There are 3 air bridge accesses which can be used for loading passengers, two in the lower deck for economy class passengers; yes the entire lower deck is for the use of economy class and one for the upper deck which services the business and first class passengers.
This I’m sure will make for the very efficient planning and de-planning of passengers- up to 500 per flight- on any given trip, assuming the airport services can handle the volume. There is plenty of choice of where to sit and the online booking system is an added advantage enabling passengers to choose where to sit even before boarding the aircraft. The lower deck comprises rows 43 to 88 in a 3-4-3 configuration marked ABC DEFG HJK, A and K being window seats and C, D, G and H being aisle seats. All the seats have a telephone and on demand video channels.
The aisle in the Airbus A380
On-Demand video and telephone behind seats
There are 5 sets of toilets ahead of rows 43, 3 in the nose of the aircraft below the cockpit on the upper deck and in front of the port and starboard doors and 2 just aft of the forward entry doors. The stairwell to the upper deck splits the aisle between rows 43 and 44, but access to the upper deck is restricted and closed to lower deck passengers. The second set of entry doors is aft of row 50 but is dissected by the 4 seater in what would have been row 51.
The main galley, which occupies a position along both the port and starboard bulkheads as well as the centre of the main deck, is just forwards of row 52but bisects 52 and 53 which do not have a 4 seater configuration. I can just imagine that this would make it difficult for the crew to work around each other and the passengers moving from one side of the aircraft to the other. Rows 54-68 are over the gigantic wings and a set of emergency exits are positioned aft of row 66 just behind the 3 toilet configuration, on both the post and starboard side.
Rows 69 to 88 occupy the balance of the space in the body and a secondary galley is situated below row 79 at the position of the aft entry doors. Behind row 88 are the rear entry doors a galley and a 2 toilet configuration plus the second set of stairs leading to the upper deck. In an aircraft of this size I’m sure anyone occupying these southerly situated seats will feel as isolated as the Eskimos of the South Pole. The upper deck or fist and business class area comprises rows 1 to 25 configured with reclining sleeper seats which become beds from rows 6 onwards. A set of toilets is positioned forward against the cockpit bulkhead with a galley just behind the stairs leading up from the lower deck.
A380 seating plan
The third air bridge entry doors that I mentioned earlier allow access to the upper deck just behind row 4. Rows 8 to 17 are situated above the wings however I’m certain that the height of the deck above the wings does not inhibit or even obstruct the panoramic view from the upper deck windows. The lounge area, which has larger windows, can accommodate 22 of the 76 business class travellers at a time. Those not seated here can recline in their lie flat seats, each with its personal mini-bar, wood finish and fold away table, which I am informed, with little or no diminution of the level of comfort.
There is also a spa/shower which has a heated floor but the shower has, for obvious reasons, a 5 minute timer for water flow which will also automatically stop if the shower door is opened. A range of pampering products is also available which allows the first class traveller to arrive at their destination refreshed and well rested.
On my travels to Europe later on in the year I’ll be able to present you with a personal account of my A380 experience which I’m sure will be unique and memorable.
All I can help thinking now is whether these giants are vying to replace the luxury of the shipping liners of yesteryear?
Have a safe flying day.
This article was written by resident aviation editor Costa Vranas.
The huge Quantas A380