Upcoming economy class trip on a Qantas 747? These aircraft feature on medium- to long-range sectors to LA, Dallas Fort-Worth, Narita, Singapore and Johannesburg, and we can help you when it comes to selecting the best economy seat.
UPDATE: As of 2020, Qantas is no longer flying the Boeing 747. We’ve left this article up as a tribute to the Queen of the Skies and her countless passengers who may, from time to time, wish to reminisce.
Qantas maintain three different configurations for their 747-400 aircraft, however there are some similarities between them that cause the same seats to generally be in the same places. Here are the three layouts available as of November 2013 (click to see larger):
Config 1: 9 aircraft, 270 economy seats (A380-style interiors)
Config 2: 3 aircraft, 255 economy seats
Config 3: 3 aircraft, 275 economy seats
Whilst exit row seats always offer substantial legroom, they’re often snapped up well ahead of time and have their own downsides:
- The are expensive to book unless you are an ultra-high status frequent flyer
- They tend to become a gymnasium/walking track for people stretching out
- Not having a leg rest or anything to prop yourself up on, you tend to slide down the seat when you sleep
- Seats near the doors on all aircraft can get very cold
Otherwise the best seat will depend on whether you are on a day flight, or whether you plan to get some sleep on an overnight flight (particularly the red-eyes from Singapore to Australia).
For day flights
Try and pick a seat in the last few “couple” seats, even if you are travelling alone in which case the window seat is preferable (there is also an entertainment box under the B and J seats, limiting legroom). On config 1, this will place you in 70A or 70K onwards. On configs 2 and 3, you’ll be in 71A or 71K onwards. I have deliberately left out the first row of couple seats for a reason – these seats have a gap between them and the wall of the aircraft because of the taper towards the tail. In the forward seats, this gives you plenty of legroom in front of you to stretch out into, and room to place your hand luggage next to you, rather than in the overhead bin. You are also not too close to the washrooms, yet near the best washrooms on the plane (marked with a B on the seat maps)… they’re nice and roomy. Note that if you like leaning against something these seats are not for you, as you’re quite a distance from the wall so they’re not good candidates for sleeping. They also do not have the net footrests that are strangely popular, though other seats on the aircraft do have them.
For night flights
For night flights, try and get something in the “mini-cabin” towards the front of the cabin. On config 1, this will be row 43, on config 2 it’s row 40 and on config 3 look out for row 38. The D and G seats are my picks because a cut-out in the bulkhead wall gives you plenty of leg room. Seats ABC (and their HJK equivalents) afford a similar level of comfort, though the C and H seats have about half the legroom as the bulkhead wall ends somewhere between your legs and becomes the narrowing aisle from the premium economy cabin. These seats are also great because you’re right at the front of the cabin and will be able to beat the throngs through immigration, particularly when landing at Australian airports. Note that the DEFG seats are bassinet seats on config 1, so may not be available until you check in at the airport, and even then you may be sharing them with frazzled parents and frazzled babies. Earplugs are your friend.
Seats to avoid
The row 46 and 60 bulkhead seats look like great seats, but don’t be fooled – they lack the cut-out that makes the front-of-cabin seats great. This means you actually get less legroom than any other seat, because you can’t even slide your feet under the seat in front of you.
Refurbished aircraft interiors
Aircraft with config 1 have been refurbished with seats that are similar to those offered on the flagship A380 aircraft. There are, however, a few subtle differences:
- there is no in-seat AC power in economy, just USB power.
- there is no AV controller unlike on the A380, so the only way to interact with the screen is to touch it. Sometimes, you get someone seated behind you who feels the need to stab rather than touch. Handy hint – the screen is most responsive when you turn your palm towards you and lightly touch the on-screen buttons with your finger nail.
- some seats have an under-seat entertainment box that may slightly limit legroom.
While the seats in configs 2 and 3 are still comfortable, they lack the brilliant entertainment options and large touchscreen of the newer config.
What configuration will I get?
Qantas are slowly retiring their 747 aircraft, and will eventually settle on having only the 9 that have config 1 in about 2016-17. As of November 2013, the 6 config 2 and 3 aircraft are generally used on Johannesburg and Narita runs, while the newer configurations are mostly found on Los Angeles and Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) runs, though of course this can change depending on operational requirements. Singapore tends to get a mix of types, so log in regularly to view your booking on the Qantas website, just in case it changes as your departure date nears.
This Post Has 117 Comments
THANK YOU!!!! I just used this article to find the perfect seats for me without paying the $180+ extra for each “extra leg room” seat.
thank you so much for your article. I just changed my booking from 46G to 71A now after read your article.
I always care about leg room as I am a little bit picky in it. Hopefully 71A will give me some good leg room.
I normally use SeatGuru for my booking reference for years. But this time I found your options are better than them.
Thank you for your kind comment Fergus. Enjoy your flight.
Please tell me that seat number 68 E is comfortable. I will be travelling on B747-400 to Sydney in 6 days time
This seat is in the rear cabin, it’s an inside seat, so if you need to leave your seat, you’ll have to ask your neighbour in the aisle seat to move. Other than that, it’s a standard seat with legroom not blocked by any entertainment unit or otherwise. Enjoy your flight.
Thank you very much! This was a very helpful article!
I have selected row 69 (the first row when the seating becomes 2-4-2 in economy)
This is a 14 hour flight from Vancouver to Sydney and sleep will be pretty important. The reason I selected them is because I am travelling with one other companion and this seat will make that easy.
As this is a long flight, should I reconsider any other seats on this aircraft?
Row 69 is a great place to be, but I would personally go a row back to 70. It feels a bit more spacious for the window-side passenger due to the missing seat in row 69. But I’m confident that either way you’ll be very comfortable.
