RMS Titanic: Death by Class

As it is anywhere else in the world, the Titanic was divided up into social classes. And to such an extent that the first-class passengers and the third-class passengers were not allowed to mix at all. The First class was extremely luxurious; there was the grand staircase, Turkish baths, indoor pools, exercise rooms, smoking rooms, card rooms, etc. Only the richest people could afford first-class tickets. The second class was made up of mostly tourists, academics, and middle-class families vacationing in America; and the third class was mainly poor families seeking a better life in America. The spaces dedicated to each class clearly reflected the distinction between them.

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner operated by the White Star Line that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912, after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,179 passengers and crew aboard, around 1,477 died, making the sinking one of modern history’s deadliest peacetime commercial marine disasters. The distinction between classes of the passengers aboard the ship also reflected in their deaths.

The crew took the heaviest blow in giving preference to the passengers.

One of the ship’s legacies was that she had 20 lifeboats that in total could only accommodate 1,178 people, despite the fact that there were approximately 2,179 on board. 18 lifeboats were used, loading between 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 a.m., though Collapsible Boat A floated off the ship’s partially submerged deck, and Collapsible Boat B floated away upside down minutes before the ship upended and sank. Those left alive in Boat B were transferred into other lifeboats before being rescued by Carpathia. The below chart shows the survivors on each of the lifeboats.

The pattern shows that the first-class passengers occupied the first few lifeboats followed by the second-class and then the third-class. Although each class of passengers were allocated lifeboats and they could access them on their own decks, the third-class sections didn’t have any lifeboats. The third-class passengers had to traverse a lot more as compared to first and second class passengers in order to reach the lifeboat.

The data was sourced from Wikipedia, Encyclopedia-Titanic, and BBC.