08 April 2010

Encapsulating class inequality

So, here we have the interior layout of Air France's new A380 aeroplane - the "super-jumbo". What a perfect reflection - encapsulation, even - of class inequality: 449 seats in economy (or "Voyageur") class, 80 seats in business (or "Affaires") class and, wait for it, just 9 seats in first (or "La Première") class.

449 > 80 > 9

Of course, it's not just a numbers game either. Consider the relative distribution of space between the classes. Here too is how the space is configured (working backwards this time from first to business to economy):

Interestingly, the Air France website offers no front-on views of economy seating - all shot from behind the seats - a telling reminder that the best shoulder-to-shoulder passengers are offered is a numbing entertainment system. There's even more insight into the semiotic production of class distinction (words, colours, sounds, textures, tastes, etc.) offered in this little promotional video from the airline Ambiences onboard the A380 (notice how the images of first class predominate, deceptively establishing it as the service norm):

No comments: