The Seat: It’s a rare but good day when you hear the boarding door close and there’s no one in the seat (or seats) next to you. That’s what happened aboard this flight while I occupied seat 5C on the aisle, a US Airways Choice Seat in the first row of economy aboard an Airbus A321. So I used my imagination to picture what it might be like to be stuck next to an armrest-hog, chatty, unhappy bodybuilder with bad breath and pneumonia.
Yeah okay, not an upgrade.
Legroom here is okay for a bulkhead seat but restricts good extension of your legs despite a cutout toward the bottom of the wall. Seat width throughout economy is greater than you’ll find aboard most single-aisle planes but there are better seats than these further back aboard this A321 that don’t have a tray-table eating up your extra room.
Tech/Connectivity: Zero power ports and lack of entertainment options like personal TV’s keep this seat from higher marks. If your batteries are fully charged though, GoGo in-flight wi-fi is (or will soon be) available on all of US Airways A320 family planes including their A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
Service: Smiles always seem biggest when you’re seated up toward the front and I always like to get in-flight service off to a good start, so I did plenty of smiling back at the already happy flight attendants. The good cheer seemed to continue through about row 10 when I couldn’t hear the passenger/crew banter anymore. I’d like to take credit for everyone’s good mood but I’m sure it was just good service at work.
Food: You’ll find food available for purchase on longer flights in US Airways economy. Snacks and premium drinks are also available from the in-flight menu.
Summary: “Choice Seats” are made up of scattered exit row, bulkhead and others that provide extra legroom or a quick exit from the plane upon arrival. US Airways Choice Seats in row 5 can be good if there’s room to spread out but when you’re jammed onto a full flight and your space is restricted, this becomes a zero-value upgrade. On a plane with some pretty nice spots for extra-legroom, this is probably the least-best. See our video review of 10A, an exit row seat a few rows behind this row. It and it’s neighboring seats offer a good amount more legroom.
Rating: 2 “hops” (of 5).
Strategy: US Airways Choice Seats are available for purchase during and after the booking process at the airline’s website. You could also try embellishing a mild sports injury to utilize the upgrade power of a sympathetic gate agent before a less crowded flight.