39K: The Seat of Doom

7:15am, Changi Airport Terminal 3:

“Sir, we’re out of aisle seats, the flight is booked solid; would a window seat be okay?”


“Okay, I can put you in 39K, which is a window seat.”


“Yes, sir, there will be coffee at seat 39K.”

The rule of thumb is that bulkhead seats - the ones with a wall in front - are usually pretty good. You give up the storage under the seat in front of you; in return, you have infinite legroom - a valuable asset in economy class.

On some of SQ’s 747s, there are two caveats to that rule: seats 39A and 39K. You still have to give up the underseat storage in front of you, but you’re sitting right behind the emergency exit doors. The doors have an _enormous _bulge in them for the escape slides - and there goes all your legroom. Thirty inch seat pitch? Only if I was five-three.

So it’s cramped, it’s noisy, it’s cold, there’s no power point, there’s no window and there’s absolutely no storage. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Even better, if you’ve got an iPhone (or some crappy substitute), load up SeatGuru at the check-in desk and make sure you don’t get stuck with a bad seat.

And the worst bit? I forgot to install the DivX codecs on my MBA, so I couldn’t watch any Top Gear. Aaagghh!