Comparing A380 Cabins
Configuration: 471 seats: 60 business class, 399 economy and 12 first class suites.
The suites are all on the lower deck and are fitted in leather and mahogany, with sliding doors and roller blinds. They are being marketed as “a class beyond first” and therefore at a price beyond first. The seat is 35 inches wide and features a bed measuring 27 inches by 78 inches, with a comfortable mattress, bedding and sleep suits by Givenchy. Other features include a 23-inch LCD TV, a seat for a companion, personal coat closet and good storage. Ferragamo provides the amenity kits.
Expect to pay 10 to 15 per cent more than for the old product. Some discounted tickets are available but not as deeply discounted as those before.
New technology means that the seats themselves are smaller than their predecessors, allowing more space for the passenger – they are 18.6 inches wide. All seats have a footrest, power supply, storage for small items and a 10.6-inch TV. Nice touches are the seatback-mounted handset and reading light under the screen in the seat in front so it is not intrusive.
Configuration: 489 seats: 76 business class, 399 economy and 14 first class suites.
First class is upstairs at the front of the A380 and comprises 14 ‘suites’ arranged in four rows each of one on either side and three pairs of two in the middle.
The pairs of seats have a privacy divider that can be raised or lowered as you may wish, but the lie-flat beds can’t be combined into a single double bed.
The suites are half partitioned off from the aisles with dividers that go up to eye level or slightly above for the people in the suites to give a greater impression of privacy.
In front of the suites is a small bar/lounge area, and further ahead, on either side of the staircase leading down to the lower deck, are the two ‘spas’ – a fancy name for roomy shower/toilet rooms.
The showers are an extravagance for Emirates to offer its 14 first class passengers. They provide 1100lbs of extra fresh water for the showers (almost 10 gallons per passenger, and with a typical 2 gallon/minute shower head, this gives a good flow of water for a five minute shower), plus they also have two (not one but two!) extra staff on board as spa attendants, which probably represents another 300lbs of weight. And then of course there is the weight of the various fittings in the spa rooms, too.
It is interesting to see an airline add 1400+ lbs of extra weight to their planes – this weight (and space) could have been used to add perhaps 7 more seats onto the plane, or to carry more freight in its cavernous lower deck hold, or to add more fuel to fly further. It is a costly luxury, but when you consider that a first class fare to fly roundtrip between New York and Dubai is $16,069, then the cost of carrying a bit of extra water pales into insignificance.
Each person is allowed to reserve a spa for a 25 minute period during the flight, and during their 25 minutes inside the spa they can have a five minute shower. After the 25 minute use, the spa is closed for five minutes while one of the attendants cleans it prior to the next person’s use.
All seats have mains power plugs to power recharges and computers, and they have universal sized/shaped sockets in them to accept most plugs from most countries.
Of course the seats convert to lie-flat sleeper beds, and even have a built in massage function.
The business class section of the A380 is upstairs, behind the first class section. It comprises 76 seats, laid out with one seat by the window, two in the middle, and one on the other window side, a 1-2-1 layout.
Airlines always struggle, when designing business class seats that can extend all the way to a ‘lie flat’ situation, to come up with a design that makes best use of the space. BA adopted a design compromise that has seats paired, facing in opposite directions, so as to put the wide parts of one seat alongside the narrow parts of another seat.
The Emirates ‘compromise’ is interesting and also problematic. The far forward part of your seat – that is, the space you’ll put the ends of your legs and feet – is actually underneath part of the seat area in front of you.
This is okay and clever, but the problematic part is that in order for this to work, they have to alternate rows, one row with the seat on the outside and the ‘space’ alongside the seat on the inside, and then opposite on the next row, with the space on the outside and the seat on the inside. The reason this is problematic is because for some reason it ends up with a varying amount of space for each seat – the outside seats have more space than the inside seats. The outside seats have a 48″ seat pitch and lie down to become a 79″ long bed; the inside seats have a 39″ pitch and become only a 70″ long bed.
A 48″ seat pitch and 79″ bed is good, a 39″ seat pitch is poor and a 70″ bed is unacceptable other than for short people – perhaps people less than 5’6″.
The middle seats also alternate between being next to each other (when they are both on the ‘inside’) or relatively far apart (when they are both on the ‘outside’). If you are traveling with a friend, you would probably prefer to be in two seats close together and would be disappointed if you were in seats far apart (harder to talk in flight).
So some of the business class seats are better than others, but Emirates sells them all at the same price, so be sure to get the seating you prefer preassigned to you before your flight.
Like first class, every seat has a power outlet. The high definition screen for the entertainment system is midway in size between the 10.5″ screen in coach class and the huge 17″ screen in first class.
Economy cabin seating fills the entire lower deck, and is in a typical 747 type 3-4-3 configuration, with a total of 399 seats.
Seats have a 32″ – 33″ pitch, and recline back 6″. When you recline the seat, the seat cushion also slides forward – this is only a moderately good idea, however, because it moves your knees forward and closer to the seat in front of you.