Flying Sydney – San Francisco – is Row 53 good?
It’s a standard row on all configurations with no particular advantage in terms of legroom or personal space, however it is also a good distance from the front bulkhead (i.e. bassinets and babies) but not too close to galleys or toilets to be bothered by noise and traffic. Not too bad if none of the best seats mentioned above are available.
Just about to pick up row 73 as it is the only 2 seater option available. Can’t for the life of me remember if the leg room is ok though against the window? I know the fuselage curves back there, does it impact on that window seats leg/foot room in a bad way?
The curvature is unlikely to be an issue, though you will be near a door which means it could get cold. At this position the side space is pretty much the same as a standard window seat. A benefit of these seats that’s only appreciated by frequent flyers is that you can recline at any time without feeling guilty that you’re encroaching on someone’s space. Great for getting to sleep as soon as possible after takeoff, and leaving your seat reclined for nearly the whole flight.
Thank you for the article Brian. I’m travelling BNE-LAX in Feb 2017 and as there is 3 of us I don’t know if I should book 68 A, B & C or 71 D, E, F? Rows 72-75 are unavailable so possibly already booked. What would you recommend? Thank you.
71DEF are no different from any other row, except the closer you are to the rear the more you’ll feel the bumps (some people sleep better with that). 68ABC probably have the slight edge here. If you’re like me and feel guilty reclining into the people behind you, 68A will alleviate this burden, assuming you’re on the newer configuration where row 69 goes down to pairs. 68A will also provide something to lean on while you sleep. Have a great flight!
Hi Brian thanks for the article. I am flying Sydney to Santiago on Boeing 747 400 with two others friends.
These are the seats available at this point for 3 people, 53ABC, 54ABC, 56ABC, 66ABC, 68ABC, 59HJK, 67HJK.
Could you please tell me which ones you recommend best for sleeping and confort. I will appreciated your advices.
Thank u so much!!
Hi Camilo, thanks for your question. I’d be inclined to go with rows 66-68 rather than 53-56 and 59. Rows 66-68 are in the centre of the cabin and away from the galley, which can sometimes be a bit noisy. Also look out for the bassinet locations – if there are infants on board you may be right next to them, particularly in row 59. There isn’t all that much of a difference between ABC and HJK window seats in my experience. Based on the seats you’ve mentioned, I’d probably be picking 68ABC. Have a great flight!
Great article, thanks.
I have my wife, daughter and I in 43A-C for MEL-HKG next year. My daughter will demand A for the window so my wife and I will select between B and C. I am 6’3″ and she is about 5’6″. Noting your comment about the cut in to the bulkhead, am I best to take the middle or the aisle?
Hi Steve, well done getting row 43! You’ll be about as comfortable as you can get in the main cabin. I have checked the file photos we have, and unfortunately cannot find a good one of the cutout. From memory, the C seat actually has you lined up with the edge of the bulkhead so that you can actually stick your feet out under the curtain (into premium economy). This will give you the ability to stretch out when the cutout isn’t adequate, but you’ll need to be careful of crew and trolleys bursting through the curtain. In any case, the aisle is probably the way to go for you.
Hi Brian, we are traveling from MEL – LAX on dec 5 with qantas on 747-400 (husband, me & two 17yo. If we sit together (center row) is one better than the other – current availability is row 64, 65 or rows 67-71.
Alternatively we split up for side seats ABC or HJK (no twos left though)
Any thoughts/hints greatly appreciated
Hi Alison, I can’t tell which configuration you are on from your description, but if you are on the one where row 63 is a bulkhead row you may want to go a bit further back as there’s a good chance there will be babies in bassinets in row 63. Other than that, there’s probably not much of a difference. Sticking close to the centre of the cabin will keep you away from foot traffic and galley noise. My personal choice would also be to keep everyone together rather than split over two rows as it’s easier clambering over (or being clambered over by) someone you know. Airplane cabins are intimate enough as it is 🙂 Have a wonderful trip.
I’m Curious with the comments on row 60 on Config 1. We are flying BNE -LAX – JFK and Row 60 appears to be the only not normal row available aside from exit row seats. I’ve flown Jetstar’s 787 Economy Bulkhead (10) and found that was a pleasant experience. I think the guarantee of no one reclining in front of you would also be a plus. So would you say that that Row 60 on Config 1 would still be a worse choice than a standard economy seat?
Hi Adrian, I think this very much comes down to personal preference. Taller folks might still go for the standard economy seat, as the ability to extend your legs might override any annoyance that might come from having the seat in front recline into you. This is certainly my preference on longer flights and I’m 5’11. If you value having personal space over the need to stretch out then the row 60 bulkhead would probably be the way to go. I don’t have measurements for the Jetstar 787 so I’m afraid I can’t make a reliable comparison.
Flying SFO-SYD in a Config 1 plane with my wife and currently have 71J and K booked. I noticed that since we allocated those seats, 70A/B have become available (they were not at the time we originally booked.) Do you know if there is a material difference in the extra room on the side of the window seat between these two rows? I am mainly interested in using it for a bit of extra legroom and am wondering whether I’d even notice a difference in the available space between the two rows?
Also, I have read conflicting reports on this – can you confirm if both window and aisle seat in the twosomes have entertainment boxes underneath them, or is it only the aisle?
Hi Craig, there is a noticeable difference the further forward you go, so 70A would have more room than 71A. Also, I can recall from flying in 70A/B that the entertainment box is under B (aisle) seat. Whilst I have flown in J/K seats my recollection isn’t 100%, however I believe it is also under the aisle seat. It’d be great if you could let us know if you have the opportunity to confirm.
