First class travel

First class travel

First class is the most luxurious class of accommodation on a train, passenger ship, airplane, or other conveyance. [first class. (n.d.). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved October 19, 2007, from website: [] ] It is usually much more expensive than business class and economy class, and offers the best amenities.


The first-class section of a fixed-wing passenger aircraft is typically located in the very front of the aircraft.

However, many U.S.-based commercial carriers and foreign carriers have completely removed first class altogether from their international flights, only offering business class as their highest level of international service.



Australia has internal rail operations in each of its states, excluding Tasmania, normally run by the State Government but in some cases is run by private operators. In each state, first class travel differs.

*CountryLink (New South Wales)First-class travel on CountryLink comes in two forms. On Xplorer and XPT trains, first-class seating is offered which include an increased legroom and seating recline over economy-class seating. On some XPT trains, first-class sleeping compartments can also be found. On day services these accommodate three people per compartment, and by night they carry two people with bunk-style accommodation.

*Queensland Rail (Queensland)Queensland Rail offer first-class travel on many of their Traveltrain services, along with business class on their Tilt Train Services. Queensland Rail Traveltrain first class carriages provided private cabins in either roomette (single room) or twinette (double room) cabins.

*V/Line (Victoria)First-class accommodation on V/Line is a 2x2 seating arrangement, with extra legroom and recline, only available on certain locomotive-hauled services. [cite web
title=V/Line ~ First Class

*Great Southern Railway (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia)A private operator of the tourist orientated "The Overland", "Indian Pacific", and "The Ghan" services. The first class travel on these trains are branded as Gold Kangaroo Class (on the "Indian Pacific" and "The Ghan") with roomette, twinette and deluxe cabins; or Red Premium Class (on "The Overland") with 2x1 seating, extra legroom, and more recline that the Red Service seating.


The various private and state-owned railways in Germany featured first-class, second-class and third-class amenities from the start. Beginning in Prussia in 1852, extremely austere fourth-class coaches were introduced. After nationalisation (1920) and consolidation (Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft, 1924), the fourth class was abandoned in 1928 in order to generate more revenue by forcing passengers to pay the higher prices for third-class tickets.

As those of most of the rest of Europe, Germany's railways moved to a two-class system in 1956. To this end, the "first" class was abandoned and the former second and third classes redesignated as the new first and second classes. Except for some regional and commuter train services (includeing some, but not all S-Bahn systems), which are second-class only, this distinction exists to this day.

The difference in amenities between the first and second class varies between train operators, services and lines. It generally translated to more legroom, tables and/or three-abreast instead of four-abreast seating for first-class passengers. On Deutsche Bahn's international ICE services, first-class passengers, unlike second-class passengers, receive a complimentary meal; on all ICE and InterCity services, passengers in first class are served the full selection of meals and refreshments at their seats, while second-class passengers can only obtain them in the dining car.

With some, primary local, services operated both by DB and other companies, there is no difference in seating between classes, except for maybe the presence of armrests in first class. The rationale for providing first-class spaces on these services is mainly that due to the higher price, there are usually seats left in first class when all second-class seats are taken.


The term "First Class" was abolished on Japanese National Railways in May 1969, and was replaced by "Green Cars". Green Cars are identifiable by the green four-leaf clover logo at the doorways.

In recent years, there has been a gradual trend to restore Green Cars to longer-distance commuter lines in the Tokyo area, complete with female "Green Attendants" who provide an at-seat refreshment service as well as checking tickets.


First Class travel is not available on short distance trains in Spain such as the Regionales or Cercanias services, but on long- and medium-distance trains such as the Altaria or Euromed services "Preferente" class, comparable to British first class is available. This includes complimentary food and drinks (typically a welcome-aboard drink, including champagne, and drinks with the meal) as well as larger seats.

A further service is available on the high speed AVE network. A club class or preferente ticket allows access to lounges at certain stations. And on-board club class service includes a large leather seat, power supply, a la carte food and unlimited complimentary bar service at your seat.

It is worth pointing out that on all Spanish "Grandes Líneas" (long haul) and Media Distancia (medium haul) trains, video and music is available and accessed through complimentary headphones.Additionally notable is the cost of first-class travel. Prices are basically not discounted other than for off-peak times of day and the price of a "preferente" ticket is normally only €30 - 40 more than economy, and club class on the AVE is normally only €40 more than "preferente" - significantly cheaper than most first class fares in Britain.


The existence and nature of different classes of passenger service on British trains has varied over time and continues to evolve. Currently, most longer-distance services offer first-class and standard-class service, while most local and suburban services are single class - as are urban transit services such as the London Underground. First-class tickets can be purchased from ticket offices at London Underground stations, for use on lines such as the West Coast Main Line which serves LU stations Fact|date=June 2008. First-class service offers access to dedicated first-class sections of the train, nearly always featuring fewer but larger, and - at least ostensibly - more comfortable seats, in a generally more spacious arrangement that provides more personal space, often a table and upgraded decor / carpeting, and in some cases additional amenities (such as power outlets for mobile phones or PCs).

In addition to the dedicated seating, the current first-class rail experience may include access to a lounge (at major departure and/or arrival stations) and additional on-board services, such as food and/or drinks service, complimentary newspapers, etc. Such on-board services vary widely; they can be distributed by train operating company, by route, by day of week (weekday or weekend), and by time of day. The most complete first-class experience is offered by long-distance train operators, such as First Great Western, NXEC, and Virgin Trains, especially on weekday morning and evening trains on high-volume routes, where it is targeted at business travellers.

First-class service is offered on overnight sleeper trains between London and Scotland (refer to Caledonian Sleeper).

Eurostar international trains between Great Britain and
continental Europe offer two distinct first-class services, which they call "Business Premier" and "Leisure Select" respectively, in addition to standard class. The comfort and on-board services are basically the same; the difference is a greater flexibility and a shorter check-in time for the Business Premier service. It also serves to keep the two types of traveller separate from each other.

United States

On Amtrak services, first class travel is available on the Acela Express service, as well as long distance services operated with Superliner or Viewliner stock. Passengers also have access to special waiting rooms at many cities and high traffic stations. First class on the Acela Express service has wider seats than the standard business class (44 vs. 65 seats per carriage), in-seat electrical outlets, a carriage attendant, and complimentary meals and beverages. [cite web
title=Amtrak - First Class Seating
] On the long distance services sleeping accommodation is provided, including Roomettes, Bedrooms, Bedroom Suites, and Accessible Bedrooms. Many rooms include a shower and toilet, for other rooms a toilet and/or shower is located nearby. Meal and other hotel-style services are also included in the price. [cite web
title=Amtrak - Traveling With Amtrak - Onboard - Sleeping Accommodations

Cruise Ships & Liners

Some benefits of first class on modern cruise ships include larger cabins, priority check-in, priority embarkation and disembarkation, priority meal-sitting selection, and, on premium lines, butler service. However, higher-accommodation passengers are served the same food and receive the service as other passengers in the dining room and throughout the cruise ship, with Cunard Line being the only modern exception.


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  • first-class — [fʉrst′klas′] adj. 1. of the highest class, rank, excellence, etc.; of the best quality 2. designating or of the most expensive accommodations [a first class cabin on a ship ] ☆ 3. designating or of a class of ordinary mail given privileged… …   English World dictionary

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