The Evolution of Airline Cabin Classes

airbus-concept-business-class-seat

In the golden years of aviation, travelling by air was a luxury very few could afford. It was a pastime of the rich and famous. Of course, times have changed and travelling abroad is within reach of most people at least at some point in their lives.

Today’s airline cabin classes are far advanced and with many offerings. First Class remains the elite class of air travel and is in a “class” of its own. There really is no past comparison for First Class as it has evolved into the most luxurious form of air travel. So luxurious in fact that many airlines do not offer it and those that do only fly it on specific, high yielding routes.

Business Class

It seems that Business Class has become the class of choice at the premium end of the market. Business Class on most major airlines today eclipses the First Class seen as recently as the mid nineties. Flat beds which were once only the domain of First Class passengers are now a common sight on long-haul Business Class. The outstanding level of service, complete with champagne, silver service dining, airport lounge access and many other perks make this class the choice of the more affluent of our society and those who want to treat themselves to a little luxury.

Malaysian Airlines Business Class. I have first hand experience of this wonderful product on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne.

Premium Economy Class

The quite recent advent of Premium Economy has allowed those of us who may not want to fly Economy and cannot justify or afford the cost of Business Class to experience a sort of “niche” in between class of service. Most Premium Economy is not to be sneezed at either. Major international airlines like to market it at a “Business Minus” product rather than an “Economy Plus”. Premium Economy can offer what was once considered a Business Class seat at a much lower price, especially with specials on fares. Premium Economy on the major international carriers offers a wider seat with more recline, more legroom, a private cabin, enhanced food and beverage service and better quality amenities.

Air New Zealand’s “Space Seat” Premuim Economy. Looks better than Business Class did twenty years ago!

So, when you next decide to take a trip, check out some of the premium fares. You may be very surprised to find that you can travel in a higher class for only a few hundred dollars more than economy! Keep a keen eye on carriers such as Aeroflot, China Southern and the smaller Middle Eastern carriers. They are more likely to have a competitive premium fare.

 

 

 

 

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