Hi there. Thanks for the article. Four of us are travelling from Sydney to Vancouver. The agent has told me the best row is 46 (middle section). Your artical is the opposite. Where would you recommend? Thanks
Hi Michelle, it’s always a subjective assessment – for me, row 46 is not a great choice given the fixed and slightly narrower armrests (housing the tables and entertainment units) and lack of a cutout for legroom. However if you value not having someone recline into you, or if you’re not too fussed about being near infants, this may be the pick for you.
Have spoken to Qantas several times and they informed me that the middle four seat section it is an exit row on QF15 BNE/LAX. No bassinets and extra leg room
Hi Keith, you’re quite right – if you look at the seat maps in our article, you’ll see that there are black circles on some bulkheads. The black circles represent bassinet positions, and row 46 on config A does not have them.
Thanks Brian. Just to be clear, you agree that there is extra leg room because it is an exit row. If that is the case, that means, you do not have the trouble of not be able to stretch out your legs because of no cutout.
Hi Keith, there is no cutout at row 46 in the centre seats. That means they won’t be as comfortable as row 43, which does have a cutout that gives you more room to stretch out.
Brian, just to be clear, you agree that row 46 centre seats is an exit row with extra leg room with no problem of cut outs.
Hi Keith, seats 46DEFG do not have the cutouts. So while you’ll have no one reclining into you, if you’re tall you may feel a little cramped as your legs aren’t able to stretch out.
Hi Brian, I looked at Seat Guru and saw that row 46 had legroom so have paid the $180 for my husband for 46k and taken 46J for myself for whcih there was only a $15 charge. This may appear to have been a mistake?! My thinking was that, in the past, when I flew Malaysian airlines to London, I took an exit seat an then used a pop up box as a foot stool and took my own blanket which was very comfortable and meant I could sleep. However it seems from your comments that there is limited space in these seats? Please advise me whether I have done the right thing – there may be time to switch to another exit seat although we will not be sitting together. Thanks, Alison
Hi Alison, was the lesser charge for the K seat? If so, it’s probably because it lacks a window and also has the door’s emergency slide box limiting the available legroom. If you’re travelling together you’d have the advantage of “scooching over” to your partner’s side to share some legroom – they’ll have plenty to share.
We’re traveling from Sydney to Brisbane on March 8. This is an AA flight operated by Qantas, thus we won’t be able to pick seats until close to time of travel. Can you give us some good options when all the really good options might not be available? The last time we tood this flight on January 4, 2016, We were in the 50’s rows in the 3 seats on the left side of the plane as you enter. There was absolutely NO room. It was the most uncomfortable 14 hours I have ever spent. I was in the middle seat and the person in front of me reclined her seat to the maximum almost immediately. It was so bad the FA had to ask her to sit up so I would have enough room to put the tray table down and eat my meal. Help!
Hi Jan, I’m guessing you meant Brisbane to LA? The middle seat is almost always a world of woe. I’m always happy to pay a seat selection fee just to avoid the risk of getting one. There’s also not much you can do about someone in front of you reclining, except to book a seat at an exit row or bulkhead. As a recent commenter pointed out, the exit row A/K seats can sometimes be considerably cheaper than other exit row seats due to the presence of the emergency slide box and the lack of a window. Hope your upcoming flight is a happier experience than your last one!
Hi, my husband and I are traveling from NY to Sydney. Obviously we’d love extra legroom but really can’t pay the $180 per seat. Right now rows 59-68 B &C and rows 70-71 A & B are available. Any suggestions you could give us would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Denise, I’m not sure which exact configuration you have, but 70AB on config 1 or 71AB on config 2 will give one of you a bit of room to stretch out. Having the extra shoulder room also makes those seats seem a lot more spacious.
I will be traveling to Sydney from Johannesburg later this month. I am 1.85m so not the smallest person. I will be traveling alone. What will be the best seat to select if I am after optimum comfort and privacy for sleeping?
Hi Will, I would look out for the bulkhead seats at the very front of the cabin. On config 1, this will be row 43, on config 2 it’s row 40. If they aren’t available your next best bet might be an exit row seat.
My husband and I are travelling from Sydney to San Francisco in May this year and then San Francisco to New York and returning back to Brisbane. I have chosen seats 70A & B for both the long flights on the 747-400 aircraft. Can you tell me if there is a little more room up the back because there are only 2 seats instead of 3? Also, is it noisy at the back of the plane? I am a first time traveller and I hope I have chosen the best seats in economy. Our flight going over is a day time flight and returning is night time. Thanks in advance for your help. Kelly
Hi Kelly, The first two or three pairs of seats do give you more shoulder room if you’re in the window seat. If you’re travelling as a couple, any of these pair seats will be great. There is a bit more noise at the rear of the aircraft, particularly noticeable when the aircraft is climbing. Some people find that this is fine as it drowns out other noises (like talking) that are more likely to keep you awake when you’re trying to sleep. A set of soft ear plugs might help you sleep if this is likely to be an issue, and also some noise isolating or cancelling headphones if you are planning to watch movies. I hope you have a wonderful flight!
Thank You Brian. I feel reassured now. Kindest regards, Kelly.
We are travelling Syd- Dallas. on A380. There are 3 of us. Last time we travelled (on 747) we took the last row down in the mini cabin and seats reclined and it was great. Didn’t have to worry about anyone behind and no toilets in sight. Do the seats generally recline in those last rows. Seat guru says not but they were wrong last time.We then come back LAX – Brisbane on 747, so wondered again about the seats in that last row and if they recline. Any ideas.
