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5-Minute Crafts

A Guide to Different Travel Classes on Airplane Flights

When we buy plane tickets, we often see various “travel class” options. There are usually up to 4 options: economy, premium economy, business, and first class. The difference is not always obvious but the prices may vary dramatically.

5-Minute Crafts is going to tell you about different travel classes on airplanes, how to tell one from the other, and what you can expect if you choose one of them.

1. Economy class

This is the cheapest class with standard seats that most airplane tickets can offer. Usually, economy class seats take you from point A to point B.

What you can expect:

  • Checking in for the flight at standard counters and waiting in long lines
  • Standard passenger seats can vary, with legroom of 28-34 inches and a width of 17-33 inches.
  • The seat likely has no recliner, or it reclines just a couple of inches.
  • Free drinks and snacks may be offered on short flights and 1-2 meals on long flights (some companies offer meals only for an extra charge).

Optional:

  • On long flights, some companies offer amenity kits and toothbrushes.
  • On small trips, in-flight entertainment screens allow you to watch movies and listen to music. This is usually seen on long-distance planes.
  • You can use a USB port/power outlet to charge your phone.

2. Premium economy class

Premium economy class is basically a better economy class. It has more comfortable seats, more legroom, and more food variety.

What you can expect:

  • Greater luggage allowance
  • A comfortable passenger seat that is around 2 inches wider than a standard one
  • About 38 to 40 inches of legroom
  • A seat that can recline up to 5 inches
  • More food variety and additional free drinks
  • A USB port/power outlet you can use to charge your phone

Optional:

  • Access to priority lines
  • Free lounge access where you can wait for your flight in a comfortable environment — they usually feature lounges that offer free drinks, food, newspapers, and showers before a flight.
  • Amenity kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other hygiene products

3. Business class

Business class tickets are considerable more expensive than economy class, but way more affordable than first class. First class is relatively rare on flights that have a business class, and it is only offered on some flights. Business class is usually the top class on most flights.

Usually, business class passengers get the best meals and seats, but it mostly depends on the airline. For example, on domestic flights, you get only marginally better seats.

What you can expect:

  • Priority lines for check-in and bigger luggage allowance
  • Dedicated immigration and security lanes in the destination airport
  • Free business class lounge access where you can wait for your flight in a comfortable environment, usually with lounges that offer free drinks, food, newspapers, and showers before a flight
  • Comfortable seats as wide as 34 inches and legroom up to 87 inches, and depending on the distance, it may be a wide soft seat or an armchair that turns into a small bed. You can sleep in it during long-distance flights.
  • A wide choice of high-quality food and drink — before flights, passengers are offered free drinks.
  • Foods and drinks are usually served in glass or ceramic dishes with metal silverware.
  • Amenity kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other hygiene products are offered.
  • Entertainment screens of a bigger size than economy class let you watch movies and listen to music.
  • A USB port/power outlet you can use to charge your cellphone

4. First class

This is an exclusive class that is expensive even compared to business class. It may be 5 times more expensive. But the service there is extremely good and personalized due to a small number of other passengers.

What you can expect:

  • Dedicated check-in lines and a bigger luggage allowance
  • Priority lines for immigration and security
  • There is free business class lounge access where you can wait for your flight in a comfortable environment — usually with lounges that offer free drinks, food, newspapers, and showers before a flight. In some cases, passengers may get access to lounges that offer meals from the menu, a massage, and even rooms that look like hotel rooms.
  • Seats vary from giant recliners with adjustable firmness and a massage feature to a 3-room suite with a living room, a bedroom with a double bed, and a private bathroom with a shower.
  • The food and drink selection is usually bigger than in business class. The menus are often created by Michelin Star chefs.
  • Amenity kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other hygiene products
  • Entertainment screens you can use for movies and music
  • A USB port/power outlet you can use to charge your phone

Optional:

  • Some airlines offer transfers from the airport to your home or any other destination.
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