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What is the passenger capacity of an A380, and how many suitcases could it carry?

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    $\begingroup$ Although it's fairly clear what you're asking, a little context around the question may improve it. Are you specifically asking about the maximum possible capacity, or are you asking about current real-world practices? $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Feb 17 '15 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming around 160t capacity for an empty A380 and an arbitrary average passenger weight of 85kg you could carry 1882 of these persons, it would just be a bit crowded. Assuming a suitcase weights 1kg you can fit 160000 into the plane, though I don't know if the density is big enough to fit in volume there. $\endgroup$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '15 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ 747 record: "The operation set a world record for single-flight passenger load on May 24, 1991, when an El Al 747 carried 1,122 passengers to Israel". $\endgroup$ – Count Iblis Sep 13 '15 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ I have voted for closure of this question as this is too broad, there are many variants of the A380 and hence the passenger carrying capacity will differ.. $\endgroup$ – Firee Jan 21 '16 at 11:59
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Wikipedia lists three basic configurations for the A380-800:

  • 407-526 (3-class)
  • 644 (2-class)
  • 853 (1-class)

However, different airlines have different configurations. The lowest number of seats is Korean Air, with 407. The highest number of seats is Air France, with 538. Emirates has discussed plans for a configuration with 644 seats but it does not appear on the list (or on SeatGuru).

As far as baggage, this thread states that the A380-800 might carry 19 LD-3 containers of baggage, or 3002 cubic feet, which is for about 471 passengers. The bulk hold, which is for loose baggage, can hold 1,525 kg or 14.2 cubic metres (501.5 cubic feet), and the A380-800 can carry 8,000 kg of cargo in addition to a full passenger load according to Emirates.

An average suitcase is about 0.1 cubic meters in volume. If the bulk hold is 14.2 cubic meters, then it could theoretically fit 142 suitcases. But an average suitcase weighs 50 lb, so 142 suitcases would weigh 3220 kg, which is over twice the weight capacity.

The LD-3 containers add an additional 85 cubic meters of space, or 850 bags. This is a total of 942 bags, which for around 500 passengers sounds very reasonable.

But wait, there's more! What if the rest of the cargo capacity was filled with luggage?

Emirates above claims a total of 12 PMC and 44 AKE of cargo capacity. The properties are as follows:

  • PMC
    • 23 cubic meters (max)
    • 6700 kg capacity
  • AKE
    • 4.3 cubic meters
    • 1497 kg capacity

This is a total of 465.2 cubic meters of capacity, or 4652 suitcases, or 105,505 kg. The containers could hold a maximum of 146,268 kg.

So the bulk plus container capacity is 4794 bags by volume. This is assuming every container could be packed completely full of bags with a density of 227 kg/cu m, so the actual numbers would probably be lower.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, Wikipedia says 38 LD3s. Possibly some factor of 2 has gone astray somewhere. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Feb 17 '15 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @HenningMakholm That is just the luggage LD3's. Working on a total capacity now. $\endgroup$ – fooot Feb 17 '15 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ Note that the 50 lb is a normal maximum size for a check bag without paying extra overweight bag fees, not necessarily the actual average weight of a check bag. Good answer, though. In Korean Air's case, their smaller number of seats is due to devoting the entire upper deck to business class and having the first-class cabin taking up the front of the lower deck as well as having a couple of lounges and an on-board shop. They also use 33-34" seat pitch in economy instead of the 32" pitch Air France uses. $\endgroup$ – reirab Feb 17 '15 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot so 19 LD3s stands? $\endgroup$ – vasin1987 Mar 10 '15 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @vasin1987 for the typical number of containers needed for luggage, yes. $\endgroup$ – fooot Mar 10 '15 at 19:15
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In theory, up to a maximum 853 passengers in a single-class setup (ie if the whole plane was set up for the maximum possible number of economy passengers)

In practice, it's usually configured for 525 in a typical "three class" (First, Business, Economy) layout, which is standard (with fairly minor variations) for most airlines as this is both more profitable to the airline, and better suited to actual real-world demand.

For example the upper deck contains a small number of First Class seats (front) and a larger number of Business Class (rear) A380 upper deck

While the lower deck contains all economy class passengers

A380 lower deck

Luggage isn't a limiting factor for the A380, as it can hold approximately one suitcase per passenger in the luggage hold, and a further 2-4 suitcases per passenger in the bulk hold (depending on whether other cargo is being carried)

Reference: airbus.com

Airbus has some vague plans to introduce a 1000-passenger all-economy (ie single class) "stretched" version of the A380, but these don't appear to be in the pipeline for production anytime soon. The A380 was originally designed with this in mind, though.

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The Daily Mail and Seat Guru both show Emirates having a two class version with 615 seats total, 557 economy. And, while Emirates only shows three class versions if you actually look up the route mentioned by the first link (Dubai - Copenhagen) you will see it only has Business, Economy. Clicking on the "View services" link will also show the First class missing. So, despite the Daily Mail being a rag and Seatguru not being 100% reliable to say the least I must say the evidence strong for this configuration.

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