Hi Helen, I’m afraid I can’t conclusively say as we have not reviewed these seats on the 747. I can say however that SeatGuru often makes the assumption that the last row will have limited recline without any justification. We have found this to be so on the Qantas A330 as well – in fact on the A330 I often pick these seats. I wish I could offer more information to help you choose, but I’m afraid on this occasion I can only guess that the seats in the last row should be ok. Perhaps one of our other readers might offer some insight?
Flying to Johberg in June, all I can get is 70K going there and 72A coming back? Or there were some seats in Row 69. Thoughts?
Hi Em, Row 69 is probably no different from most other rows around the cabin. The seats that you have in rows 70+ would be much better, so I’d suggest sticking to those. Have a great flight.
I’ve booked seats 60k&j on qantas from Vancouver to Sydney in July. It looks like a bulkhead with extra legroom according to seat guru. But you have a different opinion? Advice would be appreciated! Thanks.
Hi Kathy, in our experience, this bulkhead row does not have the cut-out for your feet, so it’s not as roomy as the forward bulkheads. This means you’d actually have more stretch room in a normal seat as your feet can at least go under the seat in front of you. Having said that, you will have the benefit of not having someone recline into you. Taller people may tend to avoid this row, but it comes down to a balance of personal preference.
Hi There, it looks like I am traveling on config 1 (QF25 / QF26). I have managed to get 58A on the way over, which looks like it’s exit row but without the extra cost? Can you confirm? I like the extra leg room as I put my square cabin bag in front and use it as a foot rest. On the way home I can only pick 46K or 60K, i know you say these are not good seats, but would i still have room for my cabin bag on the floor and feet on top? Appreciate your advice
Hi Sara, 58A is impeded by the escape slide, which is built into a large box attached to the aircraft door. This limits your legroom, so that’s why Qantas doesn’t charge the extra legroom premium. If you’re friendly with the person in 58B you can share legroom with them, otherwise you may find it a bit cramped. In the bulkhead rows you’ll have space to place your cabin bag on the floor as a footrest. You can only do this in-flight, so your bag will need to be in the overhead compartment for takeoff and landing.
Thanks Brian! 43A has just popped up as available. If I take it will I be trapped by the people in B and C or is there enough room to get around them? I usually go for aisle seats as I fear being locked in. Thanks again
Hi Sara, if the folks in 43B and 43C are larger or long-legged kinda people I’m afraid you may have trouble getting in and out. If they’re kids then you’ll be ok though. Of course there is no way of knowing who your seat mates will be, so I guess that’s the gamble. Good luck!
Hi, I’m flying from Sydney to San Francisco in June with my 14yrold granddaughter on b747-400 , I have picked seats 56A & 56B there and 56J & 56K on the return flight as my granddaughter doesn’t want to be at the end of the plane, but I have just read they don’t have a window , is this correct ?
Hi Joanne, this would appear to be the case, due to the proximity to the aircraft door. You may have a small section of window to peer out of from the row in front of you, but this will almost certainly disappear when they recline.
There are 2 of us flying from Sydney to LA in October with QANTAS on a 747-400. I’m looking at pre-booking my seats and are looking to book 53A & 53b. Most of economy is empty just the rows 52 and towards to the front seem to be booked already. Just your thoughts?
Its my first time flying and unsure of what to do. Any advice on seats would be greatly appreciated 🙂
Hi Belinda, the seats forward of row 52 may be blocked for status-holding frequent flyers. However if you check again exactly 80 hours before takeoff you may find that some of these seats will become available. If you’re able, select the pair seats towards the rear of the cabin as these are great if you’re travelling as a couple. Otherwise, seats 53A and B are standard economy seats that are no different from most others. Have a great flight!
Hi Brian. Amazing site, your thorough efforts are greatly appreciated by your readers.
Do you have any advice for Qantas 747 Seat 60J (bulkhead row) for an overnight trip from SYD to HAN (Tokyo / QF25)? Your article says “not to be fooled” by this row – so have I been fooled by the alleged space illustrated on the map? My other option is the row behind up against the window in a standard normal row. Ideally I’m hoping to get SOME sleep. Also, I’m about 180cm or 5’11.
So my options are either my already booked Row 60J seat, in the middle of two people with “alleged” extra leg room – OR – Standard economy against a window. Any advice?
Thanking you in advance 🙂
Hi Steve, thanks so much for your kind words 🙂
The bulkhead in row 60 does not have the cut-out for your feet that other rows have, and the lack of this cut-out makes this row a bit controversial. I find it’s ok for a few hours, but it can start to feel a bit cramped beyond that. For some I have spoken to, this can be solved by going for regular walks. Other people I have spoken to (admittedly taller than my 5’11) have called these seats woeful. These seats are also a tad narrower than standard seats as the video screens and tray tables are stored in the armrests.
What would I do? Probably stay where you are – but that’s only because I place a premium on easy aisle access. If that’s not the case for you, the standard window seat will have a wall to sleep against and room under the seat in front to stretch out. On a 9-hour overnight flight this may just be the clincher.
Thanks Brian. I think I will try to delude myself into thinking I’m going to get SOME sleep on the plane (unlikely), so I’ll opt for the window seat. Ease of access to the aisle is not an issue for me, the folk next to me can wriggle their legs if need be 🙂 Thanks for your advice, I hope you realise that your efforts are not in vain, this is all greatly appreciated 🙂 I shall let you and your readers know how it all pans out for me.
That’d be fantastic, Steve. Any feedback we get is immensely helpful and always gratefully received. Have a wonderful journey!
Would seat 60K be okay for a smaller person, who would like a window to rest on and easy aisle access?
