught up on sleep as we’re ever going to be on this trip, we adjourn until 13:45 for our date with the A380.

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