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Topic: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Zrs70
Posted 2009-12-25 17:52:12 and read 3972 times.

Not sure of the origin of this one. Once upon a time, there was only one cabin. Did airlines then create a new section for lower fare pax, or did they add a section for higher fare pax?

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2009-12-25 18:11:47 and read 3948 times.

Quoting Zrs70 (Thread starter):
Not sure of the origin of this one. Once upon a time, there was only one cabin. Did airlines then create a new section for lower fare pax, or did they add a section for higher fare pax?

It was all first class originally. Economy/coach only arrived in the 1950s. Even during the early years of jet service, many 707s and DC-8s operated with about a 50-50 split of F and Y seats. Then Y class gradually took over as the dominant class and F class cabins became much smaller.

[Edited 2009-12-25 18:12:41]

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Moose135
Posted 2009-12-25 18:20:28 and read 3928 times.

Given air travel in the old days was something of a luxury, and early air service came with many amenities, I suspect it all started as "first class" then lower fare/lower service sections were added later.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Comorin
Posted 2009-12-25 19:11:57 and read 3845 times.

Y used to be called 'Tourist' class, Economy came much later.  old 

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Planeguy727
Posted 2009-12-25 19:54:44 and read 3783 times.

A number of books written about the history of various US airlines discuss the creating of "coach, economy, tourist" class as a way to encourage more people to travel. I know I've read about it in books about UA, DL, AA and others.

It is one of many ideas that were tried to spark additional travelers, just that this one stuck.

Does anyone remember the bring your wife along campaigns aimed at the business traveler? Nope, cause it didn't "stick."

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Timz
Posted 2009-12-25 20:15:56 and read 3755 times.



Quoting Comorin (Reply 3):
Y used to be called 'Tourist' class, Economy came much later.

Coach first appeared on US domestic flights in 1948 or 1949. Tourist was international-only starting in 1952; Economy started on international flights around 1958 (?). The two latter terms were at least halfway official, but the domestic coach service maybe never had an official name?

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: BMI727
Posted 2009-12-25 21:26:17 and read 3676 times.

Generally, I think that the order of appearance was First, then Tourist (now coach or economy), Business, and Economy+.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Mariner
Posted 2009-12-25 21:33:26 and read 3662 times.



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Generally, I think that the order of appearance was First, then Tourist (now coach or economy), Business, and Economy+.

Back in the 1930's, if you weren't rich you couldn't afford to fly - as here:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1931/1931%20-%200746.html

There are a couple of interesting photos of the interior of an Imperial Airways Hannibal in 1931.  Smile

mariner

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Bohica
Posted 2009-12-25 21:52:46 and read 3641 times.



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Generally, I think that the order of appearance was First, then Tourist (now coach or economy), Business, and Economy+.

Several airlines toyed with their Y configurations during the 70's. I remember UA tried a 5-across Y cabin in their DC-8's, and WA had "First class legroom in coach" giving you "Three feet for your two legs." TW had the fold down middle seat (as long as it was empty) and TW also tried removing rows in Y at one time. Of course, none of them stuck at the time and they all went back to basic Y configurations. I will agree that Business class was accepted before Y+ was.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: BOACCunard
Posted 2009-12-25 23:03:30 and read 3582 times.

First class certainly came first, though I don't really think there was the need to call it anything since there weren't any other classes.

Some airlines also had first and coach/tourist but on separate airplanes (not the same type, coach/tourist usually on an older, less desirable type of airplane).

Quoting Timz (Reply 5):
Coach first appeared on US domestic flights in 1948 or 1949. Tourist was international-only starting in 1952; Economy started on international flights around 1958 (?). The two latter terms were at least halfway official, but the domestic coach service maybe never had an official name?

I think coach was certainly an officially used term and some US airlines even still use it officially today, at least with regard to domestic flying.

However, of course airlines had in some cases their own brand names for these different classes, as some do today - look at BA's Club World/Club Europe or World Traveller/Euro Traveller.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Generally, I think that the order of appearance was First, then Tourist (now coach or economy), Business, and Economy+.

There also have been or even are airlines who consider themselves to have merged business and first, or created a class that is somewhere between the two. Certainly, CO's BusinessFirst is of course the most blatant example of this, and DL's BusinessElite is more or less the same concept. However, the first airline I remember claiming that its premium cabin was neither business nor first was VS with Upper Class. WA Transworld Airlines (USA)">TW also had Trans World One, which I think it avoided referring to as business class. I'm not sure if US did or does the same with Envoy Class. NW obviously never did with World Business Class.

