46A is the Best Seat on Boeing 747

This is not a secret, but very few people know it, and most people either don’t care or don’t know.

The best seats in the economy class of Boeing 747 or UA858/UA857 are 46A or 46K. Why?

Economy Plus

United Mileage program has a special grade called “United Mileage Plus Premier” membership. Holders of this card can enjoy seats with bigger space than other Y class seats. Fortunately, I am a Premier member of United.

The Seats have all the Benefits

46A and 46K are window seats. I like window seats. Although during the 10+ hours of flights, only few minutes after departure and before landing are really interesting, I still enjoy pressing my noise onto the window and see what is happening outside. During the flight, to have a sense of what is happening outside is important for me. I am that type of curious people.

Also, it is just at the emergency exit. There are no seats before the seat. So you can extend your legs as far as you can.

You don’t need to interrupt others to leave your seats and walk around, and exercise. It is combination of good view of a window seat, and convenience of a aisle seat.

There is something even better. The kitchen is just besides you. You have easy access to all beverage in a DIY manner even when everyone is in deep sleep.

Other Options

46B, 46C, and 46I, 46J are also good choice. There are 6 seats available on one air crafts. 35A to 35 K are also good. They are as the same arrangement as row 46. The only problem for 35A and 35K are, they don’t have a window. If it is the case, 35C and 35I may be much better to combine convenience of aisle seat and big space of emergency location seats.

Frequent Fliers

Many frequent fliers know the secret. When I was seated at 46J during my flight back from San Francisco to Shanghai, the gentleman seated at 46K told me, he only fly with 46J, United in his recent years. If there is not 46J, or 46A, he would rather delay the flight. His agency knows his preference well, and every time he get on board, he is sure that he will get the seat he likes.


There is nothing else interesting during the flight. On flight, I enjoyed the movie Webeldon (2004).

The flight typically arrive earlier than expected (5:45 pm v.s. scheduled 6:18 pm).

18 thoughts on “46A is the Best Seat on Boeing 747

  1. It is clear to me that the Chinese love the spacious seats on a Boeing 747 aircraft. Jian Shuo Wang loves seat 46A. He could stretch his legs and press his nose against the glass to look out without any difficulty flying from San Francisco back to Shanghai. He never could have had this comfort flying in a cramped and stuffy Airbus

  2. Interesting, and found one defect :D

    I still enjoy pressing my noise onto the window and see what is happening outside.

    > noise? nose?


  3. Great info, I like 46K too because I can turn right, put my head on a pillow against the window (shade down) and take a nap after I eat, then I feel good when I arrive at my destination. When I travel with my husband, I take 46 J so I put my head on his shoulder. Our daughter prefers 46 H so it works for the entire family.

  4. Jian Shuo

    You may not be able to enjoy those comfy and spacious Boeing seats in future years.

    The Chinese obviously want an Airbus manufacturing plant in China. They also likely want all of Airbus’s technical and proprietary info.

    Question: will Airbus sell its technical *Airbus* heart and soul to China?

    Plane plant?

    Airbus is considering building a plant in Tianjin, which would be the first of its manufacturing facilities to be located outside of Europe. China has approved the French company’s plan to build an A320 assembly plant, but Airbus has not yet made a final decision. The Chinese market for planes is expected to reach US$230 billion by 2023; as of October 31, 2005, Airbuses made up about 29% of the Chinese fleet. Boeing is still the leader in this market, something a China Airbus plant could possibly change.

  5. But I felt that the tables for those rows are a little bit difficult to use than those ones folding down from the back of chairs in front of you… Do you know now you can select or change your seat on http://www.ual.com?

    Why didn’t Ebay allow you to fly in the business class for international travel? I thought it is a good company and treats its people well?

  6. I’m unsure if the seating plan is the same as with the KLM (the 46A and 46K are on the same place as you had though) but I recommend you to take the 21A or 21K next time… when I flew between Shanghai and Holland I had that seat as well.. it’s also an exit seat but it is better in some ways.. you’re in front of the exit which is used to leave the plane (fast exit from the plane after arrival) and it’s in front of the wings which is usually better during turbulence and such :)

  7. The seating can differ depending on airline and even on version of aircraft within the airline. I strongly recommend seatguru.com http://www.seatguru.com. I use it all the time before my flights to help pick airline and aircraft specific seating requests.

