The Commerical Aircraft That Seat The Most Passengers

Not so long ago, several airlines were racing to have the maximum number of seats on a single aircraft. However, many carriers soon learned that this is not an efficient way to operate in the current climate. Nonetheless, at times, there is still a purpose for high-capacity units. Here is a look at the planes that can seat the most passengers.

Singapore Airlines A380 Aircraft
The A380 pushes the boat when it comes to capacity. Photo: Getty Images

As we might expect, long-distance, widebody jets dominate when it comes to the number of seats. These are also all manufactured by the two production giants – Airbus and Boeing.

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Boeing 777

The long-haul plane is the world’s largest twinjet. Its size allows it to have a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers. The 777-300 can serve arounf416 people in a three-class setup, 524 in a two-class configuration, and 660 in an all-economy formation.

Emirates has configured its 777-300ER units in a way that it can seat up to 354 customers across three classes. Additionally, it can serve up to 442 people if there are two classes.

Emirates, Connecting Flights, Dubai
The 777 is great for long-distance operations. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing 747

The Queen of the Skies has dominated when it comes to capacity for half a century. According to AeroTime, the newest incarnation, the Boeing 747-8 can accommodate 700 passengers in a single-class system. However, it is rare for widebody operators to implement this formation. Despite this, plenty of passengers can still be served with the way that airlines configure their units.

Korean Air’s 747-8 is configured with 368 seats and features Kosmo suites in first class. These seats have sliding doors for extra capacity, allowing for luxury in a populated environment.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa, the operator that launched the jet for passenger services, flies its units in four classes. It can fit up to 362 passengers throughout its first, business, premium economy, and economy classes.

747-8 orders
There are not many operators that use the 747-8 for passenger services. Photo: Getty Images

Airbus A380

The A380-800 stands out against its rivals physically and statistically. Altogether, the superjumbo can hold up to 853 passengers within its two decks. The main cabin deck is 49.90m long and 6.54m wide. Meanwhile, the plane’s upper deck has a length of 44.93m and a width of 5.80m. This spacey build offers plenty of room for movement despite having so many fliers onboard.

Even though, in theory, 853 people can be served, in reality, airlines configure their interiors more effectively. The largest operator of the A380, Emirates, has three different sets of capacity, depending on the distance of the trip.

The Dubai outfit’s classes are as follows:

  • Three class – 489 Ultra Long Range
  • Three class – 517 Long Range
  • Two class – 615 Long Range

Nonetheless, no matter how carriers configure their cabins, the A380’s capacity is unmatched. In a full economy configuration, the A380 can handle 250 more passengers than the 747-8.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Dubai Air Show
Emirates makes the most out of the space onboard the A380. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Changing times

Ultimately, there is a clear pattern that most of the planes that are being retired rapidly are the ones that hold the most passengers. With the aviation industry going through a significant transition, this trend is likely to continue over the next few years.

More efficient aircraft are being preferred. Therefore, planes that have a better balance between cost and capacity will have a greater presence in the skies this decade.

What are your thoughts about the aircraft that can seat the most passengers? Will there be a need for such large units over the next few years? Let us know what you think in the comment section.