The 747 is an old plane, and only a few airlines still operate the 747. One of the most prized aspects of aviation culture is the ability to sit on the upper deck of the 747. My parents were accustomed to making sure they got business class seats back when they were United frequenters, just so they could fly on the upper deck more often.
As I talked about yesterday, I flew Thai’s 747 in business class from Bangkok to Hong Kong. While the upper deck of Thai’s 747 is similar to how most airlines configure the upper deck of their 747, their lower deck configuration is rather unique, which sprouts the question of which really is the best place to sit on Thai Airways’ 747.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Upper Deck
What seat does Thai Airways offer on their 747?
Thai Airways offers their old longhaul business class seat on their 747. The seat is similar to that of their A330s and 777s in almost every way, with the added option of a “lazy-Z relax” preset and more high-definition TVs.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Seats 19J and 19K
While the seats are angled flat, I found them okay for lounging and sleeping, and they were certainly more than enough for a two-hour flight. However, these 747s do operate on longer flights (such as to Sydney), where the optimal seat choice becomes more important.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Bed
I really enjoyed my seat on the upper deck
When we selected our seats rather close to departure, I was initially skeptical about our choice of seats in the last row of the upper deck. Thai Airways features one more row on the right side than on the left side, and that final row was where we were seated. I was worried that the stairs would make for a rather noisy flight.
Since the lavatories are only featured in the front of the upper deck, we had virtually no foot traffic, as I was the only passenger who used the stairs at all during the flight. Therefore, I’d say that seats 19J and 19K are the best non-exit row seats on the upper deck.
Being able to walk the 747’s stairs a few more times didn’t hurt
What about the exit row seats?
Row 16 on the upper deck serves as an exit row, so all the business class seats in that row feature an insane amount of legroom. I didn’t see flight attendants sitting across the seats in row 16 for too long, though Thai Airways does ask you to switch off your electronics during taxi, takeoff and landing. This rule isn’t usually reinforced (I was using noise-canceling headphones and taking photos during takeoff and landing during the flight), though you might not want to be using your electronics in front of the flight attendants. It’s up to you if it’s worth sacrificing double the legroom just to spend a little bit longer with your phone and camera, though.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Exit Row Seats 16J and 16K
For the foot traffic reason, though, I’d avoid selecting a seat anywhere in front of row 16.
Downstairs is a compelling option, too
Normally, I’d urge readers to avoid selecting a seat on the lower deck of the 747, as the cabin is usually much less private, featuring either 2-2-2 or even 2-3-2 configurations. Thai Airways elected to place their crew galley on the right side of the aircraft, so the cabin only features the left and middle seats in a 2-2 configuration, with the middle seats adjacent to a wall.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lower Deck
The seats on the right side face a wall, so that’s great for people with acrophobia who would like some privacy (if you’re one of those people, go for an F seat on the lower deck). Unfortunately for everyone else that’s not great, since the three pairs of seats adjacent to the wall are the only seats in business class that don’t get access to a window.
Instead the spaciousness of the cabin can be most felt when you sit on the left side, since you still get the window (and the best view as well, since the actual “viewing area” on the windows is bigger on the lower deck than on the upper deck).
Thai Airways Boeing 747 Business Class Lower Deck Seats 22A and 22B
Seats 22A and 22B are also exit row seats without having the issue of facing the flight attendants during takeoff and landing, as there’s no partition between the business and first class cabins. Instead, those sitting in 22A and 22B would be peering directly into the first class cabin.
Thai Airways Boeing 747 First Class/View from Seats 22A and 22B
I wouldn’t sit in seats 22A and 22B if I had first class cabin jealousy, though you do get a bigger window, more legroom and a more spacious cabin with wider aisles without losing the window view. The only downside is that all first and business class passengers will be walking within a meter in front of you while they board. Still, I’d say that seats 22A and 22B are the best seats in Thai Airways’ 747 business class.
It’s also worth noting that the ceilings are higher and the overhead bins are bigger on the lower deck, which is another compelling reason to choose the lower deck and forgoing the upper deck of the 747.
Bottom Line: Which Seats Would I Pick?
On Thai Airways’ 747, I’d probably pick my seats in this order:
- Seats 22A and 22B
- Seats 19J and 19K
- Row 16
- Seats A and B in rows 23-25 (I think I value the spaciousness of the lower deck over the privacy of the upper deck, and the storage bins are bigger on the lower deck anyway)
- Rows 17 and 18
- Rows 12 and 14
- Seats E and F in rows 23-25
- Row 11
Regardless, you’ll have a fine flight in Thai Airways’ 747 business class. I hope I get to fly on Thai Airways’ 747 more before the airline retires the 747 from their fleet.
What’s your favourite seat in Thai Airways’ 747 business class?