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Economy Class: What Are the Different Classes?

Jonathan Chum
Jonathan Chum

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As you select a seat on the plane, you are going to have a lot of options available to you. A lot of jargon is going to be thrown around, making it hard for you to select a seat on the plane. We have had the privilege of flying all over the world. We have flown on planes of different sizes, in different locations, and in different classes. If you are wondering about the difference between economy class and the other options, we are here to help you. In this post, we are going to cover:

  • The definition of economy class, which is also called coach 
  • How economy class compares to business class 
  • How economy class compared to First Class 

That way, you can decide which seat is right for you. 

What Is Economy Class?

Flying is expensive. It doesn’t matter where you are going, how far you are flying, or how long you are going to be there. You always have to budget carefully for a plane ticket. Therefore, when you are taking a look at your seating options, you probably want to go with the least expensive choice. That is going to be economy class.

Also called coach, the majority of every plane is going to be filled up with economy class seats. Depending on how big the plane is, there might be two or three seats on each side of the aisle. When you book a seat in economy class, you are probably going to be provided with complimentary beverage service. You will also have overhead bin space to store your carry-on bag. You should also be able to store a bag underneath the seat in front of you unless you have a bulkhead seat, which is located at the front of the class.

If you really want to save money, you may see another option available as well called basic economy. Essentially, if you fly basic economy, the only thing you are paying for is a seat on the plane. You may be allowed to carry on one personal item; however, you will not be able to have anything else. Furthermore, you will not be able to select a seat on the plane before you check in. 

Importantly, you may still be subjected to additional fees if you decide to fly economy class. For example, as you are selecting your seat during the check-in process, you need to look carefully. Some seats, particularly seats that are close to the front of the plane or in the aisle, could charge you an additional fee. If you want to avoid this process, you may want to check in at the airport instead. 

What Is Business Class?

Another option you may see available is called business class. Business class is in between economy class and first class. Importantly, not every plane is going to have a business class option. If you are flying overseas, business class is probably going to be available; however, if your flight is only a couple of hours, business class is probably not going to be available.

Business class is significantly more expensive than economy; however, the price of a business class seat is closer to an economy seat than a first class seat.

If you decide to fly business class, there are a few additional benefits you could enjoy. For example, people who are flying business class usually get to board before the rest of the economy section. Therefore, even though you do not have a reserved area for your overhead bin space, you are virtually guaranteed a slot, as you are boarding before the rest of the economy section. You may also be provided with one extra free checked bag. 

Those who sit in business class usually have a slightly larger seat. You will probably also have additional legroom. If there is a meal service on your flight, you may have access to additional dining options; however, you are usually provided the same food as the rest of the coach section. Additional legroom and bigger seats are the biggest benefits of flying business class. 

What Is First Class?

Finally, there is also first class. First class is the most expensive option on every plane. The vast majority of plans are going to have a first class option; however, the exact amount of days you will get can vary from flight to flight. 

For example, if you are flying across the country, you will get the board before the rest of the plane. You will also get a specific flight attendant. You also have access to your own specific overhead bin space. Your snacks and drinks are also usually different. You may be able to access them before the plane even takes off. Of course, the seats are larger, you have more legroom, and you will be able to spread out. 

If you are flying first class on an international plan, the price difference between economy and first class is going to be even more significant. That is because you have access to even better benefits. For example, unlike the economy section, your seat will recline into a bed. This means it will be easier for you to fall asleep. Furthermore, you should have access to different, better meals as well. For this reason, a lot of people enjoy flying first class, despite the price differential. 

Comparing Economy Class to the Other Flying Options

Ultimately, you have multiple flying options available. Economy is the least expensive option; however, it can still be expensive depending on where you are going and when you are leaving. Business class is in between economy and first class. It provides you with additional legroom; however, it is not available on every plane. First class is the most expensive flying option; however, you do have access to a wide variety of benefits. These benefits vary from plane to plane. Take a look at all the options available to you before you make a decision.


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