Airbus’ early concepts for the A380 teased plenty of innovative ways to use the plane’s ample space.
But only a handful of the dozen airlines flying the double-decker jet chose to swap revenue-raising seats for a lounge where first and business class passengers can mingle at 40,000 feet.
Qatar Airways is the latest to join the superjumbo social club, alongside Gulf competitors Emirates and Etihad and, to a lesser extent, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Qantas.
Qatar’s A380 lounge
Qatar’s curvaceous combo bar/lounge sits at the rear of the business class cabin on the A380’s top deck.
The sweeping design comes incorporates sofa-style seating and elegant lighting.
The bar’s location also puts it just ahead of a small 56 seat economy cabin, where passengers will be afforded tantalising glimpses through the curtain of life at the pointy end.
Emirates' A380 bar
Emirates won boasting rights as the first A380 airline to boast a stand-up bar, complete with an on-duty bartender to keep the spirits, snacks and chat flowing.
This nook at the tail-end of Emirates’ A380 upper deck has become a favourite haunt for many business travellers and frequent flyers, even if it’s just a way to stretch your legs or a change of scenery on long flights.
Etihad’s A380 Lobby
Taking its cues from the world of hotels, Etihad has christened the lounge of its forthcoming Airbus 380s as The Lobby.
This serviced lounge and bar is located between the first and business class cabins.
The design is inspired by the Arabian concept of the Majlis, which is a space where guests are met and entertained.
Etihad’s unique approach sees The Lobby as an area which offers the social qualities of a bar without looking like a bar.
It includes a semi-circular leather sofa, a marquetry table and a 32 inch TV screen on which passengers can watch live TV channels.
While no other airlines match the Gulf trio, four have at least set aside a little room for something other than seats and stand-up refreshment areas.
Korean Air’s A380 Prestige Lounge is more of a large lounge than a bar...
... although there’s a to-be-expected assortment of snacks and drinks.
The front-right corner of the A380’s nose is a popular nook for small lounges so that travellers can at least escape their seat for a sofa.
This includes Qantas…
… and Asiana Airlines.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.