Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Give Me My Elbow Room; Gary Buchanan on the Best Seats to Bag across the Atlantic

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Give Me My Elbow Room; Gary Buchanan on the Best Seats to Bag across the Atlantic

Article excerpt

Byline: GARY BUCHANAN

PIONEERS of aviation used to talk about flying by the seat of their pants. Today there s nothing more pants than certain seats, especially when it comes to business class.

Getting it right each time is complicated by the fact that each airline fits different seat arrangements into aircraft types. Universally loathed in any aircraft, of course, is the centre seat, but there are others to avoid.

Here is our guide to choosing the best seat on the north Atlantic.

Arguably, British Airways has the best seats as they re flat beds , with a massive 73-inch seat pitch.

Book them on flights from Heathrow to New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Flights from Gatwick and other routes from Heathrow will have them fitted over the next 18 months.

The cocoon-like compartments occupy a vast swath of the lower deck on 747-400s, as well as in the stretched upper deck. Window seats and those in the middle of the centre section face rearwards not everyone s favourite position, although it is the safest way to fly and those in the aisles face forwards. Take your pick. The five rows of upper-deck seats (rows 60-64) are the most popular, in a 2-2 configuration. On the lower deck it is 2-4-2 across two Club World cabins the best bet is the forward cabin, rows 12-14.

Avoid the centre seats E and F and in the second cabin, row 17 and 20 because they suffer from traffic noise.

On BA routes where the flatbeds haven t yet been fitted, the older cradle seats have only a 40-inch pitch. The upper deck is the preferred option as it is more intimate.

American Airlines has increased its business class pitch to 60 inches, with a recline of 150 degrees. On Airbuses, business class is rows 6-10 and configured 2-2-2; the forward six seats offer excellent legroom, but be wary of the four seats at the rear of the cabin which are near the economy-class toilets.

It s a similar situation on 767s, but on the 2-3-2 configured 777s the business-class cabin is more private. However, seats 9B, D, G and H do encounter a degree of traffic from flight attendants. …

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