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Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Wednesday, 1 September 2010 12:04 UK
On board the A380: 'where the luxury begins'

Colin Sykes
By Colin Sykes
North West Environment Correspondent

The bar-lounge area on board an A380
The A380 has a bar and lounge area on the upper deck

I'm 40,000 feet above ground and flying over Istanbul on board the first A380 scheduled service from Dubai to Manchester.

This is the biggest commercial jet in the world and unlike any aircraft I've ever travelled in.

It's got two decks and huge amounts of space.

The plane is capable of carrying more than 800 passengers but one of the biggest selling points of this service is its standard of comfort, so it's actually carrying around 500 passengers today.

The plane has as much space on board as three tennis courts.

Economy is on the lower deck, carrying around 400 passengers.

Upstairs though is where the luxury begins.

In business class, you have your own mini cabin with a seat which can be fully reclined to turn into a bed.

Unusually, at the back of the plane on the top deck is a bar and lounge area, where you can get something to eat and drink, meet other passengers or just stretch your legs.

The biggest change for those travelling first class are two shower rooms, which are about the size of most people's bathrooms
Colin Sykes

Onto first class; this is the big selling point, tagged as a cross between the kind of service you get on a private jet and a luxury hotel.

You get a mini cabin with the reclining leather bed seat, sliding partitions that close you off from other passengers and even a 'no disturb' button.

There's also a huge widescreen TV and your own satellite phone, which you can use to make calls from the air.

But the biggest change for those travelling first class are two shower rooms, which are about the size of most people's bathrooms.

It's a first for this type of service and has taken quite a lot of engineering to make it all work.

So who is going to fly on this plane?

Interestingly, the service is being driven by demand, as Dubai is a popular destination for people from the North West.

Many people live and work in the desert city, others want to visit it for its sights, hotels and beaches, and it's also a popular hub for flying onto other long-haul destinations.

All of that comes at a price.

A return trip from Manchester to Dubai will cost around £600 economy to more than £3000 first class.

But it seems there is no shortage of takers.

Colin was on board the first commercial flight of an A380 from Dubai to Manchester




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