Airlines offer many levels of service for the same flight at a range of prices. The three most common classes of service available are First Class, Business Class and Coach Class (or Economy).
First Class and Business Class passengers pay for services not offered to passengers flying Coach. Priority check-in and boarding, along with access to lounges that offer showers, breakfast and business services, are just some of the available extras that come with a Business Class ticket.
Business Class Seats
Seats in Business Class are larger and have more legroom than seats in Coach. Depending on the airline, the seat may just have footrests and will recline, but some of the newer or reconfigured airplanes have seats that lie flat.
Entertainment systems in Business Class have improved dramatically over the past few years. The latest improvement in some Business Class cabins includes noise-reduction headsets and personal media players with a seven-inch touch screen. Passengers may choose from about 20 movies, 20 TV programs, 40 CDs or play video games.
On international flights, airlines offer hot food in all classes of service, but the meal offered in Business Class is typically three or four courses, and includes wine.
Business Class fares are a cheaper alternative to the more expensive First Class ticket, but are more expensive than coach. A recent price for a round trip Business Class ticket from Atlanta to Rome was $2,000 more than the cheapest economy ticket ($746). Ticket prices do not include fees and taxes, which can add an additional $200 to an international fare.
There are ways to ride in Business Class without handing over the extra money. Frequent flyer miles are an excellent way to pay for the comfort of the Business Class cabin. Airlines also give frequent flyers free upgrades when the Coach Cabin is full.