Which Airlines Offer Throne Seats?

Flying upfront in a premium cabin is usually a great experience. Selecting the right seat can make the experience even better, though. Couples may prefer seats close together, and many travelers have a preference for a window. However, passengers traveling alone can get much more space with a so-called throne seat on some airlines.

SWISS throne seat A330
SWISS is the largest operator of throne seats on its widebodies. Photo: SWISS

The business class throne seat

What do we mean by a throne seat? We refer here to a premium cabin seat (usually business class) in a row of just one. Unlike single seats by the window in a 1-2-1 configuration (which is fairly common with many airlines these days), throne seats are normally in alternating rows of two and one seat. This layout gives impressive amounts of space on either side of the seat – usually with private tables on each side creating the throne effect.

Such seating configurations have come about as business class has gradually improved over the years. The concept of business class as a separate cabin with improvements over economy came about in the late 1970s and early 1980s – Qantas was first, with airlines including British Airways, Pan Am, and TWA following soon after.

Qantas business class
Qantas business class on the Boeing 707. Photo: Qantas

British Airways introduced the first fully flat bed in 2000. Since then, this has become the standard of most airlines for long-haul flying. We continue to see airlines bringing in new concepts to differentiate and improve the cabins. Throne seats are one of these, along with a shift to suites and privacy from some airlines. Several airlines have such throne seats, but perhaps not on all aircraft. The following is a selection of the best available – feel free to share examples of others in the comments.

SWISS – throne seats on all widebody aircraft

Swiss was perhaps the first airline to introduce the throne seat – it has certainly become one of the most widespread and popular. Throne seats appear in business class on all its widebody aircraft.

The Boeing 777 is the main widebody aircraft with SWISS, and all 12 aircraft are configured the same. Business class is arranged five across in an alternating 1-2-2 and 2-2-1 configuration.  This gives one throne seat per row – and 12 seats out of a cabin of 62. The A340 and A330 have similar layouts and proportions of throne seats.

SWISS throne seat 777.
The cabin on SWISS’s Boeing 777, with its throne seats at the sides. Photo: SWISS

The popularity of the seats has one drawback – the airline charges extra for them. Although, they are available to select for free close to departure if not pre-booked. Simple Flying’s Jay Singh took a trip in a SWISS throne seat from Los Angeles to Zurich pre-COVID. Take a look at his extensive review and photos.

JetBlue – Mint cabin

US airline JetBlue’s Mint business class product has caused plenty of excitement. The first Mint product was launched on the airline’s A321 aircraft in 2014. The seats are based on the Vantage XL seat, but are heavily modified. This features a business cabin with 16 seats – with three rows arranged as 2-2 and two rows as 1-1. These four single seats are like small suites, with the extra space on either side that makes them a thone.

JetBlue Mint
JetBlue’s thrown seats in the original Mint business class. Photo: JetBlue

JetBlue has recently launched a new and improved Mint product. This is being installed on its A321LR aircraft and will be used on the new London routes and longer domestic flights. The upcoming A321XLR aircraft will also have similar Mint seating. These are more spacious seats, all with privacy doors and aisle access. They are arranged 1-1 and will not have throne seats. But all such seats are great for solo travelers, and there are more spacious suites in the first row.

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Finnair – thrones on the A330-300s

Finnair has a mixed selection of business class cabins amongst its aircraft. The newer A350 cabins feature Zodiac Cirrus III seats arranged 1-2-1, all with aisle access. The A330-300s have a different seat and layout though. There are still eight A330s in the fleet, but only two are currently active, according to ch-aviation.com (compared to 16 A350s and three more on order). Finnair has converted A330s to carry cargo in the main cabin during the pandemic. We will have to see whether they return to passenger service.

Business class on the A330 is arranged in alternating rows of 2-2-1 and 1-2-1. The ‘L’ seats on the right-hand side are standard single seats, but the single ‘A’ seats on the left are throne seats with extra space due to the two seats in front and behind. Depending on the configuration, there are only three or five of these seats (compared to a cabin of 32 or 45).

Finnair A350 business class
Finnair’s new A350 business class.no longer has throne seats. Photo: Finnair

TAP Air Portugal – on the older A330-200

TAP Air Portugal is another airline operating quite a variety of business cabins. One of these configurations is found on the A330-200 and has throne seats. It uses the Thompson Aero Vantage seat, with alternating rows of two and one seat on the right-hand side. Just two seats (numbered ‘J’) are throne-style. Simple Flying’s Paul Lucas tried out this throne on a flight from Lisbon to Vienna in 2019.

TAP uses a newer Recaro seat on the A330neo aircraft, arranged 1-2-1 with no thrones. This already dominates the widebody fleet, with 19 aircraft in service (and two more on the way). There are only four A330-200s still operating.

Lufthansa – throne seats coming soon

Lufthansa promises one of the best throne seats on the market, but we have yet to see it in service. The airline has unveiled a new and impressive-looking business class cabin with central throne seats. It was intended to launch on the upcoming Boeing 777X. But with the delays to the delivery of the 777X, we may see it appear first on the A350 or even retrofitted to a Boeing 747-8 aircraft.

Lufthansa Business Class
The new business class will feature great, central throne seats. Photo: Lufthansa

What other examples of throne seats do you know of? Which airlines have you flown with in throne seats? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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