Crammed Airplane Seating Just Got Worse

If you didn’t think flying could get any more uncomfortable than it already is, brace yourself, because a Russian airline is set to take the title for cramming the most seats on any commercial jet in the world.

Transaero Airlines is preparing to outfit its fleet of A380s and says it will furnish the planes with 652 seats across three different service classes — although naturally the vast majority of the seats (616 to be precise) will be dedicated to the economy class section of the plane. To give you a comparison, most other A380s are outfitted with 470-520 seats, so the Russian carrier’s plans represent a pretty significant step up in capacity.And while a body-constricting, knee-knocking, claustrophobia-inducing experience might be tolerable on a short domestic flight, the bad news is that these sardine-can-in-the-sky planes will be flying long haul. Some of the routes being proposed by Transaero include Moscow-Thailand and Moscow-Dominican Republic. But even domestic flights can be long haul when you’re talking about a country as large as Russia. One of the routes on the table includes Vladivostok to Moscow which clocks in at 4,000 miles. That’s a heck of a long distance to be squished up between 651 other weary fliers.

What do you think? Is airplane seating getting out of control?

Lufthansa contest offers free tickets on the world’s largest plane

Who wants to take a free flight across the Atlantic on a super-jumbo? Lufthansa is offering such an opportunity to travelers to commemorate the launch of their sixth A380. The new jet will begin flying between New York and Frankfurt on February 28, just in time to whisk you away for a much needed European vacation. The contest winners will clamber aboard the world’s largest plane, for free, and be treated to a behind-the-scenes tour.

The first contest, “A380 SeatTweet,” begins on February 16 and ends on February 19. To register, you need to select a seat on the Virtual 380 on the Lufthansa contest website, and a tweet will post to reserve your spot. Once all 526 virtual seats are filled, the day’s winners will be announced. A number of prizes will be distributed including four A380 prize packages. You can follow Lufthansa USA’s tweets @Lufthansa_USA.

The second contest is a bit more location sensitive and will be open to those in New York City. This contest is titled “Catch the 380 Crew” and involves clues and a bit of good old fashioned sleuthing. Starting February 25, @Lufthansa USA will begin tweeting clues about the contest. After the inaugural flight from Frankfurt to New York’s JFK airport on the 28th of February, 23 “crew members” will descend upon SoHo. Only one will be holding the golden ticket – a pair of business class return tickets to Europe. To successfully game the contest, you will need to pay attention to the clues and locate 10 crew members that will lead you to your destiny.

flickr image via JeremyKunz

Emirates Airbus A380 taken out of service by a catering truck

Of all the things that can disable a $300 million plane – a broken catering truck has to be one of the more embarrassing.

Sadly, this is the fate of Emirates A6-EDE, the seventeenth Airbus A380, delivered to the airline in April of 2009.

During a routine catering delivery at Toronto airport, the scissor lift on the truck broke, smashing the truck body onto the wing of the jet.

The plane has been taken out of service while repairs are made to the damaged wing. No passengers were on the aircraft at the time and the exact extent of the damage has not yet been determined, but repairs are estimated to take several weeks. For more photos of the incident, head on over to

Thankfully for Emirates, they have another 89 Airbus A380’s in operation or on order.

Qantas Airbus A380 loses engine – drops parts over Indonesia

A Qantas A380 en route from London via Singapore to Sydney had a catastrophic engine failure 15 minutes into its flight. After departing Singapore, passengers reported hearing a loud “bang” followed by showers of sparks from one of its engines. Looking out the window, people on board the super jumbo could see parts of the engine skin peeled off, exposing foam and broken wires.

The engine parts started raining down on Batam, Indonesia – some as large as a door. There are thankfully no reports of injuries on the ground.

Despite the horrific looking damage, jetliners are designed to fly on 50% of their engines, so the plane was not at risk of crashing, though the cause of the blown Rolls-Royce engine will certainly be one that requires very close examination.

The plane circled Singapore to dump fuel in preparation for an emergency landing, which happened without incident. Because of the seriousness of the engine failure, Qantas grounded their entire A380 fleet.

In searching for a cause, one expert pointed to a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, and investigators will most certainly be looking very closely at the engine parts to determine whether volcanic ash may have contributed to the accident.

[Photo: Getty Images]

Dubai based Emirates places $11.5 billion Airbus A380 order

Dubai based Emirates just placed a whopping $11.5 billion order for 32 Airbus A380’s. This is in addition to the ten they currently own and the 48 they still have on order – which instantly makes them the largest customer of the super jumbo. Once all their orders are delivered, Emirates will operate a fleet of 90 A380’s – worth about $30 billion.

This news comes hot off the heels of the news that Airbus delivered their 30th A380 – and are well on their way to turning the plane into a huge success.

The order was placed at the Berlin Air Show where Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum signed the paperwork – $11.5 billion in paperwork.

The massive order is not only good for Emirates and Airbus – it is also a sign that the trouble aviation world may be well on its way to a full recovery.