Did you know that you can fly on a double-decker plane from five cities in North America?
No, the iconic 747, with its distinctive hump and short business-class cabin towards the front isn’t the double-decker plane I’m referring to. I mean the world’s largest airplane, the Airbus A380, which can seat between 525 (typical 3-class configuration) and 850 passengers (all-coach configuration) on two levels that run the length of the aircraft. Ten airlines currently operate this behemoth worldwide, eight of which fly routes to the United States and Canada, and ten additional airlines have ordered the type.
Dubai-based Emirates owns the largest number of A380s—64 in all—and is awaiting another 76 on order from European manufacturer Airbus. The other operators of the type include Air France, Korea’s Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Germany’s Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Australia’s Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International, all of whom have decked out their premium cabins (read: not economy) with such wonders as shower stalls and bedroom suites with minibars and vanity lights.
Even if you’re typically fly economy class, the seat width and pitch (how far you can lean back) on this great whale are a couple of inches greater than that of a typical 747, especially on the Singapore Airlines A380, which offers coach passengers two full meals and a snack, with menus and real cutlery, on their transatlantic flights.
If you fancy a ride on the world’s largest passenger aircraft, don’t fret about cost. Coach fares for transatlantic flights from North America start at about $550 round-trip and transpacifics from $650, depending on the season, and there is no price differential among aircraft types. Just make sure you choose the route with 388 listed as the aircraft, and you’ll be in for an amazing ride.
The A380 currently plies 22 routes from eight North American gateways:
Air France: New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Paris
Asiana Airlines: New York and Los Angeles to Seoul
British Airways: Los Angeles and Washington to London
China Southern: Los Angeles to Guangzhou
Emirates: Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto to Dubai; New York to Milan
Korean Air: New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta to Seoul
Lufthansa: Houston, Miami, and San Francisco to Frankfurt
Qantas: Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne
Singapore Airlines: New York to Singapore via Frankfurt and Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo