Category of air travel that offers a better level of service than economy class in terms of seating arrangements, catering, luggage allowances and other amenities, for a higher fare.
In the late 1970's as business started to become more international, increasingly less senior business passengers began traveling abroad on duty. The three-class cabin system was first introduced by Qantas in 1979 in order to pick up corporate accounts, whose financial controllers would have balked at the idea of paying first class travel for every jet-setting employee. Business class was designed to provide a quieter environment suitable for corporate fliers who would be expected to start work upon reaching their destination immediately, especially if they have just traveled 20,000 kilometres and twelve time zones from Sydney to London.
Airlines started reverting back to a two-class system towards the late 1990s when many of the amenities in first class began appearing in business class (e.g.: seats with a 180 degree pitch, personal video screens), and many business class luxuries were distributed to the economy class proletariat (e.g.: complimentary alcohol, meal choices, aftershave, eye-shades). Keeping business class did not make much sense, especially for short haul flights, and after September 11, 2001 many struggling airlines ditched either their first or business class service.