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Which miles offer you the most lie flat seats?

by on Wed September 4, 2013 • No Comment


United miles offer the most lie-flat seat options

United miles offer the most lie-flat seat options

RouteHappy, a cool site that lets you book flights while seeing customer reviews of comfort and amenities of those flights, put out an interesting study today about which airlines offer the most room and best seats (as measured by legroom and the type of seat). You can read the study here.

We were curious how many international flights with lie flat seats are available with each major U.S. mileage program. More and more we’re hearing from people who only want to fly on flights that have these seats, as they make a big difference when it comes to being able to fall asleep.

Here are the numbers:

  • United + partners: 105 + 56 = 161 flights per day
    • United recently finished installing lie-flats on all of its long haul fleet, save for a handful of planes. No other U.S. airline comes close in terms of the number of flights with these seats available. They are in a more dense layout than some other airlines – you might get a middle seat, and nearly always you have at least one seat next to you. But in terms of sheer options United MileagePlus is the best way to get into lie flat international business class between United and its partners. Though note Lufthansa has very little lie flat exposure…so far.
  • US Airways + partners: 16 + 145 = 161 flights per day
    • US Airways doesn’t have a lot of long international flights, but many of its planes have a great lie flat seat that offers direct aisle access to everyone. The rest of the availability comes via Star Alliance, which includes United flights.
  • Delta + partners: 62 + 35 = 97 flights per day
    • Delta is still busy installing lie flat seat across its fleet. It doesn’t have as many international routes as leader United, but it is getting closer to full coverage. All of Delta’s lie flat seats offer direct aisle access which is the epitome of convenience. Its largest partner, Air France, does not yet have full lie flat seats in business class.
  • American + partners: 6 + 81 = 87 flights per day
    • American is late to the party for full lie flat seats. Most of its planes have older ‘angled’ flat seats which are tough for sleeping, but its new 777-300 planes (there are about 6 of them) have brand new lie flat seats with direct aisle access. They’ll be adding these seats to more of their planes over the next few years. But American AAdvantage members have access to nearly 50 British Airways flights a day with lie flat seats, in fact British Airways was the first with full lie flat over 10 years ago.

So if you’re looking to travel in lie-flat comfort, United MileagePlus is your best bet – and you can earn miles via United credit cards as well as Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. It may not be the most elegant direct aisle access version offered by newer versions on Delta and American, but they are the furthest along in having a basic flat bed ready for you. And that’s the biggest part of improving comfort.

You can also consider accumulating US Airways Dividend Miles for access to the very same flights and seats, though if the American Airlines merger goes through, you won’t be able to use them for United and its partners.


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