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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.