Quoting Bohica (Reply 8):
Several airlines toyed with their Y configurations during the 70's. I remember UA tried a 5-across Y cabin in their DC-8's, and WA had "First class legroom in coach" giving you "Three feet for your two legs." WA Transworld Airlines (USA)">TW had the fold down middle seat (as long as it was empty) and WA Transworld Airlines (USA)">TW also tried removing rows in Y at one time.

WA Transworld Airlines (USA)">TW removed rows in the 1990s (or late 1980s?) and renamed Y to Comfort Class. At this time TWA's slogan was "The Most Comfortable Way to Fly."

Then of course there was AA's More Room Throughout Coach, even more recently. And UA still has Economy Plus, which is fairly unique (as distinct from "true" Premium Economy/Economy Plus products).

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: BMI727
Posted 2009-12-25 23:35:31 and read 3558 times.



Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 9):
There also have been or even are airlines who consider themselves to have merged business and first, or created a class that is somewhere between the two. Certainly, CO's BusinessFirst is of course the most blatant example of this, and DL's BusinessElite is more or less the same concept.

That is actually really common. The only US carriers that offer a traditional three class product are United and American, and AA only on their 762 transcons and 777 flights. A*net rumor holds that the F section on AA 777s is often filled with upgrades.

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 9):
However, of course airlines had in some cases their own brand names for these different classes, as some do today - look at BA's Club World/Club Europe or World Traveller/Euro Traveller.

Here is what I came up with in the other thread.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
Here are some of the various airline's euphenisms for coach or economy class:
-AeroMexico still calls it tourist.
-Air France has Voyageur.
-Air Pacific calls theirs Pacific Voyager
-BA has Euro Traveller and World Traveller.
-Etihad has Coral class.
-Midwest has Saver class.
-Philippine Airlines has Fiesta Class, though I think that spending a transpacific flight there would not be a fiesta.
-Virgin America refers to it as Main Cabin.

This is not an exhaustive list. And the designations of Y+ offerings are even more interesting. The various airlines toss about monikers like Plus, Comfort, Extra, and Premium to describe their respective offerings.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2009-12-26 12:28:45 and read 3371 times.



Quoting Mariner (Reply 7):
Back in the 1930's, if you weren't rich you couldn't afford to fly

And much later than the 1930s. Even after tourist class was introduced in 1952 on transatlantic routes, fares were still well beyond the means of most people. Note the following TWA ad (undated but I would guess about 1953), promoting their lowest off-season tourist class fares from the U.S. to Europe. The $425 round trip fare from NYC to London is equivalent to about $3,400 today, and the $198 round trip coast-to-coast fare (that one is quoted as $99 one way in the ad) would be about $1,600 today. No wonder they're advertising their time payment plan. (Click the image to enlaqrge.)

http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r293/VIEWLINER/080129-2.jpg

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Mariner
Posted 2009-12-26 12:32:48 and read 3364 times.



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 11):
And much later than the 1930s. Even after tourist class was introduced in 1952 on transatlantic routes, fares were still well beyond the means of most people.

Yes, indeed. I remember being at LHR in 1952/3 and seeing a BOAC ad for LHR-JFK - in the then new tourist class - for £99.

Which was quite a lot of money in those days.

mariner

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Stitch
Posted 2009-12-26 12:52:37 and read 3333 times.



Quoting Planeguy727 (Reply 4):
Does anyone remember the bring your wife along campaigns aimed at the business traveler? Nope, cause it didn't "stick."

Especially when they could instead take UA's all-male "Executive" flights.  Wink

With a load factor of 80-90%, it's kind of surprising UA didn't keep them going, even in the face of NOW and the ERA. Guess the rolling pin is greater than the cigar.  Silly

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2009-12-26 13:08:36 and read 3317 times.



Quoting Planeguy727 (Reply 4):
Does anyone remember the bring your wife along campaigns aimed at the business traveler?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DDIE0lr7Rs

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Flyingclrs727
Posted 2009-12-26 14:11:59 and read 3275 times.



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 14):
Quoting Planeguy727 (Reply 4):Does anyone remember the bring your wife along campaigns aimed at the business traveler?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DDIE...lr7Rs

You should read some of the comments on the youtube link. Apparently some of the businessmen were taking along girlfriends instead of their wives.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Tango-Bravo
Posted 2009-12-26 14:46:33 and read 3240 times.



