UAL747
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Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:24 am

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?

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AF340
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:27 am

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


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EvilForce
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:29 am

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.
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CAP2008
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:31 am



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)
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AF340
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:44 am



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



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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:52 am



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.
 
avt007
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:57 am

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.
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:00 am



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.

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:00 am

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!
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Viscount724
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:01 am



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.
 
eoinnz
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:02 am

Lufthansa has their First Class located on the upper deck.
 
EvilForce
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:03 am



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.
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Viscount724
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:54 am



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.
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:02 am



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!!
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asuflyer05
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:07 am

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?
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:11 am



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.

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:30 am



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.
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jamesjimlb
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:47 am

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.
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:35 am

Yikes, I'm surprised this hasn't been said yet, but the front of the aircraft has the cleanest and freshes air
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FighterPilot
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:56 am



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?

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:16 am



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.
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft

Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:24 am



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).
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:23 am

Not sure if this is true but I have heard that air quality up front is better than in the back.
 
JoKeR
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:34 am

Here's a trivia... JU's ATR have their "J" class at the rear of the aircraft... that's where the main exit is...
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Doona
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:53 am



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?

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tcfc424
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:04 am

Surprised no one has mentioned this...isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?
 
levent
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:15 am



Quoting Tcfc424 (Reply 25):
isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?

Kind of ironic that the pax paying the highest fares are most likely to die in a fatal crash...
 
Scipio
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:11 pm

Reasons:

1. Easier boarding/unboarding--First Class passengers have to unboard first and get the option to board at their convenience, whether that is first or last; also, you don't want your First Class passengers to have to wait in line to make their way through the aisle towards the back of the aircraft
2. Front is quieter
3. Symbolism
4. Proximity to catering and restroom facilities at front of the aircraft
5. Proximity to the (most senior) crew (in Lufthansa, the captain (before 9/11) and the purser often come to say hello to the first class passengers)
6. View from the front of the cabin is unobstructed by the wing/engines/tail

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Scipio
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:24 pm



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

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 I usually even have to get a lot of stuff out of my computer bag to fit it in there.

I find Lufthansa's F class cabin up front in their Airbuses actually better. The 747 cabins are also getting old.

Quoting Doona (Reply 24):
Don't all ATRs that are configured with a J class have it at the rear?

No. Air Dolomiti, for example, has business class up front, but you have to board from the rear. It's kind of inconvenient.

Quoting Tcfc424 (Reply 25):
Surprised no one has mentioned this...isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?

Yes. There is more than one price to pay for the privilege of flying F class  Smile
Safety-wise, you're best off at the rear of the plane.
 
SA7700
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:10 pm



Quoting Scipio (Reply 28):
the overhead bins are very small

Easily rectified by the 777-style overhead bins, as seen and experienced on QF.


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ake0404ar
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:20 pm



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 20):


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

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.

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wilco737
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:21 pm

On LH the 1st class on the 744 is on the upper deck, so not really in the front  Wink

but on the 340/330s F class is in the front... nice and quiet and in and out real quick  Wink

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LHStarAlliance
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:23 pm



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):

Main reason is the noise .
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wilco737
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:25 pm



Quoting LHStarAlliance (Reply 32):
Main reason is the noise .

Everybody complains about aircraft noise: I make it Big grin Big grin

Another reason for everyone on this planet to fly F class Big grin Good for your ears and good for the profit of the airlines Big grin

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UAL777UK
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:55 pm

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 from ORD and having been sat in F, we had some heavy chop over the pond and whilst it was bumpy up front, I know it was a lot worse down the back!
Also, you get to have a brief chat with the resting pilot if your in F on a UA 777 and thats always an interesting chat.
 
wilco737
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:00 pm



Quoting UAL777UK (Reply 34):
Another reason IMHO is that on any aircraft turbelance is a darn sight worse at the back of an aircraft.