Hi Ann, you’ll certainly have a good window seat and a smaller person should be quite comfortable. In terms of easy aisle access, it really depends on the people in 60H and 60J. If they are children or smaller people too, it shouldn’t be a problem. But I’d note that there’s less room to manoeuvre then in the other bulkhead rows and nothing to really hold onto when slipping out into the aisle. It’d still be easier than a standard seat though.
Quick question. I’m travelling from Toronto to Brisbane – via LA. Qantas QF16 with my wife, 6, 4 and 15 month old. We originally elected to have our 15 month old on our lap, requested bulk head seats and my wife (with infant) and son was assigned row 60D&E, and me and my other son 60B&C.
We are re-thinking that decision and wondering about getting the 15 month her own seat. We’d most likely lost the bassinet seat as she now has her own seat, and I’m wondering what you’d recommend as far as seat selection for the 5 of us. My wife is short and I’m tall, so need the extra leg room if its available.
We might keep the infant on lap, but I just got back from a Amsterdam to Toronto flight and realized how horrible it might be for my wife or myself having a 15 month old on our lap ,even with the bassinet there.
Hi Lonnie, it’s a tricky situation and I’m sure many parents sympathise. Getting the best seats mentioned in the article will be difficult given the size of your booking, but if you check at exactly 80 hours before takeoff, some of those seats may become available. The only alternative I can think of to preserve some space might be to purchase an extra seat for yourself (or possibly one of your boys?) – these usually come in a bit cheaper as you don’t pay taxes on them. Though you won’t be getting extra legroom, extra sideways space to stretch into can be nearly as good. Qantas refer to them as comfort seats, and they usually include the extra baggage allowance and points too. Whether it comes in cheaper than an extra child seat is down to the fare calculation and availability of the fare, but you should be able to keep your currently allocated bassinet seats. Contact your travel agent or Qantas to explore your options as extra seats can’t be booked online. I hope this is in some way helpful – we’d love to know how you go.
Thanks for this article. Excellent tips.
Just booked SYD to SCL. Travelling solo. Seatmap I was able to choose from was config 1 (fingers crossed there isn’t a swap). I picked 71K. 70A/K were already gone unfortunately. At least I will get a little extra room on the side. The other place you mention, row 43, was already gone too.
Chose K in this case, instead of A for the Andes view side of the plane when coming into SCL.
Hi Andrew, 71K should be a good pick. In fact, it’ll be easier to look out the window from 71K as it’s a little bit closer to your seat. Check the seat map again exactly 80 hours prior to takeoff and you may find other seats have become available too. Have a wonderful flight!
Hi Brian. Thank you for all the advice. It is very informative!
Do you have any advice for Boeing 747-400 Seats for an overnight trip from DTW to PVG (Shanghai, China)? I am traveling with my husband. Which seats are better 63 H & K or 64 H & K, they are both at the back of the plane. There are total 67 rows for this plane base on the seat map of main cabin. Or a standard seats of 41H and 41K?
Any advice? Thank you in advance?
Hi Grace, I’m afraid I can’t really comment on this as our experience has been specific to the Qantas 747. I suspect you may be flying Delta, in which case you could be better off in 64. However it’s hard to say as I am not familiar with the alignment of the pair seats. There could be entertainment boxes and seat struts under rows 62 and 63 that may impede your legroom, but without having had direct experience it’s impossible for me to confirm. Either way, any set of pair seats is likely to be more comfortable that anything else. Have a pleasant flight.
Loved the article.
I’m flying Syd to Dallas on qantas in dec this year. There r three of us lots of seats aval what do you suggest as they r charging 35 per person to select seat want to make sure I get my money’s worth.
Thankyou in advance
Hi Debbie, thanks for the kind words. Without knowing exactly what’s available it’s hard to suggest anything beyond what we have recommended in our article. With three travelling you might be best off taking 3 seats by the windows, and if possible in the forward-most cabin. If you’d prefer not to pay the fee you could always wait until online check-in opens (exactly 24 hours prior to takeoff) and select your seats for free then. If you’re all on the same booking you should automatically be seated together. Have a wonderful flight!
Thank you! This information was way better than Seat Guru!
Hi Brian! My husband and I are travelling to Haneda Japan from Sydney Australia in October on a 747-400. We chose Qantas because they’re a direct flight overnight each way. We chose seats in row 71k and j both ways. I don’t mind not being able to lean against the wall to sleep but according to seat guru there are no windows in this aisle. Your pictures suggest otherwise. I’m worried I’ll feel claustrophobic without a window. Can you confirm this? Many thanks.
Hi Kaz, all versions of the Qantas 747 have windows at row 71. I do not recall any missing windows in this vicinity so you should be fine 🙂 Maybe Seatguru hasn’t worded this correctly? Have a wonderful flight!
I am a frequent traveler and have always loved the double seats at the back of the plane so I only had to bug one person when I needed to leave. However, I now travel with my partner who is 6’2, and we are both slightly wider than normal 🙂 I am someone who needs a wall to lean against (I usually get a solid 8-9 hours sleep like this) and he needs legroom. We have traveled on Emirates A380, and Air Canada dreamliner (which I will NEVER fly again) – so it has been a while since flying on a 747. I am thinking of choosing row 73AB so I can have a wall to sleep, he can have slightly more space and we are a twosome. We are on CONFIG1 from LAX-BNE- can your confirm if these have full recline? In my experience they always do, I just cannot remember. If you have any other suggestions I will gratefully accept as well! Very excited to be traveling back on QANTAS!
