More in News
- Jet Airways plans Amsterdam switch
- Qantas extends Select on Q-Eat services
- Four new European routes at Cambridge airport
- Little Red’s transfer traffic disappoints
- Jetstar gears up for B787 launch
- Gatwick Express ‘veers towards Third World conditions’
- London Syon Park no longer a Waldorf Astoria hotel
- Ryanair reveals annual profits of £482 million
- City guides
- British Airways A380: What you need to know
Airbus A380: how the airlines compare
Business Traveller brings you the definitive guide to current A380 operators Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa, Korean Air, China Southern, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways. (For our guide to Boeing Dreamliner operators click here.)
Thai Airways became the ninth carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A380 in September 2012, and has a total of six superjumbos on order, configured for 507 seats with 12 in Royal First Class, 60 in Royal Silk business class, and 435 in economy.
First and business class cabins feature fully-flat beds, and all passengers benefit from AVOD in-flight entertainment systems, individual power sources, and wifi internet and mobile phone access.
The carrier’s first A380 entered service on October 6 between Bangkok and Hong Kong, with Singapore also set to see the superjumbo during initial bedding-in services.
As Thai Airways receives more of its A380 fleet over the next twelve months, routes to Frankfurt, Tokyo, Paris, Osaka and Sydney will follow, and the carrier should have received all six of its superjumbos by around October 2013.
The carrier became the second airline to take delivery of the A380 in 2012, joining Malaysia Airlines. The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier took delivery of its first superjumbo at the end of May 2012, before putting it into service on the flagship London-Kuala Lumpur service on July 1. For a review of the carrier's inaugural A380 service from London Heathrow, click here.
The carrier had originally planned to offer a premium economy cabin on the superjumbo (see online news January 24, 2010), but eventually opted for a three-class configuration, with eight first class and 350 economy seats on the lower deck, and 66 fully-flat business and 70 economy seats on the upper deck.
Before MAS, China Southern became the first Chinese carrier to take delivery of its A380 aircraft in the autumn of 2011, with the superjumbo initially operating on domestic routes from Beijing to Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The airline has five A380s on order, with delivered aircraft configured in a three-class layout, featuring eight first class seats, 70 business class seats and 428 economy seats.
South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air took delivery of its first A380 on May 24, 2011 from the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, and put the aircraft into service on routes from Seoul to Tokyo and Hong Kong from mid June.
The carrier was the first airline to dedicate the entire upper deck of the aircraft to business class, with 94 Prestige sleeper seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. (For more information see online news January 18). However SIA has subsequently also launched a second A380 configuration with an all-business class upper deck on its new A380 deliveries (see online news May 23, 2011).
The upper deck of the Korean Air superjumbo features an onboard bar and lounge area for business and first class passengers, with smart blue and white seating, a flatscreen TV and bar area.
The lower deck features 12 first class and 301 economy seats, making a total of 407 on board the aircraft, the lowest number of seats for any A380 operator so far. SIA will offer 409 seats with its new A380 configuration.
Korean Air also offers an inflight Duty Free "showcase" at the back of the lower deck, occupying a space equivalent to 13 economy seats (see online news April 18).
It’s not the first time that an A380 operator has opted to use some of its precious onboard space for something other than seating – Emirates has showers in its first class cabins, while Qantas has a lounge area for its premium passengers located at the front of the upper deck, Air France has a digital gallery also at the front of the upper deck, and SIA famously offers double beds in first class.
Having two full passenger decks has given the six A380 operators plenty of scope in terms of aircraft configuration, and as you can see from this table each carrier has opted for distinct layouts.
The only constants are the presence of an economy cabin on the lower deck (albeit in some cases in conjunction with a smaller economy cabin on the upper deck), and all nine airlines (including Thai's forthcoming superjumbo) have opted to place business class on the upper deck.
However British Airways will buck this trend when it splits its Club World cabin betwen the upper and lower decks (see below for more information).
The carriers disagree on the best place for their first class cabins, with Emirates, Lufthansa and Thai Airways opting for the upper deck, and Qantas, SIA, Air France, Korean Air, China Southern, Malaysia Airlines and the forthcoming British Airways all choosing to locate their most premium seats on the lower deck.
It should also be noted that both Emirates, Qantas and SIA have more than one configuration for their A380 aircraft. In the case of Emirates the carrier has a 489-seat layout which includes a crew rest area at the back of the economy cabin, necessary for its longest flights served by the superjumbo, whereas routes to the UK, for instance, use A380s without this crew area, meaning there are an additional 28 economy seats in the cabin.
In terms of economy Korean Air has the fewest seats at 301, followed by SIA's new A380 configuration at 311, then Qantas at 332, which along with Air France is one of only two A380 carriers to offer a premium economy cabin.
Emirates' A380s configured without the crew rest area have the largest economy offering at 427 seats, followed by the Lufthansa aircraft at 420 (all on the lower deck), while Air France has the most seats overall at 538, some 131 seats more than the Korean Air 407-seat layout. But all of the current capacities will pale into insignificance compared to the 840-seat layout planned by Air Austral (see online news January 19, 2009).
Forthcoming A380 operators
British Airways recently announced the layout for its forthcoming A380 aircraft, of which is has a total of 12 on order.
The carrier's superjumbo will feature 14 seats in First on the main deck, followed by 44 Club World seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, then 199 World Traveller seats in a 3-4-3 layout.
The upper deck will have further 53 Club World seats in a new 2-3-2 layout, followed by 55 World Traveller Plus seats also configured 2-3-2, and then 104 World Traveller seats in a 2-4-2 layout.
BA's first A380 is scheduled to be delivered in July 2013, with further deliveries in August and October next year. The carrier will roster the superjumbo onto its Los Angeles route from October 15, followed by Hong Kong from November 15.
Other airlines which have ordered the Airbus A380 include Virgin Atlantic, Asiana, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Skymark Airlines. Business Traveller will update this page as more details become available, so please add it to your bookmarks to stay up to date.
Here are just a few links for each A380 carrier which you may find useful - for a full list of all A380 articles published by Business Traveller, including new routes and product information, click here.
For a table showing the seating layouts on the lower and upper decks and across all classes for each A380 operator, click here.
- The big picture: Thai Airways takes delivery of first A380
- The seatplan
- Thai Airways A380 interior video
- Thai Airways reveals A380 seat specifications
- Thai unveils plans for A380 routes
- Video: Thai Airways A380 paint job
- MAS plans A380 services to London and Amsterdam
- MAS to ban babies in A380 first class
- MAS receives first A380 superjumbo
- MAS launches A380 on London route
- Tried and Tested: MAS A380 business class
- The launch
- The first class cabin
- The seatplan
- Video of Lufthansa A380 premiere at Frankfurt
- Seatplans Lufthansa A380 user-generated flight reviews
- The lowdown
- The seatplan
- Business class Tried and Tested review
- First class Tried and Tested review
- Seatplans Emirates A380 user-generated flight reviews
- Emirates A380 struck by lightning
- The first class suites
- The seatplan
- Business class Tried and Tested review
- Seatplans SIA A380 user-generated flight reviews
- SIA confirms additional A380 order
By Mark Caswell