What Are the Different Types of Airfares

Most commercial airlines that offer long-haul flights give passengers the option to choose between three travel classes—economy, premium economy and business. Some airlines also offer the finest way to fly in the form of first class.

There are several differences between these travel classes, and each airline offers their own unique variations on these classes. This means a business class flight on one airline may differ somewhat from the offerings of another airline.

However, your airfare doesn’t just depend on which travel class you choose. Other factors that come into play include differences in routes and whether you choose to pay extra for any addons, such as travel insurance or seat reservations.

Differences in Travel Class


Although it’s typically a no-frill experience, flying coach is the least expensive and a budget-friendly option for a diverse array of travelers, including solo travelers, couples and families with children. The seat width and legroom in economy are usually meager (legroom usually varies between 28 and 34 inches in length and between 17 and 33 inches in width), but most airlines still provide economy passengers some extras to make their time on board as comfortable as possible. These extras usually include meal and drink service, in-flight entertainment and priority boarding if you’re traveling with children.

Premium Economy

As the name implies, flying in premium economy comes with some extra perks. Passengers get to enjoy being in a separate and smaller cabin, a wider seat with more legroom, noise-cancelling headphones for IFE and better meal service, such as a larger selection of high-quality foods and complimentary beverages. Many airlines also offer their premium economy guests access to lounges while on the ground, double baggage allowance and priority boarding.


If you’ve had the pleasure of flying in business class, you probably never wish to go back to economy (or even premium economy). Business class offers passengers a superior level of comfort and service. If you’re on a long-haul flight in business class, you can expect a good night’s rest in a spacious seat which converts into a reclined or even flat bed. What’s more, the seats in business class have direct aisle access and many airlines offer a door for enhanced privacy.

Other perks of flying business include luxurious bedding, a well-stocked amenity kit, premium selection of IFE, gourmet food and drinks, access to private lounges, priority boarding and dedicated check-in desks so you can avoid the frustration of standing in a long line.

First Class

First class in undoubtedly the DNA height of in-flight luxury. When you indulge in the first-class experience, you can expect to lounge and sleep in your own private and spacious suite with a fully flat bed, indulge in dishes created by renowned fine dining chefs, be pampered by a highly trained crew that anticipates your every need and lose yourself in stellar IFE.

It’s not uncommon for first-class passengers to have access to first-class terminals, complimentary limousine rides to the airport and the option to board the plane from an exclusive first-class lounge.

Differences in Routes

Your airfare may also depend on the route you choose to get to your destination.

One-Way Versus Round Trip

Airline pricing can be complicated, but there are usually some predictable patterns. If your journey includes a return flight, consider booking a round-trip ticket rather than two one-way flights. Many airlines will price one-way tickets higher than a round-trip ticket, so you’re likely to save money if you book the latter option.

Non-Stop Flight Versus Multi-Stop Flight

Non-stop flights tend to be more expensive than direct and multi-stop flights. When you purchase a non-stop flight, the aircraft takes you from point A to point B without any stops, layovers or changing of planes.

Non-stop flights are often confused with direct flights, but they aren’t the same. A direct flight is still a single flight, but it may involve one or more stops on the way to your final destination and will likely be cheaper than a direct flight.

Multi-stop flights tend to be the cheapest way to fly as they combine at least two flights and a layover. Multi-stop flights are a popular option among international travelers, especially those travelling from remote destinations with a limited number of non-stop and direct flights.

Flight Add-Ons

Flight add-ons are additional services you can purchase with your airfare to make your flight more convenient. Add-ons are a popular option among economy travelers and typically include things like:

  • Travel insurance
  • Access to airport lounges
  • Airport fast track (to avoid long security lines)
  • Extra luggage
  • Seat selection
  • Premium meals
  • Premium inflight entertainment
  • Wi-Fi access
  • Priority boarding

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