Tag Archives: A330

SAS Business Class Mini-post #2 – Best Seat

When I started this blog, I didn’t really plan to write reviews, since there are already tons of reviews of almost every hotel/lounge/premium cabin. I realized that I enjoy writing them, though, since (as the title of this blog suggests), I enjoy hearing myself type. The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that I never bother to take pictures. I’m not very good at it, and I don’t see the utility of going to great pains to photograph something that has already been exhaustively documented on One Mile at a Time. You loyal readers come here for my scintillating words, not for the pictures, right?

And anyway, because I was the very last person to board my SAS business class flight, I didn’t really have much of a chance to get photos of the cabin anyway. In fact, the only photo I took the entire flight (besides shots out of the window) was of the packet of nuts featured in my last post.

I do have a full review of the flight in progress, but I wanted to highlight my thoughts on the best seat in the house in a separate post, because I disagree with the conventional wisdom here. Every review I have read says that the even-numbered window seats are the best, since the seat is flush against the window, with the console in between the seat and the aisle. (The odd-numbered window seats are the opposite, with the seat against the aisle and the console against the wall.) In general, these are good seats, but 1H and 9H are the best seats, hands down. (9H only applies if you’re on an A340, by the way).

Why do I feel this way? Because 1H and 9H have almost twice as much room as the other seats, and I’d much rather have all the extra space than be set off from the aisle. Here’s a screen shot from the Google Earth view of the business class cabin. The perspective is exaggerated, but you get a sense of how much further away the “front” of the seat is. The IFE screen is about a foot further away from your face, and only your shins/feet go into the bulkhead wall in bed mode. I got to compare both side-by-side, since Justine was sitting in 10H, and while I appreciated being right up against the window, half of my body was basically in a coffin when I lay down.

sas-biz

Overall, 9H is my favorite seat, since it’s in the two-row mini-cabin on the A340, which makes for a very peaceful flight. Plus, you get two windows, whereas 1H (pictured above) only has one window. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the H seats are preferable to the A seats, because the left middle seat (B) is right next to the aisle, whereas the right middle seat (D) is set off by the console. That means that A and B are right next to each other, separated only by the aisle, whereas D and H are not. As a result, the H seats feel more private, even though the seats are on the aisle.

Seriously, if you’re flying SAS business class, call them up and ask to change your seat to 1H, or 9H if you’re on an A340.

What’s your favorite seat in SAS business class? If you don’t say 1H or 9H, don’t bother saying anything, since you’re dead to me.

 

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Dutch Crunch

I’ve been pretty excited to fly SFO to Amsterdam on KLM’s new business class, which looks fantastic. The seats actually look pretty similar to United’s trans-con BusinessFirst, but the whole aesthetic is taken up a notch, and they’re in a dedicated mini-cabin on the upper floor of the 747 (or in the nose, if you prefer that). They’re not as good as reverse-herringbone seats if you’re traveling alone (since you’ll need to climb over your seatmate to use the bathroom), although since Justine and I will be traveling together, it’s not as much of a concern.

The plan was to use FlyingBlue miles, since I easily earned 100,000 Citi Thank You points from sign-up bonuses earlier this year, and those transfer 1:1 to FlyingBlue. Then I learned that you can often book the same seats using Delta SkyCents, and since partner awards haven’t been sent through the wood-chipper yet, you can get a whole lot of value out of them. Plus, with Delta you avoid fuel surcharges on the outbound route, which saves around $500 for two tickets.

Nothing’s ever permanent, though, which makes planning for trips over a year away pretty difficult. To wit: I just noticed that while AMS-SFO has traditionally been served by the 747, KLM also uses an A330 around half the time. While that normally wouldn’t matter, it turns out that the floor of the A330 can’t support the weight of the new business class seats, which means that they still sport the old seats (affectionately dubbed “slip n’ slide” seats on FlyerTalk because they don’t recline all the way, and you end up sliding down toward the foot rest).

Now, nothing is inherently wrong with these seats… and to be honest, flying in this cabin would still be the nicest trans-atlantic flight I ever took. The problem is that it costs the same 62,500 miles to fly the A330 as the 747, meaning I’d be paying the same amount for an inferior product. Looking out into the future, it looks like the A330 is mostly used in the winter when (I’d guess) demand to go to cold and rainy cities in Europe isn’t at its peak. Still, given the frequency of aircraft swaps, it now gives me pause to build my strategy around KLM now that I know that I could pay for a flat bed seat on a 747 and get downgraded to a slip n’ slide on an A330.

Requisite question designed to spur a flurry of responses in the comments section: How did YOU handle the rage the last time an airline swapped planes and downgraded your seat?