As any frequent flyer can attest to, not all seats within the same cabin are created equal. Airlines use all kinds of techniques to have as efficient of a layout as possible, and in many cases that means some passengers get better seats than others.
In the case of SWISS’ wide body fleet, the best seats are the “throne” seats, so I wanted to talk about what those are, and how you can assign them at no cost. I wrote about this several years ago, but the procedure for snagging these has changed since then.
In this post:
The basics of SWISS’ business class throne seats
SWISS has fully flat business class seats on all of its long haul aircraft, comprised of Airbus A330s, Airbus A340s, and Boeing 777s. The seats are in a staggered configuration, meaning that in each row the position of seats alternates.
Due to how this configuration works out, SWISS planes have what are often referred to as throne seats. Take SWISS’ Boeing 777-300ERs, for example, where the configuration in each row alternates between being 2-2-1 and 1-2-2.
Below is what that looks like in practice.
As you can see, a majority of seats are in pairs, whether seated in the center section or by the windows.
However, in each row you have a single seat, that’s referred to as a “throne” seat. Personally I love these seats, given how much privacy they afford, and since you have direct aisle access and a window view.
There is one downside to these seats, though, for what it’s worth — the footwells are quite small. That’s because the reason these seats are so efficient is because the footwell is located between the seats in front.
For those curious, here are the exact seats that are throne seats on each SWISS aircraft type:
- On the Airbus A330-300, throne seats include 4A, 6A, 8A, 10A, and 12A
- On the Airbus A340-300, throne seats include 4A, 6A, 8A, 10A, and 12A
- On the Boeing 777-300ER, throne seats include 4A, 5K, 7A, 8K, 9A, 10K, 11A, 12K, 14A, 15K, 16A, and 17K
As you can see, the 777 has throne seats on both the left and right side of the cabin, while the A330 and A340 just have throne seats on the left side of the cabin. That’s because the cabin is narrower, so on the right side there’s only one seat along the windows in each row.
SWISS usually charges for throne seats
SWISS realizes that people prefer these seats to “normal” seats, so the airline typically charges somewhere around $150-200 (USD) to reserve one of these seats in advance. When you pull up the seat map for a flight in advance, you’ll see that pricing reflected.
The only exception is that elite members of the Miles & More program can assign these seats in advance at no cost. Specifically, this applies to HON Circle members and Senator members.
How to select SWISS throne seats for free
Obviously it varies by flight, but in my experience rarely do throne seats all fill up in advance. There might be a few Senator and HON Circle members per flight, but beyond that, not many people want to pay cash to assign seats in business class (just don’t tell British Airways).
Fortunately as the departure approaches, any business class passenger can select one of these. However, there’s a trap you need to watch out for.
If you access your reservation on SWISS’ website or app starting around 48 hours before departure, you’ll suddenly see that these special seats show as being free of charge, and no longer list a price.
Back in the day, this trick worked, and you could assign those seats as of that point. However, that’s no longer the case. If you try to assign a throne seat in the 24-48 hour window, that new seat assignment won’t stick, and on top of that, you’ll lose your previous seat assignment.
Nowadays the way to secure throne seats is to select them during online check-in, starting 23 hours out. If you do it at that point, then the seat assignment should confirm without issue, and you won’t be charged.
This even works if you’re checking in through a partner airline. For example, I was flying from Miami to Montreal to Zurich on Air Canada connecting to SWISS, and SWISS directed me to Air Canada’s website for online check-in. Air Canada’s website showed me all available SWISS business class seats, including the throne seats.
SWISS’ business class throne seats are generally considered to be the best seats in business class on the airline. Reserving these in advance either requires paying extra, or requires having a high status tier in the Miles & More program.
Fortunately these seats open up to all business class passengers during online check-in, so keep an eye out for those. Just don’t try to assign one of these seats between 48 hours of departure and when online check-in opens. While SWISS might not show a cost for these seats, the seat assignment won’t stick.
What has your experience been with assigning SWISS throne seats?