A380 Interior Setup

Why choose the three-class configuration over the higher-capacity, single-class setup? The official Airbus Web site has this to say:
    The A380's twin-aisle, twin-deck passenger cabin offers the long-distance traveller a whole new level of comfort. A cabin designed around a large sample of today's real passengers providing more space regardless of class of ticket, wider seats and aisles. Optional lower deck use for rest areas, business, bar or other amenities can further enhance the A380 travel experience.

The A380's twin-aisle, twin-deck passenger cabin offers the long-distance traveller a whole new level of comfort.

The reality is, economy class seats will be about 1 inch (2.54 cm) wider, while first-class seats may fold down into beds. Some have even suggested that the A380 could be outfitted as a "luxury jet," complete with a casino, shops, hot tubs and double beds.

A380 cabin mock-up, upper-deck business class
Photo courtesy Airbus SAS
A380 cabin mock-up, upper-deck business class

A380 cabin mock-up, upper-deck social area
Photo courtesy Airbus SAS
A380 cabin mock-up, upper-deck social area

A380 cabin mock-up, main-deck economy class
Photo courtesy Airbus SAS
A380 cabin mock-up, main-deck economy class

Most airlines are looking for efficiency rather than luxury, and the A380 provides that, as well. It has a range of 8,000 nautical miles and utilizes a host of new technologies and better engines to increase fuel efficiency.

In the next section, we'll discuss these advances in efficiency.

The Biggest Planes Ever
The An-225 Cossack is the largest plane to ever fly (see Russian Aircraft Museum: An-225 "Mria" Cossack). This six-engine monster was designed to carry the Soviet space shuttle, and first took to the air in 1988. Only one prototype was built, and the plane never went into production. After years of collecting dust, the Cossack -- with a wingspan of 290 feet (88 meters) and a length of 275.6 feet (84 meters) -- is in use as a cargo plane.

The Hughes HK-1 Flying Boat (known as the Spruce Goose for its all-wood construction -- see Evergreen Aviation Museum: Hughes Flying Boat) was built in 1947. With a wingspan of 320 feet (98 meters) and a length of 218.5 feet (66.6 meters), it was the largest plane in the world for many years. Only one was ever built, and it only flew once. "Spruce Goose" has become synonymous with ambitious, incredibly expensive projects that are ultimately doomed to failure.

The A380 comes in third overall when you compare planes by an average of their length and wingspan, but several other planes are in contention. These include the KM Caspian Sea Monster, a plane that uses ground effects to float just above the water (known as an Ekranoplan); the An-124 Condor; the U.S. military's C-5 Galaxy transport; and the Boeing 777-300ER.