- First class (aviation)
First class is a luxury
travel classon some airliners that exceeds "Business Class", "Premium Economy Class" and "Economy Class". On a passenger jetliner first class refers to a limited number (rarely more than 16) of seats or cabins located in the front of the aircraft which are notable for their comfort, service and privacy. Propeller airliners occasionally have first class in the rear.
First Class was introduced by Pan Am in the 1950sFact|date=June 2008 but has decreased in popularity with airlines over the last few decades for financial reasons. Although some airlines still offer First Class few new products are being introduced.
First Class seats vary from large reclining seats with more legroom and width than other classes to suites with a fully reclining seat, workstation and TV surrounded by privacy dividers. International First Class seats usually have between 58 and 94 inches of
seat pitchand between 19 and 35 inches of width while domestic flights may have between 34 and 68 inches of pitch and between 18 - 22 inches in width.
On the ground, First Class passengers are sometimes offered complimentary limousine service and usually have special check-in and security zones at the airport while some airlines operate private terminals. First Class passengers are often able to board the aircraft before other passengers, sometimes through their own jetbridge.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary and
Gourmetmeals are usually served with a choice of wine, dessert, and aperitifs. Often these meals have been designed by leading chefs and are served on white linen table cloths and with real cutlery (often with the exception of knives) and china.
First Class passengers usually have at least one
lavatoryreserved for their exclusive use, with more than one on larger planes. Business and Economy Class passengers are not normally permitted into the First Class cabin. Normally AVOD (AudioVisual On Demand) entertainment is offered, although sometimes normal films, television programs and interactive games are provided on medium-large seat-back or armrest-mounted flat panel monitors.
Historically, First Class air travel has been very expensive. More recently, passengers have been able to upgrade their Business Class or Economy Class tickets through membership in elite
frequent flyer programs and through the policies of some airlines that allow Business Class or Economy Class passengers to purchase upgrades on a space-available basis. First Class long haul fares regularly exceed $10,000 per person round trip, as opposed to $3,000-4,500 international business class tickets and $1,000 economy class tickets.
Access to the First Class portion of the plane is usually restricted from those traveling in Business Class and Economy Class by curtains, although for security reasons, US-based airlines are increasingly removing these cabin dividers or installing transparent cabin dividers.
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