I didn’t know whether to rejoice or hold my head in my hands at the news that the plane maker Airbus has sold the first two 840-seater airliners.
My first thought was: I hope there are enough toilets.
The two planes are all-economy versions of the giant A380. They’ve been sold to Air Austral, the flag carrier of Reunion in the southern Indian Ocean. The island is officially part of France, and the airline has nine flights a week to Paris.
The configuration of passengers, euphemistically known as ‘high-density’, has been certified for use by civil aviation authorities after a fire test in which 873 passengers and crew were safely evacuated in under 80 seconds.
Airbus’s Chief Operating Officer, John Leahy, said that far from people being crammed in, it would be more comfortable for them. He said the plane’s size meant there would still be wider seats, wider aisles and more space for each passenger than on its competitors.
The standard A380 recently made its maiden transatlantic flight. Air France took one of the airliners from Paris to New York with 538 passengers, 380 of whom were fans of the super-jumbo and had bid for the seats on eBay.
by Andy Moreton