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Behind the Curtain: The Best and Worst New First Class Seats

It’s not always easy to redeem your frequent-flier miles for free airline tickets, but sometimes it’s worth cashing in those points for an upgrade.  Airfare Watchdog Founder George Hobica shares with Peter the best first class seats as well as the models that aren’t worth the extra money.

Peter Greenberg: George, are we really going to tell people how to pick the best first class seats on airlines?

George Hobica: First class is very expensive but I usually travel first class by using miles to upgrade. A lot of airlines are upgrading their first class cabins and their business class cabins as well. Some of the cabins are much better than others.

I found that different airlines have different planes with first class cabins. Some of the seats are also much better than others depending on the aircraft you fly.

PG: I agree. When Singapore or Emirates came out with their first class seat, I basically wanted to move in and declare it as my permanent residence

GH: Singapore Airlines actually has a first class cabins that have double beds and they have walls, so I don’t know what goes on in them.

First Class Suite. Credit Singapore Airlines.

PG: Historically Singapore doesn’t have great sense of humor. When that cabin was introduced, they held a press conference in which the head of Singapore airlines said “We need to let everyone know that this particular airline seat is for one passenger only please.”

GH: With Singapore, their Airbus A380, which I just flew in the same seats as the 777-300. The 777-200 is an angled flat seat, so you’re paying pretty much the same price but you’re not getting the same product.

PG: If they’re saying its an angled lying flat seat, I call those seats “flat lies.”

GH: Exactly, they are not very comfortable. We have a chart that lists some of the planes and airlines. You can always go to Seat Guru and they have different charts for the different aircrafts.

Right now American Airlines and US airlines are upgrading their cabins. The American Airlines Boeing 777 has really good seats that are very wide, but the 767 200 model is not so great.

American Airlines First Class Seat. Credit American Airlines.

PG: When you did your recent survey George, what was the biggest surprise? What was the best best and the worst?

GH: Singapore Airlines is definitely the best in first class and in business class. I flew in business class, but I snuck down to first class and I was shocked by the luxury of these seats. Even the business class seats are the widest business class seats in the sky.

I think we need to also give kudos to United, Delta, and American. They are improving their product to catch up with the foreign airlines, like Emirates, Singapore, Air France, Lufthansa.

PG: What was the seat that was your biggest disappointment?

GH: With United Airlines, their older planes, the 757, which they fly transcontinental and to some international destinations was a big disappoint. Also, some of the Delta seats aren’t very comfortable, but they are upgrading them.

In fact, American Airlines is also upgrading even though they are in bankruptcy, because they are using some of their savings from bankruptcy to improve some of their first class and business class products. There is a silver lining to the bankruptcy.

Have you had a disappointing first class experience? Share the service perks and errors in the comments below.

For more airplane seat information, check out:

By Peter Greenberg for Peter Greenberg Worldwide

Feature Image credit Singapore Airlines