Skip to content

What is First Class in Air Travel?

If you have traveled in First Class to your favorite domestic or international destination, you will know how well you’re served throughout your journey. But, if you haven’t had this experience before, here you will learn quite a lot of important things about traveling in First Class than in Business or Economy Class of cabins.

In this blog, we will give you an insight on what is first class in flights and how it is to travel in this type of cabin on your journey.

What is First Class in Flights?

In air travel, a First Class generally signifies the highest class of cabin that commercial airline carriers can offer in their flights to passengers. This includes passenger aircraft that serve both domestic and international destinations.

As you start the boarding procedure, the foremost cabin you will see is the First Class cabin, followed by Business Class and Premium Economy and Economy coaches right after them. Also, it is the First Class passengers that usually get preference over travelers in other cabins. You can also check the best online travel websites for booking cheap flight ticktes.

Commonly, while most airlines offer up to three classes of cabins in their aircraft, there are also a few airlines that may offer up to four classes of cabins. Thus, these class of cabins includes:

  • First Class
  • Business Class
  • Premium Economy (offered by some airlines)
  • Economy

When you book your flight ticket online, at the airport ticketing counter, or through an online travel agency, you will be offered the type of cabin. The fares for each class of cabin also vary by the level of comfort, seating, and inclusive of complimentary and premium services that are available to passengers on the plane. There’s a detailed explanation about the difference between First class and business class.

So, it can be said that the services and facilities offered to travelers flying in First Class supersedes the quality of traveling in Business and Economy class of cabins on any given airline.

What are Fare Classes?

A fare class that you find printed on your flight ticket actually represents the flight’s cabin class and is denoted with certain standard letters. For example, the letter ‘F’ on the ticket signifies First Class, letters ‘C’ and ‘J’ signify Business Class, and the letter ‘Y’ signifies Economy Class.

A fare class is sometimes, also referred to as “booking class” or “fare bucket” and is determined by these pre-assigned letters, regardless of the airline.

The reason you will find these letters printed on your ticket is that each seat on an aircraft is divided into fare classes. These letters on your ticket are also important as their price, opportunity to earn miles, and regulations may vary, which you cannot ignore.

Sometimes, the flexibility to make changes to your flight’s reservation can also vary, depending on the fare class.

Below is a list of a few popular airline carriers and their flights containing fare classes that may vary from one another.

Air Canada

  • Business Class (flexible) and Premium Rouge = J
  • Business Class (lowest) and Premium Rouge = C, D, Z, P
  • Latitude = Y, B
  • Flex = M, U, H, Q, V
  • Tango = W, G, S, T, L, F, A, K

These travel class and their fare classes are for flights that service between Canada and Sun Destinations (Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America).

Alaska Airlines

  • First Class = F, P
  • Economy = Y, S
  • Discounted Economy = M, B
  • Additional economy seats with the most restriction = H, Q, L, V, N, K, G, T, R, W
  • Complimentary upgrades = U
  • Refundable Main Cabin awards = Z

American Airlines

  • Full Fare First Class/Business Class = F, J
  • Discount First/Business = A, P, D, I, R
  • Economy = Y, W
  • Economy = H, K, M, L, W, V, G, Q, N, S
  • Basic Economy = B

Delta Airlines

  • First Class = F
  • Discounted First/Delta Premium Select = P, A, G
  • Business = J
  • Business and Discounted Business = C, D, I, Z
  • Premium Economy (Available on flights operated by Air France, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia) = W
  • Delta Comfort = W
  • Economy = Y, B
  • Economy, Discounted and Deeply Discounted Economy = M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X, V, E
  • Award Travel = R, O, S, N

Hawaiian Airlines

  • First Class (Inter-Island and Transpacific flights) = F, P, C, A
  • Business Class (international flights) = J, P, C, A
  • Economy (Inter-Island flights) = Y, W, X, Q, V, B, S, N, M, I, H, G, K, L
  • Economy (Transpacific and International flights) = Y, W, X, Q, V, B, S, N, M
  • Additional Economy seats with the most restrictions. (Transpacific and International flights) = I, H, G, K, L

United Airlines

  • First Class = F, J
  • Business First = A, D
  • Business = C
  • Business Class = Z, P
  • Economy = Y, B
  • Discounted Economy = M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G
  • Reward travel = N

Virgin America

  • First Class (which includes no change or cancellation fees, 2 free checked bags, meal service, 55-inch seat pitch, 165-degree reclining massaging chair, and priority boarding) = J, C, D
  • Main Cabin Select (with no change or cancellation fees) = W
  • No change or cancellation fees, 1 free checked bag, free food, drink and movies, 38-inch seat pitch, and priority boarding = Z, Q
  • Main Cabin (with no change or cancellation fees and 1 free checked bag) = Y
  • Main Cabin (with no change or cancellation fees and 1 free checked bag, 32-inch seat pitch, and seat-back entertainment) = V, B, H, E, U, M, I, L, S, N

As for other popular airline carriers, they usually recognise travel class and fare classes using other names.

How Comfortable it is to Fly in First Class Cabin?

There is no doubt that travelling in First Class gives you a luxurious experience in comparison to Business and Economy cabins. Also, the services that are offered to passengers in-flight differs significantly.

Due to the fact that First Class cabin offers such luxury to travelers, it is also the most expensive travel class you will find on any airline carrier. For instance, flight tickets to travel in First Class usually cost more money than Business and Economy cabins. However, one of the benefits of traveling in this class is that you get complimentary services on the plane as most of the costs are already covered in the price of the ticket.

In-flight Services

If we talk about in-flight services between First Class and other class of cabins, well, these also vary.

Internet and Entertainment

Wi-Fi and entertainment facilities are offered to passengers traveling in First Class at no additional cost.


The meals that are served to passengers in First Class vary with the meals that are offered in Business and an Economy class of cabins.


Major and low-cost airline carriers will offer beds along with pillows and blankets to First Class passengers for additional comfort, especially if traveling is flying on long-haul flights to their final destinations.

At Airport

Aside from services and facilities that are offered to First Class passengers, there may be other amenities that are available to them at airports served by those flights.

Access to Lounge

First Class passengers are given free access to airport lounges, where you can relax and have snacks and beverages, or read books and magazines while waiting to board your flight.

Conclusion – What is First Class in Air Travel?

Flying First Class in flights is a luxurious experience, but it can also add bucks to your expense in order to get that comfort. There are a lot of travelers that always prefer flying First Class, regardless of the airfare and premium services offered at airports and also in-flight.

Call Now