Hi Meaghan, while I can’t conclusively confirm whether these seats have full recline (we haven’t taken a measuring tape to them), my memory suggests that they do. There is no bulkhead behind these seats, only a tab that helps crew determine that they’re upright for takeoff and landing. Because there’s no bulkhead or impediment of any other kind, I expect you should have full recline. It also means you may get bumped by people passing by, but I find it’s a small price to pay for “guilt-free recline” for practically the duration of the flight.
If you’re prepared to take the risk, you could also look for a set of 3 seats that are not occupied and assign the window and aisle seats to yourselves. The middle seats will usually be the last ones filled, so on a lightly loaded flight and if you’re lucky this may give you some room to stretch out laterally. However I’d stress that this only works at less busy times of the year, and it’s never a guarantee. If you’re happy with 73AB (and there should be no reason not to be), then you’ll be just fine. Have a wonderful flight!
I really find your posts informative.
We are traveling to Sydney from SFO on qantas 747. The seat map for choosing preselected seats show the first row of only double seats starting in row 69. 69A and 69B are two seats only.
My question to you – Would it be better to book the 69A and 69B (1st row of 2 seats) or the next row back (70A and 70B) the second row of 2 seats? Looking forward to your input.
The next question is does it make a difference left side of plane vs right side of plane for arrival in Sydney? or for any other reason? – it appears people are suggesting the left side if possible for a chance at a view of the Sydney harbor, etc when approaching SYD.
The back of the plane is available right now so let me know what rows and side you think to maximize our space, and relaxation if rows 69-73 are all available currently.
Hi Sean, I would personally book the second row as I value the room between seat 69A and the wall – it lets you stretch your legs out a bit and is better for your knees. If you are seated in 69A/B you don’t get that extra legroom, but I guess you could place your personal belongings under 68A.
Picking the best side of the plane for Sydney views is a tough one as it depends, quite literally, on which way the wind is blowing. Although it’s never certain, if you check FlightRadar24 in the days before your flight you can see whether planes are landing to the north or the south, and that will give you a general picture of which side might give you the best views. On the day itself that could of course all change. Beyond that, in practical terms there aren’t really any differences between being on the left or right of the plane. Have a wonderful flight!
Brian, fantastic site – your insights are very very helpful and greatly appreciated. I’m trying to work out what you mean by ‘entertainment boxes’ being under the seat. Do you mean that there is some box under the seat in front thereby reducing legroom for the person behind or is the box under the actual seat you’re referring to? I just confirmed 70A & B for my girlfriend and I back to Australia from LA. I would take the 70A as I need the leg room however I’m concerned about 70B. I can’t seem to see the entertainment box in the photo you uploaded. Might you be able to upload another which shows what you’re talking about? Also, I like having something to lean on (ie. the wall of the plane). Is 70A going to be challenging to do so?
Hi Christian, you can actually see an entertainment box in the third image under the heading For Day Flights. It’s black and if you’re sitting in the aisle seat it’s located roughly in between your legs. The silver sliver you see in the picture is the seat leg, and the entertainment box is bolted to it. Doesn’t leave much room for anything other than a foot either side of it.
At seat 70A you won’t be able to lean on the wall of the aircraft as the gap between the window seat and the wall is quite big. A couple of rows back and you may have better luck. Though if leaning on the wall if important, a normal window seat ahead of the pair seats might be best for you. Have a nice flight!
Do you have any photographs of the bulkhead seat Row 60 on the 747 400 QF 74 that does not have any cut out space please? I am trying to decide whether to move our seats based on Seat Guru comments about reduced legroom
Hi there, I’m afraid we don’t have anything in our photo collection showing the bulkhead without the cutout. However it is literally an extension of the wall that you see in our picture, just extended all the way to the floor.
I just booked my first flight from San Francisco to Sydney. It is a night flight and I plan to fly with noise cancellation headphones, watching movies, and ultimately sleeping most of the 14-hour flight on the Boeing 747-400. All of your recommended seats have been taken and based of your insights, I am consider reserving one of the following seats: 56K (window), 60K (window), and 71K (window). I am generally a heavy sleeper, don’t use the rest room much and I usually use the window/wall to lean on for sleeping. Which of the aforementioned seats do you recommend for a 5’5″ tall muscular male who prefers to stretch out, recline, and have personal space with easy access to the entertainment options? Much Appreciated!
Hi Gabriel, interesting seats you have there. First up, 71K is unlikely to be comfortable if you like leaning against the wall – there is a gap between the seat and the wall so any leaning will be pretty much ruled out.
I expect 56K will be the last row in the section before the door, so it will probably lack a window. There’s possibly a sliver of window shared with the seat in front, but not a full view. If you’re keen for a view, this won’t be great. On the other hand, it’d be great for leaning and sleeping. As soon as the seatbelt sign goes off you can recline to the max and leave it there for the duration of the flight without bothering anyone behind you.
60K may be the bulkhead row (if you’re on config 1), in which case you’d have the benefit of having no one recline into you, and plenty of personal space in front of you. The entertainment screens and tray tables are stored in the armrests in these seats, so you won’t be able to watch anything during taxi, takeoff and landing. The seat will be a little narrower too. I personally avoid these bulkhead seats because at 5’11 I feel a bit cramped, but you may find you can stretch out a bit more easily.
It’s a tough choice, but I hope these thoughts provide enough balance to tip one seat in favour of the others. Have a great flight!
Thanks for the very helpful article.
