My First Time Flying In Business Class “Honeymoon Seats”

Filed Under: Travel

We all have different seat preferences. Thank goodness we do, because it means more of us can select the seats we like. When it comes to staggered business class configurations, my preference is almost always to sit in a window seat, and specifically, in the window seat closest to the window. Those seats have quite a bit of privacy, so you really feel like you have your own little cocoon, not to mention you can easily look out the windows and enjoy the view.

The “true” window seat in Emirates A380 business class

For staggered configurations there are generally two types of setups in the center sections. In some configurations, seats in the center section are spaced equally far apart from one another in all rows.

Center seats are equally far apart from one another in Delta’s 767 business class

Then other airlines have configurations with what I call “honeymoon” seats. The seats alternate between being right by the aisles, and then in the next row being very close together. In those situations, the center seats are often popular with couples traveling together, since you’re sitting right next to them, can easily talk, etc. That’s why I call them “honeymoon seats,” because they’re great if you want to be seated close to someone.

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Etihad A330 business class cabin

So today Ford and I selected the “honeymoon seats” for our four hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Male. I’ve been wanting to test these seats, so a fairly short daytime flight seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

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Etihad A330 business class seats

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Etihad A330 business class seats

Well, the honeymoon seat setup was exactly as I was expecting — I’m not a fan.

Yes, the seats are cozy and you can sit right next to a loved one. However, the way I see it, the single most valuable commodity on a plane is space, and you give that up with these seats. It actually in some ways feels tighter than a pair of two seats in economy on the A330. That’s not intended to be hyperbolic — the seats are only slightly wider, except they feel more claustrophobic since you have consoles around you, so can’t even stretch your arms or feet into the aisle, etc.

These seats also seem super awkward if you happen to be seated next to a total stranger. The good news in the case of Etihad’s A330 configuration is that there’s a small partition that can be raised. It can be raised enough so that you don’t feel like you’re on top of the person next to you, though you still don’t really get any privacy.

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Etihad A330 business class seats

I’m happy to have tried a “honeymoon seat,” though I give these seats a pass, personally. If you’re traveling with someone and really want to be able to talk to them nonstop, then this type of seat is your only real option for this configuration. At the same time, I’m not a fan of sacrificing seat comfort for that.

I’m not sure if other airlines have more comfortable versions of this configuration, but I don’t see myself trying it again anytime soon.

Have you flown in one of these “honeymoon seats?” What did you make of it?

  1. Honeymoon seats are great on the new Etihad 787! But in saying that, you might have great service from your cabin crew but your partners cabin crew member will be dreadful! Has happened to me and I was disappointed. Why? I don’t know, so the next route, she flew in a window seat and I had the isle and win win, we had the same cabin crew member in J serving us both!

  2. Wow already on honeymoon? Do you and ford know how many kids you want? ADOPT.

    Don’t be an ass like the rest of humanity and make it about just passing your genes.

  3. My husband and I are much bigger people than you and Ford and have no problem in the these seats, so I continue to really not understand what you are talking about. Though we have flown them on 777s and A380 upper deck, which are wider than A330s, so that might be part of it. I would suggest trying them on a wider aircraft type before rendering a final decision.

  4. I like them. DH and I usually pick them when flying together and he is quite tall. I think you fly so much they feel small, but to the rest of us, they are fine. 😉

  5. Airberlin has similar honeymoon seats. I loved it when we (me and my wife) travelled together and sat in those seats. The only thing I did not like about that setup was that I could see her video screen just as well I could see mine. It was hard to focus on my screen when the other screen was so close.

  6. I actually think that this is the best overall setup for a business cabin as you have the choice to sit close to someone you’re travelling with if you desire but still has plenty of private seats if not.

    I do agree that it would be a bit awkward if you were seated next to a stranger on a long flight, but there are many set ups where you’re stuck next to someone unless you don’t have a seat mate.

    It would be interesting to see how often two solo travellers would get stuck together like this, as you’d imagine their popularity especially on a route to somewhere like the Maldives

  7. I don’t like them at all…… plus the entire cabin layout with these configurations results in very inconsistent quality / experiences. The ‘real’ window seats are terrific, all ‘aisle’ seats wether in window or center section are so-so at best, and the ‘honeymoon’ seats are a disaster if flying with a stranger (never happened to me, luckily). So, choose your seat wisely!

  8. @bgriff

    Actually a330 (and a340) and a380 upper deck are the exact same width … the a380 main deck is of course wider

  9. As a solo passenger, the last thing I want is to get stuck in one of these next to a stranger, with or without the partition. Bad idea, two thumbs down…..

  10. As much as I like to give Lucky a hard time, some of the trolling is ridiculous. Married in Bali and honeymoon in the Maldives? If for whatever reason you actually care whether two dudes tie the knot, a certain level of trolling talent is required to avoid suggesting they did it in Indonesia. That’s just basic fact-checking.

  11. Air Berlin has honeymoon seats on their A330 in Business Class. They are great if you are traveling with very young children.