  8. Airbus is obviously in trouble and I think big trouble. When top management is crooked, the company is on the brink of sliding further behind Boeing.

    Go Boeing! Beat Airbus!

    BBC News

    Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK

    Crisis talks over Airbus troubles

    Mr Forgeard says problems with the A380 should be put in perspective

    The management of embattled aerospace group EADS has met for the first time since the Airbus-owner announced a severe profit warning.

    The firm’s shares plunged 26% when it reported further delays in the delivery of its Airbus A380 superjumbo.

    EADS also faces allegations of insider dealing, after co-chief Noel Forgeard sold shares in the firm in March.

    Opposition politicians in France have called for Mr Forgeard’s position at the head of the firm to be reviewed.

    Executives present

    Mr Forgeard insists he sold the shares before he knew of delays to the plane and did nothing wrong.

    Internal divisions are causing difficulties for the Franco-German group with reports that changes in senior management could be imminent.

    I sold the shares in a completely transparent manner

    Noel Forgeard, EADS co-chief executive

    Check EADS’ share price

    The company confirmed a management meeting took place on Monday but downplayed its significance, saying it was not a formal board meeting.

    According to unconfirmed industry sources, the firms four most senior figures – co-chairmen Arnaud Lagardere and Manfred Bishchoff, Mr Forgeard and fellow chief executive Tom Enders – were all present.

    Mr Enders has acknowledged that the current situation constituted a crisis for EADS which had extended beyond Airbus.

    Political pressure

    The A380s has been delayed because of problems with its wiring and airlines are now calling for compensation over the six-month extra wait.

    The delays are expected to reduce the firm’s annual earnings by 500m euros ($630m; £340m) between 2007 and 2010.

    But in an interview in French business newspaper La Tribune, Mr Forgeard said the problems “must be put in the proper perspective”.

    They did not “raise questions about the quality of the design of the airplane itself”, he said.

    The question I am asking is whether today Mr Forgeard can stay at the head of the EADS group

    Francois Hollande, French Socialist leader

    Mr Forgeard said he was “shocked” by the claims he had profited from insider knowledge when he, three of his children and two other executives sold shares before the A380 announcement was made.

    “I sold the shares in a completely transparent manner,” Mr Forgeard said.

    “The only question is whether I had privileged information at that time. The answer is categorically no.”

    Pressure is growing on the French government – which owns 15% of EADS – to intervene in the situation.

    “The question I am asking the prime minister is whether today Mr Forgeard can stay at the head of the EADS group?” Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party leader, said.

  9. Stephen, my friends is flying on UA858, and called me that the local UA said it is reserved for Mileage Plus Premier Golden, instead of Premier. They also said the neibourghing seats are also for Golden. Not sure why last time they assigned it for me.

  10. Just became acquianted with your blog. Very fresh! Check out http://www.seatguru.com/ which provides seating charts for many international airlines, and http://www.flyertalk.com/ which has lots of bbs discussion about what seat is the best, and virtually everything you ever wanted to know about frequent flyer programs.

  11. On a United 747-400, the legroom at 35A and 35K is impaired by the raft-slide container in the bottom of the emergency exit door … directly at your feet. And as Wangjianshuo points out, there are no windows in this row. Furthermore, 35 is the row closest to the midcabin toilets … lines form, and people congregate and talk in the space in front of those seats.

    Similar for row 46.

    My personal preference is for an aisle seat in the middle section around row 40. I like that because only one person, not two, needs to get out … and it’s far enough back from the screen that the light isn’t a bother. But, indeed, the legroom isn’t as good as the aisle seat in the exit row :-)

  12. I am not a premiere exec this year, so I cannot reserve exit row seats. My choice has always been 32D/G if I cannot get row46. The middle section is better just like the other person stated. More likely you are only blocking one person. Also the way the bulk head is configured you actually have ample leg room in the middle setion of this row. The A-C and H-J seats have less leg room. Being the first row in the eco class, it gives u some of the C class feeling, at least when noise and air quality is concerned.

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