41 CFR § 301-10.121 - What classes of airline accommodations are available?
Airlines are constantly updating their offerings. However, for the purposes of this regulation, the classes of available air accommodations are identified and defined as follows:
(a)Coach-class. The basic class of accommodation by airlines that is normally the lowest fare offered regardless of airline terminology used. For reference purposes only, coach-class may also be referred to by airlines as “tourist class,” “economy class,” or as “single class” when the airline offers only one class of accommodations to all travelers.
(b)Other than coach-class. Any class of accommodations above coach-class, e.g., first-class or business-class.
(1)First-class. The highest class of accommodation offered by the airlines in terms of cost and amenities. This is generally termed “first-class” by airlines and reservation systems.
(2)Business-class. A class of accommodation offered by airlines that is higher than coach and lower than first-class, in both cost and amenities. This class of accommodation is generally referred to as “business, business elite, business first, world business, connoisseur, or envoy” depending on the airline.
If an airline flight has only two classes of accommodations available, i.e., two “cabins”, with two distinctly different seating types (such as girth and pitch) and the front cabin is termed “business-class” or higher by the airline and the tickets are fare-coded as business-class, then the front of the cabin is deemed to be other than coach-class. Alternatively, if an airline flight has only two cabins available but equips both with one type of seating, (i.e., seating girth and pitch are the same in both cabins), and the seats in the front of the airplane are fare coded as full-fare economy class, and only restricted economy fares are available in the back of the aircraft, then the entire aircraft is to be classified as coach-class seating. In this second situation, qualifying for other than coach-class travel is not required to purchase a non-restricted economy fare seat in the front of the aircraft as the entire aircraft is considered “coach-class.”