Malaysia Airlines has become the latest carrier to start flying the largest airliner in the world, the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The airline last week unveiled its first A380, delivered by Airbus from its plant in Toulouse, France.
Malaysia Airlines has ordered six A380s with a layout of 494 seats in three classes - first, business and economy. There are just eight first class seats on the plane, with 66 business class seats and 70 economy class seats on the upper deck, and and economy class seats on the main deck.
Air France currently fits the most seats into its superjumbos, with a total of 538, while Korean Air has the fewest - 407.
Malaysia Airlines' new A380 first-class cabin features a seat pitch of 85 inches (216cm) with full flat-bed seats and 58cm inflight entertainment screens, while the business class seats offer a pitch of 74 inches (188cm), also with flat beds, and 43cm screens.
The first A380 will fly from Kuala Lumpur to London three times a week. The airline intends to fly the route daily from August after it receives its second superjumbo. The first flight departed yesterday.
Since its first flight with launch customer Singapore Airlines in October 2007, the world's largest commercial aircraft has proven popular with airlines, despite several safety incidents. The highest profile was the explosion of an engine on board a Qantas A380 on November 4, 2010 - an incident that saw the airline ground its superjumbos and resulted in worldwide checks on the aircraft's Rolls Royce engines after a faulty oil pipe was found to be the cause.
More recently, Airbus has been working to repair small cracks in the wings of some of the planes. The European plane maker said the cracks were the result of a design that merged lightweight carbon-composite materials and traditional metal in an attempt to lower the weight of the aircraft.
Nevertheless, the A380 has been a hit with many airlines, with 253 orders from 19 customers. Emirates is the biggest customer for the A380, with 21 currently in its fleet and a total order of 90. Qantas has ordered 20 of the giants.
Airlines have also used the size of the A380 to push luxury in the skies to the limit. Singapore Airlines offers private suites, almost entirely enclosed, for passengers travelling in first class – including seats that convert to double beds for couples. Meanwhile Emirates offers the only opportunity to get naked in the sky legally – its A380s' first-class cabins feature bathrooms with showers.
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