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Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?  
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 22107 times:

It's always puzzled me why First class is in the front of the aircraft. While I understand the ideology that first means a ride up front, and in a very small way, you are sort of the "first" to get to your destination..LOL. The only other reason I think is maybe it's because it's usually quieter in the front of the aircraft.

But other than those reasons, can anyone give me a good reason as to why first is always up front?

The reason I ask is because someone in another thread mentioned that the A345/346 gets nose heavy with heavy first suites installed, but also, I wonder if aircraft don't get tail heavy with so many more passengers in the back, or do seats and pax make up only a small part of the weight of the aircraft?

UAL

79 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAF340 From Canada, joined Jul 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 22117 times:

First on first off. No waiting in lines. Simple as that.


AF340 wave 


User currently offlineEvilForce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 22114 times:

Other than being quieter.....when flying or upgrading to first the only advantage to being "in front" outside of that is getting off the aircraft first. Otherwise it wouldn't matter if the 1st class cabin was in the rear, upstairs, or whatever. It's all about ease of getting on and off the aircraft. If they had a 1st class in the rear with a separate boarding entrance I'm sure most would be fine with that too. At least that's my 2 cents worth.

User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 22102 times:



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
The only other reason I think is maybe it's because it's usually quieter in the front of the aircraft.

That, as well as in most cases airliners are boarded from the front; first on, first off. (Its kind of hard to get first class pax off the aircraft first when there not nearest to the boarding door Smile)



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineAF340 From Canada, joined Jul 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 22031 times:



Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 3):
Its kind of hard to get first class pax off the aircraft first when there not nearest to the boarding door

Economy isn't called Cattle Class for nothing  Smile



AF340 wave 


User currently offlineSeabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5588 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 21996 times:



Quoting EvilForce (Reply 2):
If they had a 1st class in the rear with a separate boarding entrance I'm sure most would be fine with that too.

I doubt it. They would complain about being "in the back of the bus." People have long associated the front of any transportation conveyance with prestige for a huge variety of reasons, from steam engine soot (falls on people at the back) to better views ahead to frequently bouncier rides in the back to proximity to the operator to a perception of the back as the place for rowdy kids.

I think history, not first-on first-off, explains the position of first class. If the back of transportation conveyances were the prestigious place to be, F/C/J would be in the back, and jetbridges would reach to the back to ensure first-on first-off for the premium pax.


User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21972 times:

It's been my experience on the 747 that up front is louder than the back. But being able to disembark first is the main reason.

User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25405 posts, RR: 86
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21948 times:
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Quoting AF340 (Reply 1):
First on first off. No waiting in lines. Simple as that.

That wasn't true in the old days, when the doors where often towards the rear, aft of the wing.

In those old piston engine aircraft, quietness had a lot to do with it. The seats at the front, ahead of the wing and engines, were quieter, by some margin.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineRNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 827 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21945 times:

I have a book about airline history that has a photo of what I believe is a DC-6, showing first class passengers deplaning through a rear exit, with the economy class folks deplaning from a front exit. Seems like there were more airline attendants helping the first class passengers. As I remember, the caption said first class was in the back because there was less noise there... certainly this would not be the case with a DC-9 or 727, but possibly was true for the old prop planes. By the way, everyone in both classes was dressed in suits and ties/skirts and dresses!


I'm sorry, ma'am, I don't work for the airline.
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21945 times:



Quoting EvilForce (Reply 2):
Other than being quieter

That is the real reason why first class on jets is at the front. On the early jets the front was significantly quieter, and that's still true but to a lesser extent than on the early 707s and DC-8s etc.

First class on 2-class propeller aircraft was at the rear for exactly the same reason. The rear of propeller aircraft is normally much quieter than the front.


User currently offlineEoinnz From New Zealand, joined Jul 2003, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21931 times:

Lufthansa has their First Class located on the upper deck.

User currently offlineEvilForce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 21933 times:



Quoting Avt007 (Reply 6):
It's been my experience on the 747 that up front is louder than the back. But being able to disembark first is the main reason.

On the 747 I like being upstairs. It's very quiet. No screaming babies and parents letting their kids run around to keep them entertained. That's what I dislike most of all in MD11 or A330s. You're trying to sleep and kids are running past you repeatedly.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21780 times:



Quoting Mariner (Reply 7):
In those old piston engine aircraft, quietness had a lot to do with it. The seats at the front, ahead of the wing and engines, were quieter, by some margin.

