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Economy class, also called coach class, steerage, or standard class, (colloquially: Cattle class), is the lowest travel class of seating in air travel, rail travel, and sometimes ferry or maritime travel. Historically, this travel class has been called tourist class on ocean liners and third class, or even fourth class, on railways.
In North America, it is known as coach class by companies such as Amtrak. European railways call it second class. Standard class is used in United Kingdom and Ireland. It has been re-branded in some cases to broaden expectations. In Canada Via Rail now refers to coach as Comfort class. In India, the lowest class of service was branded third class under the British colonial rule. It was re-branded as second class following independence to avoid its former segregationist connotations. Today Indian Railways offers Economy AC-3 also in the same class. In Indonesia, the cheapest class for train is an economy class train and it is the highest percentage of train users in Indonesia for intercity and long distance travel. The economy class coach in Indonesia doesn't have an air conditioner and as the service of PT Kereta Api is developing, PT Kereta Api has launched an economy class coach with air conditioner
Generally economy class seats consists of a seat, sometimes with a fold-down tray, that may recline. The seat may also include a pocket attached to the back of the seat in front for storage of small items such as magazines. Depending on the configuration of the passenger compartment, luggage can be stowed in overhead racks or at each end of the coach cars.
Standard class seating on British intercity trains often includes seating around permanent tables. Power sockets are available and some services offer (chargeable) Wi-Fi Internet access.
North American intercity passenger trains are separated into different coach classes by the type of car (e.g., sleepers). Economy seating on North American passenger trains typically does not include meal service in the fare.
Economy class seats usually recline and include a fold-down table. The seats pitch range from 29 to 36 inches (74 to 91 cm), usually 30–32 in (76–81 cm), and 30 to 36 in (76 to 91 cm) for international economy class seats. Domestic economy classes range from 17 to 18.25 in (43.2 to 46.36 cm). Full economy class is usually denoted 'Y' with schedule flexibility, but can be many other letters depending on circumstances.
A pocket attached to the seat in front will contain an airsickness bag, inflight magazine, Duty-Free catalogue and a safety and evacuation card. Depending on the airline, extras might include a blanket, an amenities bag (e.g. ear plugs, toothpaste, eye mask) and headphones. In-flight entertainment in economy class is either a "mainscreen" mounted to the aircraft bulkhead providing the same viewing for all cabin passengers or individual screens for each seat that may show Video on demand. Some low-cost carriers can charge a fee for headphones. But economy standards vary between carriers. Qantas and Cathay Pacific offer in-flight audio and visual entertainment and meals on both international and selected domestic routes to all passengers, including those in economy.
Availability of food depends on the airline. Some major carriers no longer serve meals in economy for short haul flights. Meals are now only generally provided on international flights. Some airport vendors have started to offer packaged meals to economy travellers that can be carried on to flights. Low-cost carriers, such as EasyJet and Ryanair, now charge for food and drinks on flights under two hours long. In addition, many carriers also make economy passengers pay for airport check-in, checked bags, pillows, blankets and headphones.
Some airlines have remarketed economy class because of its poor reputation with customers. Economy has been referred to as 'cattle class', 'sardine class' or 'baggage class'. Examples of its rebranding include World Traveller from British Airways, the Kingfisher Class from Kingfisher Airlines, Hospitality/Hospitalité from Air Canada, Fiesta Class by Philippine Airlines, Tourist class at LAN, Classica by Alitalia, and Air France's Voyageur.
Premium Economy class
Airlines offer a Premium Economy class to passengers willing to pay more for slightly better seats and, in some cases, better service. These include American Airlines, Turkish Airlines,Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Alitalia, British Airways, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, EVA Air, Qantas, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines among others. Airlines such as Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qantas, and Virgin Atlantic offer service more akin to Business Class in their Premium Economy cabins.
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- Aircraft cabin
- Airline seat
- Business class
- Economy class syndrome
- First class travel
- First class (aviation)
- IATA class codes
- Wide-body aircraft
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