The Airbus A380s that are already flying belong to airlines that are trying to outdo each other with luxuries: private cabins, massage seats, even showers. In those configurations, the giant double-deckers seat roughly 500 to 600 passengers.
Now Airbus has announced its first order for A380s configured for a single class — think Southwest Airlines going all Incredible Hulk — from Air Austral, which flies between Paris and the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. (Thanks to Ben Mutzabaugh at USA Today’s blog Today in the Sky for wrapping it all up.) In that configuration, they will seat 840 people.
No word yet on the seat pitch, but I’m not thinking this is going to offer a lot of leg room.
Imagine loading and unloading 840 passengers. Imagine doing it through one entrance, because very few airports look willing to install double-deck jetways. Imagine the lines at check-in counters and baggage claim.
On the upside, Air Transport Intelligence reports that “Airbus claims that, with 840 seats, the A380 would burn less than 2 litres of fuel per passenger per 100km.”