Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Preferred Seat (also called Emergency Seat) Airbus A350 Economy SIN to MXP Seat 47J

Flew on SQ's Airbus A350 from Singapore to Milan Malpensa recently. It was a red-eye flight and I decided to pay the additional USD90 for what is called a 'Preferred' Seat, which is more commonly known as Emergency row seat or Bulkhead seat.

Here is the direct marketing video from SQ, trying to get me to snag a preferred seat for my MXP-SIN leg, a USD90.  Alluring picture.  



The plane, Airbus A350 serial number 9V-SMO, was a 6-month old aircraft at the time of my flight. I've flown with SQ many times before, but this experience was still novel because I haven't flown in their Preferred Seat before.

This is what my seat, 47J, looked like. 47J is the left seat in this picture, where the green jacket is resting. For row 47, it is built in a 2-3-2 configuration, due to the aircraft door at both sides of the aircraft.

Location of 47J
This graphic of the seat map gives you a good idea of where my seat was located.

I jump straight to whether the additional USD90 was worth it, given that at time of booking, I already could get an aisle seat.

Verdict? It depends.

The Pros.
No doubt that the legroom was plentiful. I could stretch my entire leg horizontally, with no issues. This allowed me to have a very good sleep. But take note the disadvantages below.

The Cons

Next to toilets
1. Preferred seats are right next to the toilets. Hence, this place could get very busy indeed, especially during peak hours for toilet use (e.g. after meals, before landing).

"Ding, Ding and Ding!"
2. At 47J, you will hear a 'ding', 'ding', 'ding' (see 9:26 of the video below), and a blue light coming on. What was that all about? Turns out that whenever a passenger presses the call button for a flight attendant, the ding sound will happen, and a small blue light will be activated. (9:26). The ding beeper and blue light is located right above the aircraft door, near 47J. You can imagine the 'ding', 'ding', 'ding' throughout the night. Fortunately, they gave me ear plugs, and I managed to sleep through. I think this wasn't an issue for 47B and 47C (i.e. the preferred seats at the other aisle), although I'm not sure.

Backpacks overhead
3. Preferred seats have no space to put your backpack under the seat in front of you, since there is no seat in front of you save for the crew seats. Everything must go overhead.

IFE stowed away until airborne
4. The inflight entertainment screen can only be deployed when the aircraft is in the air. So you don’t have access to movies when the plane is on the ground, during take off, and during landing. Other passengers in normal seats have access to the IFE throughout. This can be irritating because you can't watch movies the moment you are seated. Sometimes, it takes a while for the plane to get airborne, with all the taxi-ing.

Overall? Given that I had a good sleep (which was very important to me), the USD90 was worth the money. However, if I flew again, I would try 47A, 47B or 47C next time. (i.e the other side of the aircraft)

Seats-aside, the rest of the flight was good. We were served supper shortly after takeoff from Singapore Changi. I chose the Beef with Noodles option. I found the beef a bit tough, but it didn't bother me too much as I wasn't hungry. We were given a Magnum mini as dessert - that was nice. I slept a lot and woke up about 3 hours before landing. Breakfast was ok. I chose the noodles again. Everything went like clockwork and we landed in Milan safely.

Here is a video review of my flight.




Happy Flying!

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