In 1978, several airlines began rewarding their full-fare coach passengers with perks, primarily convenient seats at the front of the economy-class cabin. At the time, with shinier new planes entering the market, it had made sense that the customers paying more for their fares should have their own dedicated space, and, consequentially, the business-class cabin was conceived. Airlines like British Airways, Pan Am, Air France, and Qantas were the first to introduce the three-class cabin and, today, business class is the most sought-after section for obvious reasons: the perks. Comfort and service make a world of difference, especially when traveling on long-haul flights. Formerly cradled seats have evolved into the fully flat bed, take-away amenity kits now offer luxurious spa products, celebrity chefs are designing the in-flight dining menu, and business-class cabins tout seat-back entertainment (rather than a shared monitor) on generously-sized, personal screens.
According to the New York Times, carriers vie for the attention of these passengers who have money or corporate accounts that pay for their travel. While travelers in business class represent approximately ten percent of long-haul seats globally, they account for the most revenue for airlines. Thus, every airline is bending over backwards to produce the perfect cabin. Ultimately, booked passengers are rewarded with spacious seats, plenty of overhead compartments, contemporary design, back-bending service…anything that will contribute to a memorable in-flight experience.