In fact the rear of piston engine aircraft was by far the quietest part which is why first class was always at the rear of piston-engine types. In the larger piston types that had a few rows of seats in a cabin ahead of the wing, that was usually the loudest part of the aircraft. I'm quite sure you won't find any evidence that 2-class piston engine types ever had first class at the front. Of course many piston types operated in an all-first class configuration where some passengers got stuck in the noisiest seats near the engines by default. Frequent travellers on those aircraft usually asked for a seat as close to the rear as possible.

The early turboprops (Britannia, Viscount, Vanguard, Electra etc.) maintained the tradition of putting first class at the back. They were also noisier at the front but not quite to the same extent as the piston types.


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21734 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9):
That is the real reason why first class on jets is at the front. On the early jets the front was significantly quieter, and that's still true but to a lesser extent than on the early 707s and DC-8s etc.

Especially on the Boeing 727. God, the back sure was noisy in those planes!!


User currently offlineAsuflyer05 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2373 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21716 times:

Wouldn't you want the more dense section of the aircraft towards the rear since it will shift the CG towards the aft. Thus allowing better performance?

User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25405 posts, RR: 86
Reply 15, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21693 times:
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Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):
In fact the rear of piston engine aircraft was by far the quietest part which is why first class was always at the rear of piston-engine types. I

Not when I flew on 'em - the Hermes and the Argonaut, at least. And not according to BOAC staff, who all regarded the front of those aircraft (and the Constellation), as the best place to be.

This was before the days of two class travel, of course. When there was only one class and it was all considered "first".

When I first flew economy class - on the Argonaut - it was at the back.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21597 times:



Quoting Seabosdca (Reply 5):
People have long associated the front of any transportation conveyance with prestige for a huge variety of reasons, from steam engine soot (falls on people at the back)

Actually, on US passenger trains the coach accommodations were almost always at the front and first class accommodations at the rear. The reason for this was noise, comfort and the view. Locomotives (with their associated noise and dirt) were always at the front of the train. Cars on the rear of the train also ride smoother than those positioned towards the front. If a train carried a dining car or lounge car, they were almost always positioned in the middle of the train in between the coach and first class cars for reasons of comfort and convenience to the first class passengers. Some trains were also provided with an observation car which was almost always reserved for first class use. Older lounge cars had deep observation platforms to allow one to enjoy the view without choking on smoke and cinders. Later on, railroads employed solarium observation cars that had an enclosed rear compartment with picture windows. These were regarded as improvements in that the observation end could be used in all weather and eliminated the risk of someone falling off the observation platform (they had very low railings). When private railcars were handled on a train, they would be placed at the rear of the train unless the train had a first class observation car assigned. In that case, they would be placed ahead of the coach accommodations but behind the baggage and railway post office cars.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineJamesJimlb From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1023 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 21529 times:

the front, imo, is the smoothest ride, i flew CO in the farthest sest back and the taxi by itself made me motions sick ( i dont get motion sick easy) then i flew first same type of A/C ( 757-300 ) and i didnt even feel us taxiing.

in addition to boarding from the back i believe canada 2000 did that.



The sky is no longer the limit, but the mere minimum
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12210 posts, RR: 18
Reply 18, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 21425 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Yikes, I'm surprised this hasn't been said yet, but the front of the aircraft has the cleanest and freshes air

User currently offlineFighterPilot From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1410 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 21261 times:



Quoting Eoinnz (Reply 10):
Lufthansa has their First Class located on the upper deck.

Upper deck of all their planes? Wow! I didn't know the A340-600 had an upper deck.  Wink

Quoting 777ER (Reply 18):
Yikes, I'm surprised this hasn't been said yet, but the front of the aircraft has the cleanest and freshes air

Could you please elaborate?

Cal  airplane 



*Insert Sound Of GE90 Spooling Up Here*
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9522 posts, RR: 31
Reply 20, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 21206 times:



Quoting Eoinnz (Reply 10):
Lufthansa has their First Class located on the upper deck.

On the 744s only of course and they still get off the plane first, the crew holds C class pax back and Y follows them anyhow. Many airlines make sure that F pax get off first, regardless where the sit and then C follows before the rest of the crowd disembarks.

I remember the BEA Vanguards having the F class in the rear of the aircraft.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 33010 posts, RR: 71
Reply 21, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 21184 times:



Quoting EvilForce (Reply 11):
On the 747 I like being upstairs. It's very quiet. No screaming babies and parents letting their kids run around to keep them entertained. That's what I dislike most of all in MD11 or A330s. You're trying to sleep and kids are running past you repeatedly.

