Airbus has equipped the A380 MSN007 with a 519-seat cabin arranged in a straightforward three-class configuration, with 319 seats on the main deck and 200 seats on the upper deck.

Main deck rows 1-5 contain 12 first-class seats, with rows 6-37 containing 307 in economy. The upper deck has 64 business seats across rows 61-71 followed by 136 economy seats between 72 and 90.

The possibility of non-sequential numbering - MSN007's configuration leaves out rows 38-60 - and the A380's unique layout will require clear guidance for passengers at boarding gates. The emergency instruction card clearly shows that all 16 exit doors can be opened the same way.

The understated cabin furnishings in MSN007 run to nothing more extravagant than a main-deck bar directly behind the first-class cabin, plus two four-seat sofas in breakout zones on the upper deck either side of the main stairway. Airline A380s are likely to be far more opulent.

Certain fittings still need refinement: Oxygen masks accidentally deployed during take-off. Ugly in-flight entertainment system power boxes were located beneath some seats. But there were also small touches of comfort - some lavatories have a regular passenger window.

Airbus marketing vice-president Colin Stuart says the conservative layout is designed to enable Airbus to continue routine tests with a largely functional configuration, but adds that the airframer is receiving enquiries about creating extended lounge areas and duty-free stations.

Source: Flight International