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I have something of a storied history with seat 4A on Swiss’s 777-300. Specifically, last year I booked it only to be booted out by Swiss and forced to pay my way back to an inferior seat. Let me back up a second for those that are just getting here… Swiss introduced a new business class seat on their flagship 777 a few years ago, and there’s a wild disparity in quality among the various seats. There are fairly narrow window seats with no storage and no direct aisle access, narrow aisle seats, wide aisle seats with a big storage console, and in the pole position, the throne seats (or “privacy seats”) that Swiss used to reserve only for elite members. In 2017, they made the decision to start selling access to the thrones (for around $200 for a transatlantic flight), which sucked for elites but helped out those who longed for such a nice, spacious seat.
However, even among throne seats, there are good and bad ones. Well, more accurately, there are good and better ones. On my first Swiss flight, I was in a throne in the middle of their massive business class cabin, and it was fine. However, the bulkhead seats (7A and 4A) offer more foot room and storage space, so those are definitely the ones to pick. And between those two, 4A is the best, since it is located in a two-row mini-cabin in front of the main business class cabin. Not only is this mini-cabin much quieter in flight, you also get to turn left when you board, meaning the economy parade doesn’t march down the aisle past your seat during boarding.
To give you an idea of the extra room afforded by the bulkhead seat, I present to you the following two examples. First, the seat is actually around 10” further away from the front console, which really makes a difference in terms of personal space. It also makes for a great storage nook for a backpack. In all the other throne seats, the front of the armrest touches the console, so you’d have to keep your bag in the overhead bin instead.
Secondly, the area for your feet is HUGE. One of the big downsides to the throne seat is that your feet need to fit in the space between the two paired seats in front of you, which can be pretty constricting when trying to sleep. It can also make the seat feel like a coffin, since half of your body goes into a fairly narrow space. Between the extra depth of the seat and the huge foot area, the bulkhead throne seat makes for a really great bed. In fact, I was able to sleep uninterrupted for around 2 1/2 hours, which is unheard of for me. Plus, I was only woken up because the plane hit some pretty rough air over the ocean, and I dozed off again once it smoothed out.
In the end, the main question is whether it’s worth $200 to upgrade to this seat, and I think it absolutely is. Especially since Swiss has no fuel surcharges on Aeroplan, it’s pretty easy for me to justify the extra money for such a big jump in comfort. I’ve paid for throne seats both times I’ve flown on Swiss, but I felt way better about the purchase on this flight. The only downside is that you can kind of see into the first class cabin, which looks AMAZING. In the main business class cabin, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Speaking of first class, Swiss forgot to provision my vegan meal on this flight, but they had an extra vegetarian meal in first class, so they let me have that. It was some kind of breaded baked cauliflower thing, and OH MY GOD was it good. Not quite to the level of the amazing coconut curry I had on British Airways, but right up there, and better than the food I had in Emirates first class on the tail end of this trip. It’s not representative of Swiss’s business class catering in general, but it was a nice surprise when I thought I was going to have to pick around a big piece of meat for dinner.
I was kind of lukewarm on Swiss after my last flight on them, but after this flight, I’m of the mind that this is one of the better ways to fly transatlantic in business class. It certainly beats KLM, which is what I had flown earlier in the year, and I’d put it on par with SAS.
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