The A380's first two European operators - French flag carrier Air France, and Germany's national airline Lufthansa - are building the excitement as they prepare for upcoming service introductions of the 21st century Airbus flagship jetliner.
Air France will be the first operator to offer A380 transatlantic travel between Europe and the U.S., flying from its hub at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York beginning this November. The aircraft subsequently will be used on routes between Paris and Dubai, Johannesburg and Tokyo.
The French carrier's A380s are being outfitted to carry 538 passengers in its three cabin classes - with the main deck accommodating nine seats in PremiÃ¨re (First) and 343 in Voyageur (Economy), while the upper deck will seat 80 in Business and 106 in Voyageur (Economy).
To mark the A380's service entry, Air France will conduct a worldwide Internet auction of 380 seats on each of its two inaugural flights, operating from Paris to New York on 20 November, and New York to Paris on the following day. In addition to experiencing the A380's first scheduled transatlantic voyages in Air France service, auction winners will tour New York and Paris. Profits from the auction - to be held in October - will be used to fund three humanitarian projects supported by the Air France Foundation for children in distress.
From 23 November, Air France's revenue service with the A380 will feature two daily flights between Paris and New York, except on Wednesdays.
Lufthansa plans to use its A380s primarily on heavily-travelled routes to Asia and North America. The carrier is focusing on approximately 20 airports across the globe as destinations for the A380, which will enter revenue service during the summer 2010 flight schedule.
To promote its new service, Lufthansa has developed an interactive A380 mini-website that covers subjects ranging from the aircraft's build-up process on Airbus' final assembly line to airport operations once it enters revenue service with the airline.
This specially-designed site offers puzzles, contests, games and images, as well as video-on-demand functions themed around the 21st century flagship. One Flash-based game enables players to use their cursor keys to successfully navigate a digital A380 to its airport gate. Visitors also can also access an online shop that sells Lufthansa-branded A380 merchandise, from beach towels to crystal replicas of the aircraft.