Plus size travel

Old Jul 13, 18, 4:16 pm
  #1  
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Plus size travel

Hi Everyone,

I am a new poster just registered, but have viewed the information on this forum for some time as it is very useful.

I have a genuine question regarding seat size and cabin comfort:

I will be travelling with a partner who is plus size (6"4 tall, 56 inch waist) and a very nervous flyer, from LHR to HK and return SGP to LHR in November.
I have narrowed the choice of direct flights to either BA First Class return (A380) or Cathay Business Class out and Singapore Airlines Business Class return (B777).
The total price for the options above is almost identical, with the same ticket flexibility, neither option is cheap.
Lounges and decent food/drink are required, but the real deal breaker is the seat size and cabin.

What would you choose?
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Old Jul 13, 18, 4:24 pm
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For the OP you will also want to consider placement of the tray table I would imagine. From that aspect going in First might be more beneficial. Cathay have slide out tables in business and purely on guesswork I don't know if there would be space. I'm sure others can chime in with more informed opinions, but the size of the seat perhaps a bit less of a factor than getting the tray table into position.
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Old Jul 13, 18, 4:38 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk and the BA forum Clarea1, thanks for joining up with us here, and I hope that we will see more of you.

For the question as posed, then BA First in an A380 would be the best outcome in my view. It's a particularly spacious and well designed cabin, and one fantastic feature of the A380 is just how quiet it is, particularly ahead of the engines. Sometimes people don't notice when it's taken off. So for a big seat, calm cabin and personalised service I think that is the way to go. It's just 14 people in the cabin.

The CX seat you may have come across in other airlines. It's not particularly wide, but the aisle side of the seat can be left down (it must be left down for take off and landing) so that will give a bit more space, and of course it has direct aisle access. Singapore is a wider seat anyway, and the SQ's service is very good, but both SQ and CX suffer from foot coffins, in some way SQ is worse in seat mode. However the SQ seat flips over to create the bed and thereby avoiding the foot coffin. So SQ would be a better experience in that mode. However, they are both 777s (unless you get CX's A350 service from LGW) and personally I think the A380 just gives a much better passenger experience in terms of noise, air quality and comfort in turbulence - which I suspect your partner may appreciate. This is particularly so over the Straits of Malacca through to the Andaman Islands, on the way back to LHR, since that can be a bumpy experience. Whether in the 777 or A350 Cathay also suffers from a "dorm" effect - a lot of seats in a big open cabin.

For lounges all 3 airlines have excellent lounges, I wouldn't let that influence the decision.
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Old Jul 13, 18, 4:39 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk, Clarea1.

I would think BA F both ways is your best bet here - it is more spacious overall than CX J. I'm not familiar with the SQ seat however.

If going for BA, I'd suggest your partner ask the crew if they can use the upstairs (CW) toilets for getting changed - they are far more spacious than the F toilets.
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Old Jul 13, 18, 5:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk, Clarea1.
If going for BA, I'd suggest your partner ask the crew if they can use the upstairs (CW) toilets for getting changed - they are far more spacious than the F toilets.
That's an excellent point; the forward upstairs toilets on the A380 are much more comfortable to use.
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Old Jul 13, 18, 8:12 pm
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If you can swing it, Singapore Airlines First Class features insanely wide seats (something like 35" wide on the 77W); I felt a bit like a kid sitting in an adult seat due to the ludicrous width. Cathay First is also a pretty wide seat.

The Cathay Business Class seats may be problematic for your friend. The width may be manageable with the armrest down, but getting the tray table lowered may be a problem. The table tends to sit fairly close to one's lap, so it could be an issue.

I haven't flown SQ Business Class, so I can't speak to it directly. But they do appear to have relatively wide seats across their fleet.
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Old Jul 13, 18, 8:25 pm
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Originally Posted by swingaling View Post
If you can swing it, Singapore Airlines First Class features insanely wide seats (something like 35" wide on the 77W); I felt a bit like a kid sitting in an adult seat due to the ludicrous width. Cathay First is also a pretty wide seat.

The Cathay Business Class seats may be problematic for your friend. The width may be manageable with the armrest down, but getting the tray table lowered may be a problem. The table tends to sit fairly close to one's lap, so it could be an issue.

