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!

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3 Responses to 39K: The Seat of Doom

  1. Berno says:

    I agree that SeatGuru is a useful site. How come you didn’t use internet check-in?

  2. Erin says:

    Thanks for the shout out. Also, if you have a Blackberry or Treo, you can use our mobile site to check your seats at the airport! http://mobile.seatguru.com/

  3. Josh says:

    Berno: ’cause I’m an idiot, and will never make that mistake again.
    And see? SeatGuru really is awesome!
    Update: they put me in 63C on the way back – which was doubly nice, ’cause there was nobody beside me. Singapore Airlines are back in my good books.

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