Aircraft cabin

Cabin of a Boeing 737 (Economy class) with typical seating arrangement
The British Airways World Traveller Cabin
Aircraft cabin control system on board an Airbus A319
"Executive Class" cabin of Boeing 777-300ER operated by Biman.

An aircraft cabin is the section of an aircraft in which passengers travel. At cruising altitudes of modern commercial aircraft the surrounding atmosphere is too thin for passengers and crew to breathe without an oxygen mask, so cabins are pressurized at a higher pressure than ambient pressure at altitude.[1]

In commercial air travel, particularly in airliners, cabins may be divided into several parts. These can include travel class sections in medium and large aircraft, areas for flight attendants, the galley and storage for in-flight service. Seats are mostly arranged in rows and alleys. The higher the travel class, the more space is provided. Cabins of the different travel classes are often divided by curtains, sometimes called class dividers, but not on all airlines. Passengers are not usually allowed to visit higher travel class cabins in commercial flights.[2]

Some aircraft cabins contain passenger entertainment systems. Short and medium haul cabins tend to have no or shared screens whereas long and ultra-long haul flights often contain personal screens which allow passengers to choose what to watch on their personal screen.

Cabin pressurization

Main article: Cabin pressurization

Cabin pressurization is the active pumping of compressed air into the cabin of an aircraft in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the occupants. It becomes necessary when the aircraft reaches a certain altitude, because the natural atmospheric pressure would be too low to supply sufficient oxygen to the passengers. Without pressurization, one could suffer from altitude sickness including hypoxia.

If a pressurized aircraft suffers a pressurization failure above 10,000 feet (~3,000 meters), then it could be deemed as an emergency. Should this situation occur, the aircraft should begin an emergency descent and oxygen masks should be activated for all occupants.[3] In the majority of passenger aircraft, the passengers' oxygen masks are activated automatically if the cabin pressure falls below the atmospheric pressure equivalent of 14,000 feet (~4,500 meters).[4]

Travel class

Main article: Travel class

First class

Emirates 777-200LR First Class Suite

The first class section of an airplane is the class with the best service, and is typically the highest priced. The services offered are superior to those in business class, and are available on only a small number of long flights. It is characterized by having a larger amount of space between seats (including those that can be converted into beds), a personal TV set, high quality food and drink, personalized service, privacy, and providing travelers with complimentary items (ex. pajamas, shoes and toiletries). Passengers in this class have a separate check-in, access to the airline's first-class lounge, preferred boarding or private transportation between the terminal and the plane. Due to its high cost, there are few airlines that offer this service.[5]

Business class

Etihad Airways' Business Class Cabin

Business class is more expensive, but also offers more amenities to travelers than the classes below it. These may include better food, wider entertainment options, more comfortable seats with more room to recline and more legroom, among others.[6]

Premium Economy class

Premium Economy seats on Air New Zealand

Premium Economy class is a travel class offered by some airlines in order to provide a better flying experience to the economy traveler, but for much less money than business class.[7] It is often limited to a few extras such as more legroom, as well as complimentary food and drinks.[8] Onboard Air Canada, Premium Economy comes with wider seats (3 inches on the Boeing 777-300) (2 inches on the Boeing 787), more recline (3 inches more than economy), a fold-down foot rest, an amenity kit, premium food and drinks on long-haul international flights, and much more legroom.

Economy class

Economy class is the airline travel class with the lowest ticket price, due to the fact that the level of comfort is lower than that of the other classes. This class is primarily characterized by the short distance between each seat, and a smaller variety of food and entertainment.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aircraft cabins.


  1. "AIRBUS CABINS DIMENSIONED FOR THE FUTURE | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  2. "What will passengers stand for?". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  3. Chris Brady. "737 Emergency Equipment". The Boeing 737 Technical Site.
  4. " – When oxygen masks mysteriously appear".
  5. "Viajar en primera clase".
  6. "¿Cuáles son las diferencias entre primera clase, clase ejecutiva y clase económica?". eHow en Español.
  7. "777-200 Premium Economy".
  8. "The long and short of 'premium economy'".
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