Got plans for the upcoming holidays? How about getting together 652 of your closest friends and chartering a Transaero Airlines A380? The Russian carrier doesn’t actually take delivery of its first superjumbo until 2015, but it’s never too early to plan, or start making friends.
It sounds like something outlined on a cocktail napkin after a third vodka. A continuous swill of wonder and madness. Seating for 652? A monumental act of audacity. The passenger list alone would fill hard drives. Enough peanuts to swamp a C-130 cargo jet. And it may or may not be the highest seating capacity of any commercial passenger jet in the world.
(French-based Air Austral ordered an 840-seat A380 back in 2009 for delivery in 2014, but that order “appears to be in limbo” for financial reasons.)
Transaero Airlines CEO Olga Pleshakova recently told USA Today that the four A380s he’s ordered will be configured “with 652 seats in three classes of service.”
“Imperial Class is 12 seats, which are designed as suites,” Pleshakova said. “There are 24 seats in business class – these are full-flat seats and all-around access. And 616 is for the economy, for the total of 652.”
I had no idea. You can have 652 passengers corralled together, or you can have three classes of service on a bigger mousetrap, but you can’t have both.
Transaero flies to more than 100 destinations, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto. (And let’s hope the dark side of the moon.)
Most airlines operating, or planning to operate, A380s configure the jets to seat between 470 and 520. Korean Air coming into Atlanta offers 407 seats total, including 94 business class in the upper deck.
For now, Transaero plans to fly its jam-packed haymaker A380s from Moscow to Bangkok, as well as to the Dominican Republic and Barcelona. (The giant sponge of globalization is getting huge.)
“We’re talking to the airport in the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean to start using it domestically to Moscow,” Pleshakova told USA Today.
That route covers about 4,000 miles, the newspaper noted. “For comparison’s sake, a flight between Miami and Seattle or between Boston and San Francisco comes in at about 2,700 miles.”
Transaero also has ordered four jumbo Boeing 747-8s. Delivery is expected to be in 2015.
The Tarmac’s View: And so it goes. Transaero Airlines just signed a codeshare deal with JetBlue that begins at the end of this month, hoping to bolster the Russian carrier’s Moscow-New York route. Imagine the line at JFK’s Immigration and Customs if they start bringing in 652 passengers off the tarmac in one haul. It would knock you into next week. Imagine actually looking back to 2013 and thinking these were the “good old days” at JFK.
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