I can't remember the last time I've been in a kids-less premium cabin. On my Sunday LAX-MIA flight in business (AA 772), I've never seen so many kids in a premium cabin. I counted 14 (out of 37 seats), including one crying baby, and a brother/sister pair, neither who could have been older than 6, in a row to themselves. (And for the record, I'm not complaining about kids in the premium cabin, there's nothing wrong with it, but I've just noticed a trend that it's becoming a lot more common).



a.
User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2872 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 20233 times:

Not sure if this is true but I have heard that air quality up front is better than in the back.

User currently offlineJoKeR From Serbia, joined Nov 2004, 2238 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 20160 times:

Here's a trivia... JU's ATR have their "J" class at the rear of the aircraft... that's where the main exit is...


Kafa, čaj, šraf?
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3771 posts, RR: 13
Reply 24, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 20018 times:



Quoting JoKeR (Reply 23):
Here's a trivia... JU's ATR have their "J" class at the rear of the aircraft... that's where the main exit is...

Don't all ATRs that are configured with a J class have it at the rear?

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
25 Tcfc424 : Surprised no one has mentioned this...isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?
26 Levent : Kind of ironic that the pax paying the highest fares are most likely to die in a fatal crash...
27 Scipio : Reasons: 1. Easier boarding/unboarding--First Class passengers have to unboard first and get the option to board at their convenience, whether that is
28 Post contains images Scipio : It adds to the sense of exclusivity, but the upper deck is narrow and low, and the overhead bins are very small. My carry-on never fits in there and
29 Post contains links and images SA7700 : Easily rectified by the 777-style overhead bins, as seen and experienced on QF. View Large View MediumPhoto © Sam Chui
30 AKE0404AR : Not true, I just recently flew a LH 744 from FRA - DXB in C-Class and even F pax had to wait on the stairs until some C-pax deplaned. Vasco G.
31 Post contains images WILCO737 : On LH the 1st class on the 744 is on the upper deck, so not really in the front but on the 340/330s F class is in the front... nice and quiet and in a
32 LHStarAlliance : Main reason is the noise .
33 Post contains images WILCO737 : Everybody complains about aircraft noise: I make it Another reason for everyone on this planet to fly F class Good for your ears and good for the pro
34 UAL777UK : Another reason IMHO is that on any aircraft turbelance is a darn sight worse at the back of an aircraft. Having landed this morning on UA958 in LHR fr
35 Post contains images WILCO737 : Sounds abuot right.... I am usually sitting in my F/O seat and not worrying about turbulence and then the F/A from the back door calls and says: its
36 Gr8Circle : True, but it's got nothing to do with the positioning of the First class cabins.....
37 Post contains images WILCO737 : Something just came to my mind I have flown on ATR 72-500 of Team Lufthansa or Lufthansa Regional. I had a Business Class ticket and i was sitting in
38 Rw774477 : Vanguard first class seats ( EY ) were in the rear ... keeping away from the noisy props rw774477
39 Post contains images SXDFC : Soo what class sits in the nose?
40 Post contains images WILCO737 : On LH 744 the lower deck fron section are the C class seats... And the 16 F class seats are on the upper deck... WILCO737 (MD11F)
41 Readytotaxi : When I flew Businessfirst with Continental a few years back the crew would stand in the isle and block ecom pax fom getting off before you, nice touch
42 ETA Unknown : Interflug IL-62's had 8 first class seats located behind door 2, so configuration was economy-first-economy.
43 Boeingluvr : Ahh yes the notorious A345 and A346 W&B issues. I remember hearing about these months ago and alas the problems continue. Any news from Airbus on com
44 SeattleFlyer : As of this past June IAH-SEA on a 757, they did just that since we used the L2 door behind First. On the 737 SEA-IAH, they obviously didn't need to.
45 MSYPI7185 : Pax weight USUALLY is about 3rd when it comes to aircraft weight. First obviously the aircraft itself, followed by fuel, pax and then cargo. It all d
46 Bofredrik : I flew THAI DC-10-30 twice and it had on both a/c C/F/Y so the F-class was in the middle of the a/c. The F-class seats was dark blue and looked very n
47 Mortyman : The back of the plane is usually the safest too.... Would expect that to be a good selling point, put it's not for a strange reason. The reason wh fir
48 Post contains images VHECA : My father always said that the reason that we had first class in the front was to absorb the crash for the majority of the other passengers with thei
