Lifestyle

Why Do Americans Call Economy Class “Coach” When Flying?

coach class on an american flight

If you’re a British traveler in the United States, you’ll already know there are differences in our language. If you’re looking to book a flight home and notice an airline talking about “coach class” instead of “economy”, fear not. 

This might seem like a minor difference, but it’s important to be aware of the terminology so you can make informed decisions about your travel.

Why Do Americans Call Economy Class “Coach”?

In the United States, economy class is commonly referred to as “coach class.” This term originated in the early days of air travel, when the cheapest, most basic type of fare was often referred to as “coach fare.” This was because the seats were often located in the coach car of a train, which was the cheapest and most basic seating option.

Over time, the term “coach” became synonymous with economy class in the United States, and it’s still the most common term used today. However, it’s important to note that economy class and coach class are essentially the same thing. They both refer to the most basic class of travel on an airplane, which typically offers the least amount of amenities and legroom.

What Do You Get in Coach Class?

Coach Class is the most common and affordable class of air travel. It typically offers the least amount of amenities and legroom, but can still be a comfortable and convenient way to get to your destination.

The average seat pitch in coach class in the United States is 30 to 33 inches. This is the distance between the back of one seat and the front of the seat in front.

In some cases, depending on the length of the flight you may be offered a free meal. But in most cases you’ll have to pay for any food or drink on the aircraft.

Most airlines offer some level of in-flight entertainment, usually a TV screen on the back of the seat in front. Coach will also usually cover a free carry-on-bag, however, this will vary by airline.

How Does Coach Compare to Other Classes?

While coach class is the most basic class of travel, there are other classes of service offered by airlines. These classes typically offer more amenities and comfort, but they also come with a higher price tag.

Here is a table that compares UK and US flight class terminology and how coach class compares to other classes:

Flight ClassUK TerminologyUS TerminologyDescription
First ClassFirstFirstThe most exclusive and luxurious class of travel, offering spacious seats, private cabins, gourmet meals, and personalised service.
Business ClassBusinessBusinessA more affordable alternative to first class, offering wider seats, upgraded amenities, and priority boarding.
Premium EconomyPremium EconomyPremium EconomyA step up from economy class, offering more legroom, wider seats, and enhanced amenities.
Economy ClassEconomyCoachThe most basic class of travel, offering standard seats at the lowest fares.

How to Make Flying Coach More Comfortable

Here are some tips for making your coach class flight more comfortable:

  • Choose a window seat: This will give you more legroom and a place to rest your head.
  • Bring your own pillow and blanket: This will help you sleep more comfortably.
  • Wear comfortable clothing: You’ll be spending a lot of time sitting, so wear something that is comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movement.
  • Get up and move around every 30 minutes: This will help to prevent blood clots and stiffness.
  • Download movies or TV shows to your device: This will give you something to do if you get bored.
  • Bring earplugs and an eye mask: This will help you to block out noise and light and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Consider purchasing an upgrade to economy plus or business class: This will give you more legroom, wider seats, and upgraded amenities.

Coach class is a great way to get to your destination, but it can be a bit uncomfortable on longer flights. By following these tips, you can make your coach class flight more comfortable and enjoyable.

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

While the terminology for different classes of travel may differ between the United States and the United Kingdom, the underlying concepts are the same. When traveling from the UK to the US, it’s important to be aware of the American terminology so you can make informed decisions about your travel.

Remember, coach class is the most basic class of travel, but it can still be a comfortable and affordable way to get to your destination. Just be sure to factor in the length of your flight and your personal preferences when choosing your fare.

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