The Seat: On this flight I thought it would be a solid move to take the “slight upgrade” by paying a few extra dollars for this exit row “preferred” seat. After all, I figured an exit row on a 5-star carrier would be as close to business class as I’ll get for under several thousand dollars. What I didn’t know is that I had also scored front row seats to a 20 hour flight attendant display of various spills from yogurt to full trays (the resulting yogurt splatter washed right out). You see, Row 49 is right beside the middle galley which can get pretty busy…and noisy. Light sleepers may want to consider a normal economy seat. The aisle and middle seats in this row are the best bet for anyone who needs extra legroom. Avoid the window seats in all exit rows (which aren’t “preferred seats”) as the exit door is very close and will keep you from stretching out…or being at all happy. You’ll sacrifice the usual amount of seat width for the built-in tray table but these seats are about a half inch wider than many airlines (but not AS wide as economy seats on Singapore’s 777-300, which are very generous), so you end up with an average amount of room. The TV screen folds up from underneath and while it’s a little small for viewing, the size made it easy to tuck away when I wanted to get up and “move about the cabin”. The seat is reasonably comfortable despite reports of less padding in exit rows. Also, this row DOES have a window unlike row 33, which is also (in part) sold as “preferred”.
Service: Awesome. Keeping in mind that this is economy and the flight attendants are keeping up with a ton of meals, special requests, duty free and more, the crew kept smiles on their faces and a pleasant demeanor…Even AFTER they spilled stuff.
Notes: Free deck of cards! (Just ask your flight attendant.)
Summary: As Singapore Airlines’ fleet continues to grow I suspect you’ll stand a better chance of scoring a flight on one of their A380′s or other aircraft giving you better entertainment and seating options, but if you’re faced with a toss up between Singapore’s 747 service and say…United’s 747? Singapore wins by a mile…no…several thousands of miles.
Rating: 4 hops (of 5).
Strategy: It’s best to reserve these seats upon booking if you really want the legroom. At the time of our purchase the fee was $50 per segment. If you’re super tall it’s a no-brainer particularly if you’re traveling between the US and Asia.
How I got it: Off-peak travel got me the lowest fare overall, leaving a little extra cash to spring for this mini-upgrade.