I am booked as a sole traveller on config 1 of this aircraft for Sydney to Hong Kong and have currently selected 70K from you recommendations. I am considering changing it for an aisle seat as I tend to need to get up a few times and worry about bothering others. I also suffer from the recline guilt that you speak of so thought about 56C or H. I can’t tell for certain whether these seats recline as the crew seats are behind them. I can see above you aren’t sure but just wondered whether you have any new info and your thoughts. I also wonder if the advantage of the extra room in the double seats is lost if the person in front uses the space for bags? Thanks again
Hi Paul, from memory the crew seats do not impede the recline of row 56. But do be aware that there is a missing window in front of the door, so you will have less of an outside view in that row. If you do remain in row 70 but in an aisle seat, you’ll have one less person likely to climb over you.
Your observation that the space in front of the double seats can be taken up by bags is correct, but I find this doesn’t remove all of the value of the seats. They still feel a lot airier than other window seats arranged in threes. I also expect the passengers in row 69 would be more likely to place their bags to the left of their legs rather than in that glorious space. I once had some kids set up a cubby with some blankets in this space. It was a shortish flight and they weren’t making any noise so I was happy to let them have some old-fashioned fun, but it does illustrate how this space isn’t always guaranteed to be purely yours. Have a wonderful flight!
My son who is 17 and is 6’5″ and myself are flying Qantas 747-400 from Brisbane to LAX next month and I have paid the extra money for get seats in row 58, B and C, as he needs the extra leg room. From looking at the plane configuration, I know we are near the galley but are these the best seats for us?
Hi Sam, at 6’5″ the exit rows are the only way to go, so that’s a great start. Exit rows near galleys tend to have less human traffic than exit rows near bathrooms because the latter tend to become a waiting rooms for people waiting to use the toilets. This can be quite annoying, so having the exist row seats that you have are a great choice. You may have a bit of noise and light from the galley, but this is likely to be less of a bother. Have a wonderful flight.
We are a family of 5, travelling to LAX in June next year from Brisbane.
On the first flight we are going via Sydney to nab the A380, but on the return home to Brisbane we are going LAX>BNE with Qantas on the 747/400 Longreach. For this leg we have booked 57A, 57B, 57C for myself, wife and 6 year old and 58A, 58B for our 14 and 12 year olds.
Looking at the configuration, it seems like a good position although close to the galley, which we’re ok with as it is a night flight, we figured we should get some extra room and thus (hopefully) some extra sleep.
Your thoughts on our seats?
A huge thank you in advance, as I’ve read through the other posts and you are super-informative…
Thank you for your kind words, Chris. Could I trouble you to double check your seat numbers? Row 57 should be absent on all configurations of the Qantas 747.
Hi Brian, it’s definitely row 57, I’ve double-checked the booking just now…
It’s QF16, if that helps and yes, row 58 x 2 seats also is confirmed.
You’re making me nervous 🙂
Brian, I obviously can’t read – not too well at least as I’m looking at a different flight as there’s multiple flights on this booking…it’s why my wife is usually in charge of logistics 🙂
It’s 60H, 60J, 60K and 61J, 61K
Sorry for the confusion mate.
No dramas at all, Chris. In the absence of a travel checker I’ve turned up for a flight two days early! So we’ve all been there 🙂 The other possibility I was contemplating was that you are travelling in the second half of 2018, in which case you could have been on the new Qantas 787 Dreamliner instead.
Rows 60 and 61 on the 747 are fairly standard, though close to the bassinet positions. They’re usually mounted on centre bulkhead. Small kids are not always an issue, but if you’re sensitive to that you may want to move a little further back. Packing ear plugs and eye masks (which we always do) will also prevent that from being a problem.
May be worth mentioning too that there’s a little trick some folks use when two people are seated in banks of 3 seats. Airlines usually fill middle seats last, so if you select the aisle and window seat and the plane ends up not being full, you may score an empty seat in between. If not, simply asking the person in the middle seat if they’d like to swap to the aisle or window will usually be met with grateful agreement and gets you back to the status quo. In some circles this is controversial, but in others it’s a proven comfort hack. There is of course no guarantee that this works, and it’s worth having a tool like Expertflyer to check how full your flight is. But if you’re willing to try it, an empty seat next to you on a long flight can make a huge difference in comfort.
Hope you and the family have a wonderful flight!
Thanks for the detailed reply Brian, I will check the middle seat option – great idea.
Also, as I’m 6’2 – are there better alternatives than row 60?
The top-deck is gone, so somewhere that may give us a little extra leg room without being an exit row?
I’m a Qantas Gold member so can book these seats without incurring a fee.
Thank you again for your help.
Hi Chris, if you can get into the first row in the cabin (with the cutout in the bulkhead), you should be pretty comfortable. The pair seats towards the back might also give you a bit of room in which to stretch out your legs. Your next best bet would be the exit rows, but I believe these come at a heavy premium even for Gold frequent flyers. Beyond that, I’m afraid the remaining seats are pretty much standard. Even so, you should still be fine if you end up in a standard seat.
Traveling as a family of 4 adults from Brisbane to Lax return in April can you recommend the best middle rows
Hi John, I’d suggest something near the middle of the cabin so as to be away from galleys and bassinets. Beyond that, the middle rows are all fairly standard. Have a wonderful flight!
Hi Brian. My husband me and 3 boys aged 14, 10 and 1 year will be departing from South Africa Johannesburg to Auckland with a stop over in Sydney. Flying out from SA on Boeing 747-400 and then from Sydney to Auckland on Airbus Industrie A330-300. PLEASE suggest the best seats for us. We depart from SA at 18h50 on 24th and arrive in Auckland at 00:25 on 26th. 18 hours flight. THANKS SO MUCH. I need to make the selection of seats online the day prior to the flight.
