TALKING POINT | They're the favoured seat of many frequent flyers – a prize pick at the best of time, especially if you want to turn your business class seat into an office above the clouds.
They're the 'throne' seats available on a handful of airlines due to a unique seating layout, where instead of two adjacent seats there's just one seat flanked by a pair of useful side tables.
This makes them not only exceptionally private but ideal for spreading out your work or inflight reading, keeping laptops and tablets and smaller knick-knacks within reach, and even watching a video on your laptop during dinner.
Throne seats are understandably prized by solo travellers – so much so that Swiss airlines last year began charging a premium seat selection fee of between 99 and 199 Swiss Francs (A$135-$270) – unless passengers are elite HON Circle and Senator members of the airline's Miles & More frequent flyer program, who can choose them for free and before they're offered to the hoi polloi.
In most cases there are only a handful of thrones on any Swiss jet – for example, just 12 out of the 62 business class seats on Swiss' new Boeing 777-300ER – so their scarcity makes them even more valuable.
Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 jets also sport a handful of thrones, because it selected the same business class seat as Swiss (specifically, Thompson Aero Seating's Vantage model) which makes the throne a necessary part of the cabin layout.
Of the 35 business class seats on Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A350 there are just four thrones (at 2K, 5K, 9K and 11K, all of which are located on the right side of the aircraft).
Lufthansa has also incorporated a throne into its custom-designed business class for the new Boeing 777-9 jets, which will begin flying from 2020.
However, these thrones are in the middle of the big Boeing jetliner and alternate between every second row of two-across seats – so there'll be more of them, underlining Lufthansa's deliberate choice to take the business class throne mainstream.
That said, no everybody wants to sit on the throne: many business travellers consider them uncomfortably confining when it's time to sleep, due to the presence of those side walls created by the shelves.
If you've flown in thrones on Swiss or Malaysia Airlines, what's your take: do you go out of your way to choose a thone seat, and are these at their best during the daytime portions of a flight but at their worst for sleeping?