Business Class vs. Economy Class

Difference Between Business Class and Economy Class

The Business Class and Economy Class are term used in differentiating the class of air travel. You would have heard them when booking your airline ticket. The important difference between economy class and business class is in the pitch and width of the chairs, ie space for each passenger to relax their bodies and move their legs.

Seat pitch is the space between each row, which is the gap between 2 anchors of seats. In economy class pitch measures between 30 to 32 inches. If its economy or premium economy, which is a class between economy and business class, you will find pitch of 38 inches. There may be little variation in these measurements depending on the airline. For example Singapore airline has 32 to 33 inches of seat pitch while Qatar and the Thai airlines offer good 34 inches.

While business class offers more comfort with the average seat pitch ranging from 48 to 60 inches. Some airlines offer much comfort. Some airlines such as Cathay Pacific, British Airway, Ethiad, Unites Airlines and Virgin Atlantic offers more leg space in the range of 70 to 80 inches. Emirates airlines also offer the best comfort on some routes.

As far as the width of the seats is concerned, the seats in the economy class are less wider than those in the business class. Seat width in economy class is usually in the range of 17 to 19 inches while the business class seats on an average measure between 20 to 28 inches. The wide seats in business class offer more space for the passenger.

The other important difference is in the recline angle of the seats. The seats in economy class can recline to an angle between 100 to 115 degrees, while business class seats can be reclined by 150 to completely flat.

First class is not affordable to majority of travelers and this is why business class is generally preferred by most travelers. It is important to note that the business class seats are provided with little more amenities than the economy class seats for example, movies on demand, rotating TV screens, the power supply for laptop and unlimited food and wine. The cabin crew prefer to serve food first to the business class and the 1st class passengers, and they also have much more food items to choose from. Certain airlines like the British Airways and the Virgin Atlantic, offer Internet facility to the passengers travelling in the business class during certain routes.

This only highlights the reason of the economy class seats being the cheapest ones on a plane. At the same time, it may be the reason why the economy class is more popular than even the first class. On the other hand the price of the place of business class is much less than the price you pay for first class.

Economy Class has the less number of toilets per passenger compared to business class and this is one discomfort in economy class. Also some airlines do not provide a footrest in economy class.

However, it is no in case of every airline that a passenger gets  many offers for business class; there is not much of a difference between business class and economy class in a few flights. As such, there is not much of a difference between their prices too. In fact the business class is just $ 50 more than what you pay for economy class.

It is interesting to note that in a typical Boeing 747 the number of business class seats is 79 while there are 265 seats in economy class.

Not only inside the flight, even the handling of passengers at the airport is different, the business class passengers have separate registration counter and they do not need to wait in long queues and they are also provided with lounges for waiting and  get special food and drink.




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  • James Stirling

    It is obvious that even the total first and business class passengers on any plane will not bring in more income than the greater numbers that travel in economy; nice to see Emirates are taking this into consideration by providing superb seating and other comforts in their economy cabins on the Airbus A38-400. Time other airlines followed suit!