  12. I recently flew Etihad’s A330 from MLE to AUH and found the hard product to be nice, but the seat incredibly uncomfortable when upright. I could feel metal bars through the cushion. Did you experience this?

  13. Can you easily talk with someone across the aisle? I’m traveling with a friend but we are not small people.

  14. If u are with your partner, then these seats are certainly more private than those directly along the aisle. I would prefer the inside seats as the additional privacy is useful, especially when sleeping.

  15. Lucky, I understand the lack of privacy with these seats, but how is the space any more limited than the “true” window seats you prefer (and I too prefer them when travelling solo). The shoulder space and room to move arms is very similar and the window seat should feel even more claustrophobic with a wall on one side.

  16. Anyone try the honeymoon seats on Iberia? Deciding whether to take these to MAD or just do two window seats

  17. I think you don’t feel really happy with Etihad in this trip for any reason and in my opinion you are not very objective about Emirate, always in favour of it.

  18. Judging by the photos on his website, you seem to have been at Al Maha at the same time as SFO777…. very smiley Ford watching some birds of prey!!

  19. Lucky, are you copying my itinerary for my trip around the world in July?? First, it was the Apartment from LHR to AUH and now AUH to MLE? The EXACT flight I’m taking also!! Please don’t tell me you are flying from MLE to SIN after this?? Because if you are, this is getting weird…….

  20. As it’s your honeymoon will you stay in a world class hotel, or will it be another mid-range chain hotel like the Conrad or that place you stayed at New Years…?

  21. I flew these just the other day and I agree with lucky. Due to the stagger, it is basically a 2-4-2 seating width wise. It was tight, very tight. No place to put anything. And the entrance to get into the middle seats, or the window seat for that matter? About 12 inches.

    I thought this was a horrible layout, there are no good seats. Aisle seats are totally open to the aisle and window/middle seats are so tight you might as well be in coach!

    I just got off nearly 17 hours on ey 777 in first, I would not have been ok in biz.

    Alternatively, I have done 8 segments on Qatar in the past 2 weeks, 340, 350, 777 and 330. While I didn’t love the 330, it doesn’t have good places to store anything, it was miles better than etihad. The 350 is great, the 777 was very good, and the 330/340 not great design, but still something you can be comfortable in, even for a long flight.

  22. @shaun

    I have done the good (private) window seats on Iberia and really liked them. I think the honeymoon ones would be good too if you are with your significant other.

    Iberia service was much better than I expected. The best part was that in both flights I did the flight attendants were nice AND great at kicking out people who were trying to self-upgrade. That and they pro-actively offered bread 😉 The Madrid lounges do the job, if a bit crowded.

  23. I’ve flown in those seats on Etihad’s 777 and have to agree with Ben that they feel extremely confining. At least in an aisle or window seat there is some shoulder room so you don’t feel so wedged in. Definitely my least favorite business class full flat seat.

  24. my friend and I just flew EY B777-200LR to LAX on a 16.5hr flight. those seats were great. nice and private.

  25. Lucky, not much of a romantic are we? 😉 My wife and I had a great time on TG J honeymoon seats, on B777-300ER.

    @MattJ – indeed we ran into the phenomenon of the FA in the two aisles providing different levels of service – both excellent but one far more zealous than the other.

    I think it started during boarding when I casually mentioned to the FA (on my side) that Veuve Clicquot was my wife’s favourite champagne and so the FA topped up her champagne out of courtesy – the FA on my wife’s side must have spotted this, and became ultra-attentive from then on, grabbing every opportunity to top up both our glasses, asking my wife if she wanted anything etc, proactively offering little treats like chocolate etc. It turned quite obviously competitive and I sensed it got a bit beyond friendly – though not to the extent that it made us feel uncomfortable.

    Later in the flight, the FA on my wife’s side asked (nicely of course) her to complete a feedback form. We only had positive things to say, and the FA obviously had something to gain out of it. All in all, everyone was happy – although I am not sure of the fate of the FA on my side – I certainly couldn’t complain about the extra top-ups of champagne and wine!

  26. I have flown them myself with Etihad. It is a great seat with a child especially if they are younger (Do not not have to leave the seat to help them). Flying with a stranger I agree “too close” for comfort.

  27. Lucky, I enjoyed meeting you and Ford on the flight. My spouse and I ended up opting for the window seats instead of the middle seats. It seemed a little awkward sitting in first class, while our sensai had to slum it in business 😉 Anyhow, it’s probably for the best that y’all went to another resort or else you wouldn’t have gotten to relax at all!

  28. So we have these seats on TAP from Boston to Lisbon coming up in a few months. Teju and I will be in the honeymoon seats and our 2 boys 14 and 13 will be in the same row Aisle seats. We are not tall people 5’5″ so based on the comments we should be fine I think. Looking forward to the experience.

  29. Wow … and all this time, I thought you liked being on top ….

    “It can be raised enough so that you don’t feel like you’re on top of the person next to you, “

  30. We are traveling on China southern’s a380 with two children (9 and 13). Hubby and I will most likely take the honeymoon seats. Would you recommend our girls sit to the side of us in the same row? Or in front (or behind) us in another row?

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