BATTLE OF THE JUMBO JETS: Airbus A380 Vs. Boeing 747-8I

Photo: Boeing / Airbus

In recent years, Airbus has put itself at the top of the aircraft-building world with the A380, the whale of a plane that is the largest passenger jet in the world.Last year, Boeing has introduced the 747-8 International, the revamped version of the class 747 it calls the “Queen of the Skies.”

But which is better? To come up the answer, we broke down the numbers in 11 categories, picking the winner based on size, power, capacity, luxury, availability, and more.

The Boeing 747-8I is new and the A380 has been in service for several years, which accounts for some of the differences. But for travellers trying to decide how they want to fly now, here are the facts as they stand today.

CAPACITY: Boeing's 747-8I has a maximum capacity of 467 passengers.

CAPACITY: The A380 usually holds around 500 passengers, but has room for as many as 853.

CAPACITY: Airbus wins this round.

Boeing: 0

Airbus: 1

WING SPAN: The Boeing's wing span is 224.6 feet.

WING SPAN: The A380 spreads out over 261.7 feet.

WING SPAN: Airbus wins again.

Boeing: 0

Airbus: 2

LENGTH: The 747-8I is more than 250 feet long.

LENGTH: The A380 measures 238 feet.

LENGTH: Boeing gets on the board.

In fact, the 747-8I is the world's longest passenger aircraft.

Boeing: 1

Airbus: 2

WEIGHT AND POWER: The 747-8I can take off with a weight of 987,000 pounds, and produces 66,500 pounds of thrust.

WEIGHT AND POWER: The A380's maximum takeoff weight is 1,235,000 pounds, and it produces up to 70,000 pounds of thrust.

WEIGHT AND POWER: Point to Boeing.

That gives the 747-8I more power per pound, and the win.

Boeing: 2

Airbus: 2

RANGE: Boeing's jet can go 11,443 miles in the air.

RANGE: The A380 can only do 9,756 miles.

RANGE: Boeing wins.

The difference means the 747-8I can fly New York to Sydney without stopping, but the A380 cannot.

Boeing: 3

Airbus: 2

AVAILABILITY: So far, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Korea Air, and a few other airlines have placed orders with Boeing.

AVAILABILITY: The A380 has been around longer, and is flown by Air France, Emirates, Qantas, Lufthansa, British Airways, Korea Air, Virgin Atlantic, and more.

AVAILABILITY: Airbus ties it up.

Because the A380 has been around longer, it's easier to get on board.

Boeing: 3

Airbus: 3

NICKNAME: No contest, Boeing wins.

'Queen of the Skies' may sound a bit too fancy, but anything would beat 'Superjumbo.'

Boeing: 4

Airbus: 3

TROUBLE: The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended inspections of 747-8Is equipped with General Electric engines, after a string of failures.

Source: Wired

TROUBLE: Wing cracks in many A380s discovered this summer, though not immediately dangerous, took weeks to repair.

Source: Bloomberg

TROUBLE: Boeing has the shorter, but better, record.

In November 2010, an A380 engine failed in flight and damaged a wing. The plane landed safely and no one was hurt, but Boeing gets the point.

Boeing: 5

Airbus: 3

1st CLASS LUXURY: First class on a Lufthansa 747-8I includes a personal locker and an especially wide seat that goes fully flat for comfortable sleeping.

1st CLASS LUXURY: Emirate's A380's first class includes two lounges, private suites, and a shower spa.

1st CLASS LUXURY: An easy point for Airbus.

For travellers looking for top of the line luxury, there are better choices offered by airlines flying the A380.

Boeing: 5

Airbus: 4

COST: A new Airbus is more expensive, at $389.9 million.

COST: Airbus is the better deal.

When the price is divided by the number of passengers each plane can carry.

Boeing: 5

Airbus: 5

GAME CHANGING POTENTIAL: Boeing's latest represents a new day for the 747, long one of the best ways to fly a lot of people a long way.

GAME CHANGING POTENTIAL: But Airbus broke the mould with the A380.

GAME CHANGING POTENTIAL: Airbus pulls ahead.

The A380 is the world's largest passenger jet, and dwarfs the competition.

Boeing: 5

Airbus: 6

And the winner is...

Boeing's jet has a lot going for it, especially the fact that it is the newer aircraft.

But for those looking to get in the air today, the Airbus A380 is bigger, more luxurious, and more available.

Airbus takes the prize.

Now see more great planes.

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