03/28/2008 02:44 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dogfight! Airlines Vie For The Best Flatbed Seats

The first step is knowing that while "lie-flat seats" and "flat-bed seats" sound like different ways of saying the same thing, they are not. Understanding the distinction could save you from spending upward of $8,000 on a night of fitful sleep. "There's so much airline marketing-speak that even educated buyers are not sure what their options are," said Susan Daimler, vice president of marketing for, which evaluates airline seats through customer feedback.

Adding to the obfuscation, there is no standard system for measuring seat width, angle or legroom, and the Federal Aviation Administration has no jurisdiction over plane seats, "so we are left to trust the airline and rely on anecdotal evidence by customers," said Matthew J. Bennett, an airline seat expert who publishes {cq}First Class Flyer, a newsletter and Web site.

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