49 Post contains images AKE0404AR : that is quite interesting.......I would call it main deck....unless C-class pax on LH are now flying together with LD-3's and PMC (96' pallets...) Va
50 Viscount724 : Was that a one-class or two-class service? As you mention, until the early 1950s, 2-class service on the same aircraft didn't exist, and even Y class
51 Zvezda : LO's ATR42s and ATR72s board from the rear and business class is located aft. Just avail yourself of the aisle to stretch your legs at a suitable oppo
52 Mariner : Orginally, one class service, as I said. I remember when "economy" class service was introduced, trans-Atlantic, but it didn't affect me until a coup
53 Post contains images WILCO737 : Yeah my bad LH isnt treating their C class passengers that bad Yeah I meant MAIN deck... sorry... WILCO737 (MD11F)
54 Sailas : thats weird when i flew GVA-CDG-JFK and i boarded the 777-200er with tickets on row 48 i was called in to board the plane first--- rear to front...
55 Cjbmibe : I find that airlines in the UK typically call to board from rear-front when using only the forward door, middle-front/back when using both a forward a
56 NorthstarBoy : that's typically the way it's done, they board coach from the rear going forward, nowadays most us carriers use the zone system, but there was a day
57 JetMech : I think that premium cabin sections will usually be at one extreme of the fuselage or the other to prevent thoroughfare traffic from people moving ar
58 Post contains images Seabosdca : Those boxes must sure get upset when they can't get their soda pop. (I know you used to fly pax... just causing trouble... )
59 Post contains images WILCO737 : Oh yeah the boxes were not amused that they didnt get food or drinks Now only the captain complains WILCO737 (MD11F)
60 Post contains images PC12Fan : When you time is up, it won't matter where you're sitting. The first on first off thing - for a majority of narrow bodies, wouldn't it make more sens
61 Tod : Not really. On the modern commerical aircraft that I have worked on, the only places that get cleaner air is the flight deck and maybe the crew rest.
62 HAWK21M : Not true.Apart from the Flight deck,on most commercial airliners of date,recirculated air is supplied with the conditioned air to the cabin areas. re
63 Starlionblue : When would I drink my champagne? Quite frankly when I've been in First Class once I'm in my seat I don't pay much attention to the rest of the crowd.
64 Readytotaxi : Pls take a look at my question in this forum, "Cabin air, from which direction" people are telling me that it makes no difference in which part of th
65 BMI727 : My sister was flying as a UM on LH and got bumped up to business class. She was 13 or 14 at the time so it wasn't like she was a really little kid. (
66 Nomadd22 : I don't think making first class passengers walk down a 100 foot long 18 inch wide aisle that was blocked by 50 economy class folks who jumped up as s
67 Post contains links and images JRadier : To prove that the statement in the topic title is in fact not true: View Large View MediumPhoto © Jurgen Radier
68 Viscount724 : The main reason why premium cabins are at the front of jets is because that's generally the quietest part. On propeller types with 2-class service, f
69 Threepoint : You mentioned the Electra among others in an earlier post. I've had the luxury of flying a few times in the rear lounge of an ex-VARIG Electra with t
70 Petertenthije : It's C for crumple zone!
71 Lenbrazil : I haven’t read all the replies so my apologies if I’m repeating things already mentioned but on most passenger jets the view is better from the fr
72 Post contains images VC10 : It is very interesting all these replies stating that first class is at the front to facilitate entry and egress, however first class changed it's pos
73 LongHauler : I say this respectfully, but are you sure it was an Argonaut on which you flew? I say this, as no DC-4M / C-4, (North Star for TCA, C-4 for Canadian
74 Post contains links VC10 : Well perhaps Mariner was correct as according to the Flight magazine of July 1955 the BOAC Argonaut did or could have a lounge at the rear with toile
75 Scooter01 : I also had the privilege of enjoying the quiet rear lounge in a KLM Electra on a short hop from CPH to AMS. Has anyone ever noticed that when a propel
76 Post contains images Viscount724 : Many DC-6s and DC-7s also lacked the rear lounge. I think most, if not all, of the original standard DC-6s had the lounge but on later DC-6Bs it was
77 LongHauler : Thanks for the link ... it is very interesting. I would hope Flight International would be above most media and be correct with regard to aircraft de
78 HAWK21M : Any pic of this wall? regds MEL...
79 Bsergonomics : Oh, Gordon Bennett! Question: Why is the QWERTY keyboard laid out as it is? For an accident of history that is no longer relevant. The QWERTY keyboard
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