Although it is reputed to be uncomfortable, with limited legroom and amenities, it is favoured by many travellers as it offers the cheapest seats.
An economy class seat in a train usually consists of a seat, sometimes with a fold-down tray for use as a work surface or for food service. The chair sometimes will recline, particularly on overnight trains, where it will permit more leg room for sleeping in a semi-upright position. The seat may also include a pocket attached to the back of the seat in front for storage of small items such as magazines. Depending on the configuration of the passenger compartment, luggage might be stowed in overhead racks or at each end of the coach.
Economy seats in North American intercity passenger trains are found almost exclusively in Coach cars, with other class fares on the train separated by the type of car (ie. sleepers, etc.). Economy seating on North American passenger trains typically does not include meal service in the fare.
On British intercity trains it is common to find some standard class seating arranged around permanent tables - offering plenty of space to work. Power sockets for laptops are common and some trains offer (chargeable) Wi-Fi Internet access in standard.
Some airlines have renamed their economy class for marketing purposes. Such names include British Airways' World Traveller, Air Canada's Hospitality/Hospitalité, Philippine Airlines' Fiesta Class (although Economy Class is widely used), LAN Tourist Class, and Air France's Tempo. The seat pitch of domestic economy class seats range from , usually , and for international economy class seats. The seat size of domestic economy class seats range from , usually , and for international economy class seats.
In addition to a fold-down tray table, an economy class seat usually also includes a pocket of items attached to the seat in the next forward row, containing such things as:
In-flight entertainment may be available. Some video screens, especially on older planes, are mounted on the ceiling of the aircraft or on a bulkhead so that all passengers in the cabin watch the same film. If there is an individual screen for each seat or partial row of seats, it may be smaller than first and business class screens, or there may be fewer video channels available. Headphones must be purchased on some carriers. This is often called an "entertainment fee". Airlines usually attribute this to being hygienic by not reusing and recleaning headphones. On some carriers, the headphones come in a pack with other amenities such as earplugs, eye mask etc.
Low-cost carriers often offer only economy class. These airlines are often associated with short-pitch seats, no free food or drink, and little or no reading material, but also lower fares. Such airlines include easyJet, Ryanair, and bmiBaby. Most charter airlines also offer only economy class but some are introducing 'Economy Plus' Virgin Blue and Air Transat is now offering Club class. This class is also referred to as 'cattle class' by some people, in a somewhat insulting manner.
Meals are usually provided on longer flights, although, due to drastic cost-cutting, even some mainline airlines have ceased to serve meals except on very long and international flights. Short flights usually include a soft drink and a snack such as pretzels or peanuts. Many airlines, particularly low-cost carriers charge for snacks on short flights and even on flights of a duration of more than 6 hours or more enroute. Many such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair no longer provide complimentary soft drinks on flights that are under an hour long.
The quality of the food varies depending on a number of factors. Airlines have now introduced a variety of special meals, such as vegetarian or kosher meals, as well as dishes suited for particular nationalities. All of these requests should be ordered well before departure. Generally, domestic airlines in the United States are known for poor quality food, bordering on that of diet food. Therefore, economy class food is a frequent butt of comedians' jokes.
Because of the reputed low quality and frequent unavailability of airline food on domestic U.S. flights, some airport vendors have started to offer meals packaged so that they can be carried on to the flight.
Increasingly, airlines offer a Premium Economy class to passengers willing to pay more for slightly better seats and, in some cases, better service. These include British Airways (World Traveller Plus), Virgin Atlantic (Premium Economy), EVA Air (Evergreen Deluxe Class), Pakistan International Airlines (Economy Plus+), Qantas (Premium Economy) and United Airlines (Economy Plus) among others.
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