I haven't flown SQ Business Class, so I can't speak to it directly. But they do appear to have relatively wide seats across their fleet.
Agreed.
OP, do read up on the SQ F,s..lounges....s etc service, food, beverages. Trip reports/ blogs will help you.
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Old Jul 14, 18, 1:43 am
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The SQ business class seats are wonderful and very wide. The older style (I'm talking from knowledge 3/4 years ago) on the A380 has a good table with plenty of room, whereas the newer style business class on theirs 777s had a table that came out on the angle, digging into my expansive belly a bit (similar size!).

As everyone has already mentioned, BA F will be good as well.
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Old Jul 14, 18, 3:00 am
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Whoever you choose to fly with, you may wish to look into mobility assistance within the airports at either end - there will be a considerable distance to walk and that could be a lot easier with the golf carts (thinking especially about the transit from T5A to T5C for the A380 gates at LHR)
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Old Jul 14, 18, 6:55 pm
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I would also notify the crew (regardless of carrier) that your partner is a nervous flyer. Two years ago, I got a terrible nosebleed upon arrival at ORD in BA F. I am not a nervous flyer at all, but I was checked in upon every minute into arrival, and felt very well cared for. Great crew can make all the difference in situations of distress.

I would echo what others have stated regarding the benefits of a 14 pax F cabin - I should mention I haven’t travelled SQ or CX, but BA F has been a wonderful, relaxing and comfortable experience for me.

Oh, and welcome to Flyertalk! Safe travels, and please let us know how your journey was!
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Old Jul 15, 18, 3:34 am
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The actual seat dimensions, length and width, are pretty much identical between CX and BA. There is more space around the seat on BA but i don't know that that helps your friend much. The SQ seat is very wide and open so that could be your best option.

Otherwise i would just pick the best timings and remember the lounges in T3 are much better than T5. Food and drink are about average on CX and BA, better on SQ, and you will miss the new catering on CX by a month.
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Old Jul 15, 18, 5:29 am
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Of all the planes the A380 feels the most stable in the sky; turbulence can happen, of course, but this big bird feels the least of it in my view. It's also the quietest by a considerable margin. And a nervous flyer may take some kind of comfort in a four-engine plane, rather than a two-engine plane (irrelevant of the logic).

Therefore I'd target the plane type: the A380. Don't get caught out by selecting the wrong return journey from HKG-LHR, as BA runs two planes about 15mins apart, one a 777, the other an A380.

Food/drink: BA F offers a good lounge (Concorde Room) at T5, where you can eat a full three course meal prior (or however many courses, tbh). It's not far from the First wing fast track entrance. The food on the plane will be plane food, so don't set your expectations sky high. On the way out to HKG it should be possible to pre-order the in-flight meal. BA wine/champagne is among the best going if you're a drinker. Note you'll need to transfer from T5A to T5C for the A380, which takes a bit of time and if mobility is an issue I'd contact the airline ahead of time (for F passengers the likelihood is they'll be accommodating).
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Last edited by mmxbreaks; Jul 15, 18 at 5:38 am
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Old Jul 15, 18, 6:25 am
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I'd vote for SQ - the seats in both J and F are insanely wide, BA F doesn't come close. Legroom - even at 6'4" shouldn't be an issue in J/F irrespective of carrier.

Hope you'll have an enjoyable trip!
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Old Jul 15, 18, 10:04 am
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I just flew SQ J in April and found the seat ok when seated, but (and this is on the A350) unless you are in rows 11 or 19, the seat has a very small cubby that requires you to sleep at a diagonal when in bed mode. At 6 feet tall, this was uncomfortable. at 6'4" I think it would be very difficult. Unfortunately, they reserve row 11 and 19 for their own elites. There is a thread on the SQ forum about the A350 J seats and the new A380 J seats - I would definitely look there before you book the ticket.
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Old Jul 15, 18, 12:43 pm
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Thanks for all the advice and ideas so far, and also the extra tips regarding toilets, lounge to gate etc.

At the moment definitely leaning towards BA F on the A380 for both flights (I personally would prefer to travel with BA). Flying with Singapore Airlines would require an additional flight from SGP to HK, unless the outbound flight is with the Virgin codeshare LHR to HK. I have travelled Virgin several times to the US over the last few years and I don't think the upperclass seats would be good for a flight of this length - I am quite small and find them restrictive.

There is the option for a similar price to BA F to do business class CX to HK and then SQ back to LHR, but these are very restricted tickets - we are on a cruise from HK to SGP, so need multi-city departures.

I will continue to research before making the final booking so more ideas are welcome.

Will report back with final decision!
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