Very roughly, a 3rd Class ticket cost about $35. 2nd Class about twice that, and the cheapest 1st Class about twice as much again. But there were really no standard fares - there were many factors that affected the price charged, including the size of the cabin and number of people sharing, whether it was an 'outside' or 'inside' cabin (ie with or without window/porthole), and in 1st Class the quality of furnishings, provision of extra facilities like private bath etc. The finest suites in 1st Class cost a great deal more than the basic accommodation at that level. And of course children travelled at reduced rates, as did servants with 1st class tickets.
Bob,just out of curiousity, these ticket prices you mentioned, what would that equal in todays money? I imagine also that the Titanic being such a luxury ship charged higher fares then the going rate at that time. Am I correct in this assumption?
Titanic was no more luxurious than other large liners of the period. From what I have seen of the ticket prices on the German liners, they were broadly similar except that they offered in addition to 3rd Class a more traditional 'steerage' option with dormitory accommodation for a lower price.
I haven't checked the inflation or exchange rates lately, but a quick (and very rough!) way of getting from 1912 UK pounds to modern US dollars is to add two noughts - thus an £7 Third Class ticket equates to somewhere in the region of $700 US today. To get a better idea of what those ticket prices meant to the people who paid the money in 1912, try a conversion based on purchasing/earning power. For instance, the price of a 3rd Class ticket cost the equivalent of at least a month's wages for most of the people who bought them, so consider what a month's wages would be for the average person today.
what about first class? How much did they make. I mean not the royals or the celebrities, but just a wealthy person? How does their salary from 1912 compare to today? Would one have to basically be a millionaire by todays standards to be in first class with their own bathroom? Just a thought..Thank you!!!
Well, Layla, The gentry didn't need to earn money, they were 'independently wealthy' from inheritance and property. The profession of a man born into such a family would most commonly be stated as 'Gentleman'. But whatever the source of their income, less than 3% of the UK population had more than £160 per year. A skilled man, like the seamen on Titanic, earned about £60 a year. An unskilled labourer earned about £40 which, even by Edwardian standards, was well below the poverty line if, like most, he had a large family to support.
By contrast, The typical annual income of a well-to-do upper middle-class family with servants (the kind of people who travelled 1st class) would be around £2000. For them, the price of a basic 1st class ticket on Titanic would be equivalent to less than one week's income, but their lowest-paid servants, the most junior maids and pages, would need to work for 3 years to earn that much money.
Hope that gives you a basic idea of the range of incomes in Edwardian Britain.
Thanks for the info Bob.I was always under the impression that the Titanic was one of the most luxurious ships built, I did'nt know the German Liners were equal in that regard.And as for me paying a months salary to sail across the ocean, I'll pass, landlubber that I am
>>I did'nt know the German Liners were equal in that regard<<
Some would argue that the German and the French ships surpassed the English vessels in terms of luxurious appointments and I don't think they would be that far off the mark eiher. They didn't mind using a lot of heavy items such as oak and mahogany as well as wrought iron, grant and marble in the decor, but in terms of topweight, this was not without a price in terms of lousy seakeeping. The Olympics may not have been the most luxurious, but I'd bet they had a much more comfortable ride.
The wonders of Titanic are much exaggerated. Her fame rested on a small part of the first class accommodation, consisting of 39 luxury suites, plus the two bigger suites with private promenades. The rest of first class was quite ordinary and well short of any half-decent modern motel. A lot of jails today have better accommodation than third class.
The German ships accommodation was much like Titanic but the decorations were often over the top. Think gilt cherubs blowing trumpets from on high and big paintings of German royalty or legendary events. As Michael mentions, they were not always good sea boats. They acquired nicknames like "Rolling Billy" and the "Cocktail Shaker".
The North Atlantic being the rotten ocean it is, passengers on all these famous ships spent a good deal of time being seasick. Ah, the romance of the sea! Why can't I wait to go to sea again?
Agreed - we're in myth territory when it comes to conceptions of Titanic as providing a new order of luxury. The public rooms and features like the swimming bath were quite homely compared to the extravagance of scale and decor favoured by the Germans. The Olympics had rather the simple elegance of what the English liked to think of as 'good taste'. Rooms like the 1st class smoking lounge in the Imperator, done up like a Bavarian hunting lodge complete with half-timbering, ornamental brickwork and mounted stag horns and weaponry, might have been considered rather vulgar.
I'd like to add that in one respect the Olympics did offer a higher standard of 'luxury' (if that's the word!) and that was in the 3rd Class accommodation and menus, which were rather better than in the German superliners of the period. I've certainly experienced worse! I've never been in a jail cell, so I'll defer to your experience there, Dave. :-}
"Cocktail Shaker?" Would that have been one of the ships built to try and win the Blue Ribband? I recall that a number of these ships had some severe vibration problems because of the cavitation which went with the deal.
My understanding is that tickets were purchased from White Star Company Offices or from White Star Agents such as Thomas Cook.
I also understand that certain blocks of tickets can be sourced back to particular agents. In the case of 1st Class passengers because of the Cave List we can determine that some tickets were purchased only in the last few days. Ticket numbers within particular blocks would determine the order of sale within each block, but not the exact date unless there is an additioanl piece of information.