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 too bumpy to continue with the service... It feels so much different in the back! when I am jumpseating on the back door it feels so different and less comortable...

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Gr8Circle
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:29 pm



Quoting Tcfc424 (Reply 25):
Surprised no one has mentioned this...isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?

True, but it's got nothing to do with the positioning of the First class cabins.....
 
wilco737
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:37 pm

Something just came to my mind  idea 

I have flown on ATR 72-500 of Team Lufthansa or Lufthansa Regional. I had a Business Class ticket and i was sitting in the last row!
On the ATR 72 the exit is at the far end of the aircraft... So, the higher classes arent ALWAYS in the front Big grin

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rw774477
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:11 pm

Vanguard first class seats ( EY ) were in the rear ... keeping away from the noisy props

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:18 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 31):
On LH the 1st class on the 744 is on the upper deck, so not really in the front Wink

Soo what class sits in the nose?  Wink
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wilco737
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:20 pm



Quoting SXDFC (Reply 39):
Soo what class sits in the nose? Wink

On LH 744 the lower deck fron section are the C class seats... And the 16 F class seats are on the upper deck...

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft

Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:21 pm

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, do they still do that???
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:27 pm

Interflug IL-62's had 8 first class seats located behind door 2, so configuration was economy-first-economy.
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:20 pm



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
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?

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 compensation to the airlines for yet more airbus mistakes??!
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:59 pm



Quoting Readytotaxi (Reply 41):
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, do they still do that???

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.
 
MSYPI7185
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:48 pm



Quoting UAL747 (Thread starter):
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?

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 depends on the aircraft and model variant. In general the cargo is loaded in such a way as to offset the the difference in weight distribution of the passengers. On some instances the fuel load, especially if the center tank is used can offset the weight difference. I won't even get into Auxillary tanks Pro's & Con's.

Normally, from my experience in weight and balance, it is preferred that the aircraft be slightly tail heavy. As a general rule, but not always, aircraft with engines mounted forward of the wing tend to be nose heavy if only slightly. Forward of the wing meaning installed on the wings but positioned forward as in Airbus aircraft and 737's (ex 737-100/200's), 757's and 767's for example. The B737-100/200 are mounted under the wing and are normally fairly neutral. Not to mention that in todays modern aircraft there are many, many computers and electronic equipment, which is very heavy and located in the forward section of the aircraft, generally under and slightly behind the cockpit.

The problem that sometimes arises from stretch versions of aircraft with wing mounted engines, is the added length forward the wing in combination with the engines, can be a bit much especially with light loads. In some aircraft models this can be exacerbated if there is an Aux fuel tank located in the rear of the aircraft and its use is not required.

Sorry if this is more info than what you wanted, but I am trying to keep it brief, yet cover most of the bases and I have not even discussed DC10's, MD11's, L1011's, 727's, 747's and DC/MD 9 series aircraft, Fokker 50,75, & 100's etc.....

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Bofredrik
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:14 pm

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 nice...
This was around 1990.

[Edited 2007-12-27 12:16:21]
 
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Mortyman
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:45 pm

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 first is in front, is " first off "
 
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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft?

Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:53 pm



Quoting Tcfc424 (Reply 25):
Surprised no one has mentioned this...isn't the front of the aircraft where most fatalities occur in crashes?



Quoting Levent (Reply 26):
Kind of ironic that the pax paying the highest fares are most likely to die in a fatal crash...

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 their big heads, egos and wallets!  Silly

But then again, my father's occupation had nothing to do with aviation and always thought that as long as you get to your destination, who cares if your knees are pressed against your chest!  blockhead 

I always thought that it was for the prestige and the first on/first off scenerio!

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RE: Why Is First Class Always In Front Of Aircraft

Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:02 pm

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 40):
On LH 744 the lower deck fron section are the C class seats..

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...) Big grin Big grin

Vasco G.

[Edited 2007-12-27 14:23:48]

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