While 33″ is a generous seat pitch for coach class, with the seat in front of you reclined and your seat cushion moved forward, your knees are going to be close to or in contact with the seat in front of you.
Seats are 18″ wide – about an inch wider than seats on most other planes. An inch might not sound like much, but with most of us filling most of the width of a seat, an extra inch can make all the difference between ‘too tight’ and ‘comfortable’.
A clever little touch is a cup holder on gimbals that allows you to put your drink in the holder and have it stay level, even if the plane is moving about and banking and turning.
Emirates chooses to provide individual air outlets in the ceiling for each seat, unlike some airlines and airplanes which no longer offer this.
Massive 10.5″ high definition screens make watching movies a very pleasant experience. Each row of seats share a couple of power adapters for the three or four people seated there.
Configuration: 450 seats: 72 business class, 332 economy , 32 premium economy and 14 first class suites.
Qantas has revealed a detailed spec of its A380 aircraft, which includes wifi internet access, a private upper-deck lounge for business class passengers, and the introduction of a new premium economy cabin.
Private suites in first class are situated on the main deck, and are the result of five years of research, with seats transforming into a 21.5 inch-wide armchair, and a fully flat bed measuring six-foot eleven inches in length and 29 inches in width. The suites will also feature a 17-inch in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen, “an array of personal stowage options” and a touch screen control unit. There will also be a guest seat and large dining table (22 x 27 inches) designed for two people, electronically controlled dual layer window shades, mood lighting, and designer amenities and crockery by Payot Paris and Alessi and Visy.
In business class the carrier has evolved its Skybed fully flat offering, creating a larger bed (six-foot eight inches in length and 23.5 in width), enhanced cushioning, a larger in-arm IFE screen (12.1 inches), and additional storage options, along with an electronically deployed privacy dividerand amenities by Ultraceuticals. The cabin will be located on the upper deck, with seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, and passengers will be able to relax in a dedicated lounge area, complete with leather sofa, self-service refreshment bar, and a large screen with laptop connections for presentations.
Seats in the new premium economy cabin (which will also be rolled out from early next year on the carrier’s 747-400 aircraft), will feature “a sliding base that moves with the seats back to create a more comfortable, ergonomically correct position to aid sleep and eliminate pressure points”. Manufactured by Recaro (responsible for seats in top-end car brands such as Aston Martin, Audi and Porsche), the seats will feature a 42-inch pitch, 19.5-inch width, and nine-inch recline, and include a “foot net” to stop sliding during sleep, increased knee and shin room between seats, and a 10.6-inch IFE screen. Configuration will be 2-3-2 in the premium economy cabin (located behind business on the upper deck) and passengers will have access to a self-service bar area.
Even economy gets an overhaul, with a “single beam seat design offering increased shin and knee clearance”, and a carbon fibre back shell with 10.6-inch IFE screen. Seat pitch is 31 inches, with six inches of recline and up to 18.5 inches of width. The economy cabin is located on the main deck, with seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.
Air France Airlines
Configuration: 538 seats: 80 business class, 449 economy and 19 first class suites.
The Air France Airbus A380 features 9 First Class La Premiere seats on the lower deck, no suites you say? Yes this is correct, Air France bucked the trend deciding not to follow Singapore Airlines, Emirates or Qantas in implementing suites in First Class La Premiere, maybe this is a sign of the economic times in Europe, but then again this aircraft would have been the planning stages for years.
The 9 first class seats are set out in a 1-2-1 configuration, this cabin features what looks to be a self service bar, along with a changing cabin/room with beauty products from Clarins.
The Air France A380 Affaires or Business Class cabin is located in the forward upper deck of the aircraft, with 80 Seats set out in a 2-2-2 seating configuration; each seat is two meters long. The In-flight entertainment Unit IFE screen is 15 Inch (38 cm) wide.
Voyageur Economy Class on the Air France A380 seats at total of 449 passengers on both the lower and upper decks. Seating is configured in a 10 wide 3-4-3 configuration. The In-flight entertainment unit in Voyageur hosts an 8.4 inch LCD screen, along with 600 hours of viewing & 3,000 music tracks.
Configuration: 526 seats: 98 business class, 420 economy and 8 first class suites.
Configuration coming soon!
Korean Airlines has released its seating maps for its first Airbus A380, which goes into preliminary service on shorter routes from May 31 before serving Seoul-Los Angeles later this year.
With only 407 seats, it is the most spacious configuration yet announced for the airliner. Until then the Qantas version with 450 seats holds that title. Other seat counts now in service on Australian routes are a total of 471 on the Singapore Airlines version, and 489 in the long distance routes Emirates configuration.
Korean has no plans to fly its A380s to Australia, but like Asiana, the other Korean flag carrier operating to this country, it competes for flights to Europe via connections in Seoul, where both carriers fly economy cabins that are generally roomier than those on Qantas 747s or A380s.
Configuration: 407 seats
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