Quoting Timz (Reply 5):
Coach first appeared on US domestic flights
in 1948 or 1949. Tourist was international-only starting in 1952

...and when coach class was first introduced, it was very often if not invariably offered only on flights during off-peak hours. Later, well within the era of rigidly regulated fares, there were Yn (night coach) fares at lower cost than standard Y (day coach) fares...although the difference was much less than one might anticipate based on the ludicrous "roller coaster" fluctuations of coach fares today.

For some time, at least during the regulated era of the jet age, for pax booking in first class, there were also Fn and standard F fares, based on flight departure time. IIRC, seems that 'n' (night) F or Y fares applied on departures before 0600 or after 21000, give or take.

On international flights, Tourist (class)-only flights were offered by a number of prominent airlines, often with older (slower) propeller types and later, during the early jet age, on piston-powered airliners still in service rather than jets.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Spacecadet
Posted 2009-12-26 15:17:13 and read 3208 times.



Quoting Timz (Reply 5):
but the domestic coach service maybe never had an official name?

I still have UA ticket stubs from the 1980's that specifically say "COACH" under "CLASS".

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Aviopic
Posted 2009-12-26 16:01:47 and read 3169 times.



Quoting Moose135 (Reply 2):
Given air travel in the old days was something of a luxury

Just don't take "luxury" to serious, not in the 20-ties anyway.  Smile
First aircraft KL used for intercontinental flights from The Netherlands to Indonesia.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willem Honders



Somewhere halfway the 30-ties these flights were taken over by the DC2.
Still very expensive and only feasible for the upper class.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willem Honders


Over the years I've accumulated some 30 hours in one of those seats and although much more comfy than the F.VII still one should not take "luxury" to serious.

Late 50-ties and early 60-ties flying became more feasible for the ordinary crowd with something we now call "coach".

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willem Honders


Even though flying became much cheaper the level of luxury did not degrade but grew to a higher standard.
With wide comfy seats and compared by todays standard an enormous amount of leg room.

In other words, "coach" some years ago is not the same as the "cattle" class you'll find in modern European airliners like LH, AF/KL etc.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: BOACCunard
Posted 2009-12-26 17:54:27 and read 3107 times.



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 18):
Just don't take "luxury" to serious, not in the 20-ties anyway.

Luxury can also simply mean something that is expensive and only available to a select few.

In this case it was (relative) speed that was what made flying attractive to those select few who could afford it, not the on-board experience.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Bohica
Posted 2009-12-26 20:39:02 and read 3039 times.



Quoting Stitch (Reply 13):
Guess the rolling pin is greater than the cigar.

It's scarier now because women learned how to use golf clubs.  duck 

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Jetjeanes
Posted 2009-12-26 23:06:07 and read 2985 times.

Oh remember Southern Airways they would run those dc-9,s in an all one class configuration.
I thought at one time Wn did as well but it has been a while since ive flown them. It seems they were all leather seats. Todays coach seem more cramped and the seats seem smaller than in days past

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: BOACCunard
Posted 2009-12-27 00:42:57 and read 2944 times.



Quoting Jetjeanes (Reply 21):
I thought at one time Wn did as well but it has been a while since ive flown them.

You thought WN did what as well?

WN has always been a one-class airline. I would consider that one class to be economy.

Topic: RE: Which Came First, First Class Or Coach?
Username: Tango-Bravo
Posted 2009-12-27 09:07:47 and read 2854 times.



Quoting Jetjeanes (Reply 21):
Oh remember Southern Airways they would run those dc-9,s in an all one class configuration.

...which was a common practice among the U.S. feeder/local service/regional airlines well into the era (from ~1966) when they started jet service with 737, DC-9 and BAC 1-11 equipment. With Allegheny (later to become USAir, then US Airways), for example, every seat on their DC-9-31s was "Jet Custom Class." Besides Southern's DC-9s being configured in one class of service, it was the same with North Central and Ozark (DC-9s) as well as Piedmont (737s) and probably most if not all of the rest of the airlines in the same classification.

It was only after deregulation, when the U.S. regionals decided to "run with the big boys" that some introduced separate first or business class cabins, seemingly with mixed results. While some retained first class cabins on their jets, others soon reverted back to single class service that might best be described as deluxe coach...somewhat superior to 'typical' coach service, not-quite-up-there with business class.

Speaking of Southern's one-class DC-9 service, there are some creative -- and entertaining -- TV ads featuring "Nobody's Second Class on Southern" that can be viewed from the link below by going to the lower left corner of the screen to "Southern Airways TV Commercials" and selecting from the 3 ads listed:

http://southernairways.org/new_mag1.htm

...and while there, check out "SO M404" under "Southern Airways Music" ...may well be the most creative and entertaining song about airliners ever composed!


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