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Which Airline(s) First Introduced Business Class?  
User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 3472 times:

Which airline(s) first introduced business class? (and when?)


15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTullamarine From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1722 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (12 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 3464 times:

QF on its 742s early in the 80's.

User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (12 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 3455 times:

TWA first introduced "Ambassador Class" back in the '60's I believe... as I recall it was the first business class of its kind. I think TWA's first class was called "Royal Ambassador" service... but I could be mistaken.

An unexamined life isn't worth living.
User currently offlineAirplanetire From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1809 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (12 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 3448 times:

I second Tullamarine. I just saw on the QF website a few days ago that they were the first.

User currently offlineKEESJE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 3380 times:

KLM in the seventies introduced FFF ("triple F") service on long haul in between First and Economy; separate cabin, more pitch ...

User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 3367 times:

To my knowledge was it BA on the route from LHR to HKG but I can not remember when.


User currently offlineBritair From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 933 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (12 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 3362 times:

I always thought it was Qantas. They have always said so themselves.

Cheers  Smile

User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2565 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (12 years 12 months 2 hours ago) and read 3345 times:

Technically, it was the other way round. The early clippers had first class service on board, making flying only accessible to the elite few. Then the sixties and seventies saw the package holiday revolution that enabled the middle and lower classes to travel for pleasure. Now we have the no frills revolution that assimilates flying to a bus trip.

User currently offlineAl From Australia, joined Jun 1999, 593 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (12 years 12 months ago) and read 3317 times:

Both afficiondos and the 2 carriers concerned, QF and PA, couldn't agree on who was first. The more accepted argument is it was Qantas that started it, however they were merely offering normal economy seating but slightly better service and a dedicated area at the front of Y for "full fares" with middle and centre seats the absolute last to be allocated to anyone. QF were certainly the first to create a *class* between First and Economy that became known as Business, but it's generally accepted that PanAm had the first true business *cabin*, hotly followed by QF. (Think that's right - it may be the other way around, but one had the class first and the other had the cabin config & service first). Most will agree however that it was Qantas who was first and PanAm's claims were on a technicality. Guess as that particular PA is no longer around, the way to call it is QF is the longest serving airline with J class as we know it. Solves all arguments !!
Cheers. Al.

User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1741 posts, RR: 37
Reply 9, posted (12 years 12 months ago) and read 3316 times:

An interesting fact for those who are interested. The first Business Class across the Atlantic was British Caledonian from LGW to IAH. I remember reading this in Airways a couple months ago.

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I also heard it was Qantas that started Business Class in the 70's!

SR 103

User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 32
Reply 10, posted (12 years 12 months ago) and read 3306 times:

I read somewhere the first airline to have multi-class a/c was KLM - when they gor their DC8. Anybody confirm that?

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineBritair From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 933 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (12 years 12 months ago) and read 3296 times:

From www.qantas.com........

"The final 707 flight operated from Auckland to Sydney on 25 March 1979 under the command of Captain Phil Oakley. With the sale of this last Boeing 707, Qantas boasted the world's only all-747 fleet, with 17 of the aircraft. In the same year Qantas launched the world's first Business Class."

Cheers  Smile

User currently offlineKEESJE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3265 times:

It is possible to create truth by repeatingly saying the same thing.

Sooner or later you get quoted and re-quoted and everyone starts to know things because they heard / seen it on paper ...

Qantas is a nice airline but not an independent source ..

User currently offlineUALbrat From United States of America, joined May 2006, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3261 times:

UA offered "red white and blue" 3-class service on transcons in the late 60s; there was a short mention of this in the June (perhaps May) issue of Airways. It didn't last more than a couple of years but I think it may have been the first. "White" was equivalent to today's business class.

User currently offlineLeo From China, joined May 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 11 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3182 times:

OK, so I got out the history books to settle the arguments:

(1) KLM introduced FFF service 'Full Fare Facilities' in 1975 on selected long-haul routes. From October 1975 to March 1979 the FFF passengers were seated among the other Y class passengers and given coupons for free drinks as an extra service. Other Y class pax continued to pay for drinks.

In March 1979 KLM introduced a separate cabin for FFF passengers introducing the term Business Class, but still used Y-class seating. These seats sold as 'Y' but had extra service. All passengers travelling on discounts were downgraded to a new M class.

So in reality KLM introduced a new discount Tourist Class, while naming full fare Y service Business Class. This service has grown into today's C class.

(2) Qantas did it differently. QF introduced J class as a separate cabin. QF charged an additional fee on top of Full Fare Y. So traditional full fare Y passengers on QF remained in economy - hard luck.

This explains why some airlines still offer 'J' class today (following Qantas) while others operate 'C' class (following KLM). J class has always been more expensive than C class.

So both airlines initiated Business Class, but in different ways.

User currently offlineClipper471 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 726 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 11 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3127 times:

After thumbing thru my Pan Am timetables I've noticed that "Clipper Class" began showing up beginning with the Nov-1978 timetable.

Pan Am was offering First, Clipper (biz), and Economy class on fifteen seperate routes:


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