Swiss to charge extra for solo business class seats

By David Flynn, February 27 2017
Swiss to charge extra for solo business class seats

EXCLUSIVE | Swiss will begin charging a seat selection fee of between 99 and 199 Swiss Francs – that's around $130-$260, US$100-$200 and €90-€190 – on its desirable 'throne' business class seats from late March 2017.

The seats are prized by solo travellers on Swiss' international Airbus A330, A340 and Boeing 777 jets, as they are flanked by a pair of useful side tables.

These are superb when it comes to 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.

There's just a handful of these throne seats on any Swiss jet – for example, only 12 out of the 62 business class seats on Swiss' new Boeing 777-300ER (below), and just five out of 47 in the Airbus A340 business class cabin.

Exceptionally private and well geared to working in flight, the thrones are a quirk of the staggered business class configuration adopted by Swiss.

And while not all business travellers enjoy the throne seats – many consider them uncomfortably confining when it's time to sleep – they remain a prized pick ahead of each flight.

Swiss has always reserved throne seats for elite HON Circle and Senator members of the Miles & More program, giving its top-tier frequent flyers first shot at snaring a solo seat.

Anybody else booked into business class sees those seats as being unavailable until the day of the flight's departure, at which time thrones which have not been snapped up are flagged as available for advance seat selection.

Thrones for everybody!

But that's about to change, with the Star Alliance member declaring that any business class passenger will be able to reserve a throne seat from the end of March – providing they pony up with the extra fee.

"Privacy seats will be bookable for between CHF 99 and CHF 199, depending on the length of the flight," a spokesperson for Swiss told Australian Business Traveller.

"HON Circle Members and Senators may book these exclusive seats free of charge, subject to availability."

And that's the catch: if enough business class travellers on any given flight opt to pay extra to sit in a throne seat, there might not be any thrones left for the airline's highest high-flyers.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 61

I already have a 777 throne seat booked in April via redemption, so will be interesting to see if they move my reservation or try to charge me extra. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 162

With you Stephen787, I have LX178 in April with 7a (which admittedly is probably the worst "throne") and I will be more than a little annoyed if they try and bump me

Contrary to the popular perception I didn't need to be top tier, I have no status on Star Alliance (was Kris Elite Gold but that was about 4 years ago) and I was still able to book it, maybe a good travel agent helped

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 167

Don't know how happy people will be with, essentially, seat selection fees in J!

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

Probably the same people who are used to paying extra for seat selection with BA J.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 379

What a dumb strategy. 

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 1

Swiss is not the Swiss from years ago...just a penny pinching shell of the former Swiss Air reincarnated as Swiss International and then purchased by Lufthansa to become average at best. Charging money for a seat after someone spent 4k on J...stupid and disgusting. 

13 Aug 2015

Total posts 40

This is disappointing and does feel penny-pinching. As a M&M Senator this feels like a slap in the face.

Stupid strategy indeed and further proof that the airline industry is broken beyond repair. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 327

Not a bad idea - Swiss have been doing this for years to/from ZRH-TLV  Sit in First Class with business class service on the A330  (best Swiss F seats IMHO)  For SEN/HON free upon availability, others can pay CHF 200 or US200 from CH/IL respectively

Swiss F  is great   Use your Miles and More Evouchers or United Star Alliance Upgrade awards - window seats in LX F  or for SEN/Hon only!!!!!!!  Love it !

And throne seats are good but not fantastic  Ive only ever sat in a throne as a Lufthansa Senator (once though on a United award with my MileagePlus # in booking a nasty Swiss matron asked me to move to a non-Senator non-throne seat on a flight from ZRH-SIN.  Got the hag back by flashing the Lufthansa Senator Card but no apology     Even received an email /call from Swiss when I landed back in Australia asking what it was all about  -how dare on old hag tell me to move mid flight because a LH Senator wanted to sit in my throne!!!! And Im a LH (rather than LX) Senator Since then LX got rid of their nasty old fashioned AxRes  and you can have dual FF numbers for status and also earning just like you have always been able to  with Lufthansa Amadeus

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