Hooray for Business Class All-Aisle Seating

January 15, 2015 Updated: January 14, 2015

If you are like me and prefer sitting in an aisle seat on airplanes, I am sure you also dread the inevitable point of the journey where your window “seatmate” climbs over you like a contortionist to use the restroom just as you were almost asleep. If by chance I happen to score a seat in the center row, I have always considered it to be a wonderful and unexpected upgrade. However, on my last flight from New York to Japan, a whole new world opened up to me and I will never be the same again: all aisle business class seats.

As I entered the business class section of the Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300 plane last week, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. I immediately noticed that there was a dreaded middle seat in the center row, which always annoys me to no end. However, it wasn’t until I was situated in my chair and began to look around that I noticed the configuration on this aircraft was much different than anything I had ever seen before. There was even something different about the window seats. So, with childlike curiosity, I began to walk around to get a better look.

What Japan Airlines has done is stagger the seats in business class so that a small pathway is created for the window and middle seats in the center row to move about freely and not have to climb over anyone. Although the seat itself felt a bit smaller than some of the other business class experiences I have had, I thought that the pluses this layout provided far outweighed the minuses. There was even a movable screen to shield you from the middle or window passenger to create what felt like a little private oasis, which was absolutely wonderful.

In addition to this innovative seat configuration, the lie flat bed also had an optional “mattress pad” that you could put down to make it even more cloud like and comfortable. A few other amenities such as the 24-inch flat screen television monitor and the on-demand food ordering system were nice touches that made the long 13-hour flight very enjoyable.

As a frequent business flyer and someone who values privacy and comfort during my journey, I hope that more airlines will take similar measures to up the ante and reconfigure their seating to eliminate the chair hopping “acrobatics” we have all had to live with until now. I highly recommend that anyone spending extra money for business class tickets review at least three airline options for your trip by researching the seating layout on sites such as SeatGuru.com to find the best seating options available for your route.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels.