Last night I spoke with my mom. She and my dad are taking a trip to South East Asia and used American Express points to book reward flights through Air Canada. My mom was unhappy with the seat assignments she’d gotten, and enlisted me to help her research the best seat options. Well, was I envious or what to discover she’s flying on the Thai A380 from Paris to Bangkok. The question, how to pick airplane seats; the answer, carefully.
The A380 is quite impressive in size and design. I flew on the A380 in January from Bangkok to Hong Kong and I was very excited, because even though it was only 3 hours, it was my first time on an A380.
Business Class and First Class are located on the top level of the airplane. The front section of the top floor held 12 first class pods with a 1-2-1 configuration and the middle section held 60 business class seats with a 1-2-1 configuration and the rear section held 58 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.
The seats have the same color schemes as other planes, shades of purple and pinks. First class is yellow with purple accents, business class is purple with pink accents and coach is purple and pink.
The business class offers four different seat configurations. The window seats are A, B, J and K. The center seats are D, G, E and F. E and F seats would be great for people who are traveling together as the seats are close together with a traditional divider in-between (not a ton of privacy.) D and G would be good seats for single travelers as would A, B, J and K. The difference between A, B, J and K is where the seat is. B and J are directly on the asile with the seat console and storage area next to the window. A and K seats are directly next to the window with the console next to the aisle. A and K provided the most privacy of any seats.
For my parents, we selected seats 15 E&F so that they could talk to each other during the flight. Picking seats has become very challenging for non-frequent flyers with all of the new aircraft in the air. If you’re flying, and you’re not familiar with the plane’s layout, check website or ask friends and family for recommendations.
The seats are great. The tray table locks against the pod wall as opposed to being located in the seat arm. It’s a large table and you can put it into many positions. The in-flight entertainment system is operated by traditional remote but is also touch screen. The seat itself has a massage feature and can be put into several different positions and does lie flat – completely! That’s a huge difference from Thai’s traditional business class product which lie at an angle. I think my parents will be very happy with this flight.
As of June 2013, Thai had 4 A380s in their fleet and has 3 more on order. The current routes are Bangkok to Hong Kong and Bangkok to Singapore (though I couldn’t find any flights on the A380 to Singapore). With its second A380 Thai operates round-trip from Bangkok to Frankfurt (TG920/TG921) and Bangkok to Hong Kong (TG600/TG601) and the third A380 began flying from Bangkok to Narita (TG676/TG677 as of 1 January 2013. The next A380 delivered in 2013 will operate Bangkok to Paris. The final two A380s are set to arrive in Q4 of 2013 and no destinations were yet announced.
For another leg of the trip, they’re flying Air Canada Executive First on a 777-300. This plane also has a 1-2-1 layout, but it’s very different from the A380 configuration. As you can see from the image below, the seats face slightly towards the aisles. Choosing seats on this flights was complicated. The airline had assigned them both G seats, not the most ideal for people traveling together. My mom wanted to select 1G and 1K, however, upon closer inspection we discovered that the rows are offset and it made more sense to select 2G and 1K.
So, the lesson here is that you should do your research before you pick seat assignments if you really have a preference. In future posts I’ll review other seat configurations.