Hi Natasha, I’m assuming the infant doesn’t have his own seat? Unfortunately it looks like all of the bassinet positions are booked. That being the case the case, rows 43 and 44 (by the windows, ABC and HJK) are probably going to be the best for you, but these usually fill out pretty quickly. They’re currently not occupied but may be reserved for frequent flyers. Otherwise I’d probably look out for any 6 seats by the windows. Try and split yourselves so that you have a seat between you (e.g. 44A and 44C with 44B empty). At the moment, the flight to Sydney isn’t full and if it stays that way there’s a chance you’ll end up with the middle seat unfilled. Anything can change at this time of year however, so be prepared to do some seat-swapping if you do this and someone ends up being seated between you. Also be aware that airline policy may force the kids to be seated next to you.
For the second flight, you can check out our A330 article here. This flight’s harder to pick because pretty much all seats are average and the seat map can often change at the last minute. You’ll probably just want some sleep at this point in your journey so if you’re seated in the last row of the forward or rear cabin, you can recline your seats as soon as the seat belt sign goes off and leave them there until you descend into Auckland. That way you’re not bothering anyone and can maximise your space for the last leg.
Have a wonderful Christmas in the air!
I am travelling from YVR to SYD on QANTAS. It’s a 14hour trip. I am a solo traveller. I had earlier book 51A but reading through the comments I changed it to 71K. All the 2 row seats are booked except 69KJ and 71KJ 72KJ. Do you think this seat selection is comfortable enough for legroom?
Additionally is it possible to lean against the window in row 71?
Hi Jon, you’ll have the same amount of legroom as a standard seat, plus the extra room on the side of the seat in front in which to stretch out. To me, that’s a better deal than any standard seat. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to be able to lean against the wall or window in 71K as there’s still a bit of distance between you and the wall. On the upside, you will have lots of shoulder room 🙂
Does seat 60H on configure 1 have a bulk head infront of it? Im 6’4 and got 60H as it looks like it has no bulk head and is a exit seat.
Hi Jacob, 60H is a bulkhead seat. The box labelled G that you see in the seat map indicates a galley, which is between you and the exit. In 60H you may be able to jut your feet out into the aisle and through the curtain – though I don’t recommend this as they may get trampled on (or worse) as crew do burst through the curtains every so often.
Hi, my 20 year son is travelling to the US this weekend and I am looking for tips for extra legroom for him. He is 196cm tall or 6 foot 6 in the old scale. He didn’t book an extra legroom seat when purchasing his ticket. There doesn’t seem to be an option to book now. Is it only possible when go get to the airport to depart?
Hi Karyn, Qantas usually allows you to select a seat (including extra legroom seats) up to 3 hours prior to departure, provided you have not checked in. Full details can be found here. If you’re having trouble selecting a seat (or if your son has checked in) a call to Qantas might be help – these seats might get allocated to other folks if you leave it till you get to the airport.
Thank you Brian, I finally got to speak to someone at Qantas after waiting over on hour on the phone yesterday and 40mins today. No extra legroom seats available except those set aside for Gold Frequent Flyers etc. So, the only possibility is to ask when he gets to the airport.
Hi Karyn, I’m sorry to hear that. The front bulkhead seats are usually reserved for frequent flyers so don’t disappear as quickly as exit row seats. They will however be allocated to anyone at check-in if they’re still available. Best of luck!
Hi. Flying Sydney to San Francisco end August 2019 on FF. It is a day flight so only expect to nap. I am looking at 70k or 60h or is it worth exit row 58. I am only 162cm. Thanks
Hi Helen, if you’re ok with the cost, row 58 would give you the freedom of not having to step over anyone or having anyone recline into you. But bring a warm jumper because it can get cold near the doors. The choice between 70K and 60H probably comes down to whether you’d prefer an aisle or window seat. Either way, you’re unlikely to feel cramped in either.
Hi thanks for sharing so much. I’m flying 747-400 and am interested in sitting in seat k by the window. Rows 55-68 are all available for seat k. Sometimes the window is right by a seat and I can’t lean on the wall, and sometimes the window is forward from the seat and I can lean on the wall. Do you know any seat that if I lean sideways I will lean on the wall rather than a window? A bit tricky I know. Thanks
Hi John, it is indeed a bit tricky as the seat positions are not specifically aligned with the windows, and the alignment also changes as you recline your seat. Your best bet might be to select seat 56K, which is in front of the door. This is actually a pretty good seat for sleeping as you can recline without bothering anyone behind you and there’s a decent wall to lean on. To see what I mean, have a look at this video. Note however that as soon as the person in front of you reclines you won’t have much access to your window. Have a lovely flight!
Thanks booked it. Looks promising. Agree with your reasoning. Guilt free reclining and nearby wall. Thanks!
Hi, thanks for the great article. Am looking at booking a couple seat on the 747 down the back, however my partner REALLY wants the window to lean against for sleep. Does the curvature in any of the seats allow for this? Are any of them like the standard window seat distance from the window?
The couple seats are all quite a distance from the wall. The last row might be the only feasible row for this, but still might not be as close to the wall as a standard row of 3 seats. You might be able to tell from this screengrab from one of our in-flight videos:
Hope that helps!
Hi, I am flying SYD – JHB then JHB – SYD in July and Aug respectively. I am 1.90m tall (6’3inch) and about 104 kg. I like a bit of leg room, what seats would you recommend? Great article….
Thanks in advance.
The emergency exit rows will be the way to go if there are any seats left there. And then row 43 if you’re on Config 1.
Thank you for your review. I have searched the internet for the best economy seat. I am a very tall lady, I am 1.92 metres. Flying from Sydney to Johannesburg. I have managed to get 43A. Based on your reviews it’s seems I am lucky. Makes me feel better about the very long flight ahead of me
That’s great to hear, Natalie. We hope you have a wonderful flight!