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Business class seat on a British Airways Boeing 747-400

Business class (also known as executive class or upper class) is a high quality second-tier travel class available on some commercial airlines and rail lines. Its level of accommodation is higher than economy class and domestic first class but lower than international first class. However, many international airlines offer only business class as the highest level of service.[1]

Contents

Airlines

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History

The first business class seats were offered by Qantas in 1979. On November 1, 1981, Scandinavian Airlines System introduced EuroClass with a separate cabin, dedicated check-in counters and lounges for full-fare passengers. Simultaneously, first class disappeared from their European fleet.

In 1974, KLM was innovative in introducing a Full Fare Facilities service (FFF) for its full fare Economy Class passengers – FFF was the forerunner to what is now Business Class.

In the United States, business class is usually only offered on intercontinental and long-haul flights, including certain transcontinental flights. US carriers generally designate "first class" as the premium product on domestic two-cabin aircraft. In Canada, Air Canada calls its domestic business class product "Executive Class", which evolved from a premium economy "Connoisseur Class" that was available for full fare paying coach passengers, essentially a guarantee of a vacant adjacent seat if possible and free alcohol service. Domestic First on Air Canada, available only on wide bodies, ceased to exist from 1992 as did International First, replaced by a somewhat diminished "Executive First" class.

On the other hand, the airlines of Europe and much of the rest of the world brand the premium product on shorthaul two-cabin aircraft as "business class". European carriers generally offer a "business class" consisting of enhanced economy seating with better service. There may be a curtain to separate business from economy class, based on demand, but the seats are in the same cabin. Some airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways use convertible seats that seat three people across in economy, or adjust with a lever to become two seats with a half seat length between them for business class use.

Business class has started to disappear from some short/medium haul routes, to be replaced with full fare economy and discount economy (KLM and SAS). On these routes, the seats are the same for all passengers, only the flexibility of the ticket and the food and beverage service differs. On shorter routes (typically less than one hour) many airlines have removed business class entirely (e.g. BMI on many routes) and offer only one class of service.

Most low-cost carriers, such as Ryanair in Europe and JetBlue in the United States, do not offer any premium classes of service. Although Jetblue, respectively, does offer a premium seating section for about $30.00 more for extra legroom and better seat pitch on most (if not all) of their flights. The likes of AirAsia will also charge a premium for passengers to sit in front of the aircraft or the exit seats which also offer more legroom as well as board first (such seats are called "Hot Seats").

Amenities

Business Class seats of Air India's Boeing 777-300ER.
Emirates Airline Business Class lie-flat seats on the Boeing 777-300ER

Long haul business class seats are substantially different from economy class seats and many airlines have installed "lie flat" seats into business class, whereas previously seats with such a recline were only available in international first class. There are essentially three types of long haul business class seats today. These are listed in ascending order of perceived "quality".

  • Cradle seats are seats with around 160 degrees of recline. The seat pitch of business class seats range from 33–79.5 in (84–200 cm) (usually 55–62 in (140–160 cm)), and the seat size of business class seats range from 17.5–34 in (44–86 cm) (usually 20–22 in (51–56 cm)).
  • Angled lie flat seats recline 180 degrees to provide a flat sleeping surface, but are not parallel to the floor of the aircraft when reclined, making them less comfortable than a bed. Seat pitch typically ranges from 55 to 65 in (140 to 170 cm), and seat width usually varies between 18.0 to 23.0 in (46 to 58 cm).
  • Fully flat seats recline into a flat sleeping surface which is parallel to the floor. Many airlines offer such seats in international first class but retain inferior seating in business class to differentiate the two products and fares.


Herringbone seating is used in some widebody cabins, in which seats are positioned on an angle in order for all seats to have access to an aisle.

Even airlines that do not offer lie flat business class seats offer substantially more leg room in long haul business class compared to the economy section. The appearance of lie-flat seats in business class has made it increasingly difficult for many passengers to justify, either to their employers or themselves, the added expense of an international first class fare. As with first class, all alcoholic beverages are complimentary and meals are of higher quality than economy class. Economy class passengers are usually not permitted in the business class cabin.

Branding

Executive First Suites on Air Canada.

The exact name for business class may vary between operators. For example:

Trains

On Amtrak in the United States, "business class" is the premium class of service on medium-haul trains, such as most Northeast Corridor trains and the Pacific Surfliner, and the main class of service on Acela Express. "First class" is the premium class of service on Acela Express and is also the designation for bedroom accommodations on sleeper trains.

Until June 2009, VIA Rail in Canada premium class service is called "VIA1", on short range routes oriented towards business travel. The premium service on the transcontinental route (The Canadian) is called "Silver & Blue". In June 2009, "VIA1" was re-named "Business Class" and "Silver & Blue" (The Canadian) and "Easterly" (The Ocean) were re-named "Sleeper Touring Class" and "Totem" (The Skeena) was re-named "Touring Class".

References

See also

External links


Simple English

Business class (also known as executive class or upper class) is a high quality second-tier travel class available on some commercial airlines and rail lines. Its level of accommodation is higher than economy class and domestic first class but lower than international first class. However, many airlines offer only business class as the highest level of international service.[1]

References

  1. Perry Garfinkel (2008-03-10). "On some airlines, business class goes first". The International Herald Tribune. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/10/business/seats.php. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 

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