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World's largest passenger plane takes flight

Singapore Airlines flight SQ380 took the air Thursday and made aviation history as the first commercial flight of the long-awaited mammoth flying machine, the Airbus A380.

Since I'm kind of an airplane nut--of the amateur variety--this is somewhat of a Homer Simpson moment.


Singapore Airlines flew the first commercial flight of the Airbus A380 Thursday. And it was apparently a big party in the sky. Pascal Parrot/Getty Images

Singapore Airlines flight SQ380, from Singapore to Sydney, took to the air Thursday and in the process made aviation history as the first commercial flight of the long-awaited mammoth flying machine, the Airbus A380.

I've never seen one of these planes up close. But I'm longing to. It recently made its first (test) flight into San Francisco and I was out of town. And sadly, neither Airbus nor Singapore Airlines invited me to take this first flight today.

But for those who did take it, it sounds like it was quite the celebration.

"The flight was spectacular, just truly awesome," Thomas Lee, reached by cell phone as the plane pulled into the gate at Sydney Airport, told the International Herald Tribune. "I'm thrilled beyond words, actually. Just extremely excited. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd put it at 12."

Lee actually has a claim to aviation history that I am rather in awe of. He was on the first commercial flight of the 747, in 1970, the Herald Tribune reported, and now was on the first A380 passenger flight as well. (For a look at the plane, including its luxury suites, see "Photos: Airbus delivers the A380, finally.")

That's pretty cool.

The A380, if you've not been following plane porn like I have, offers 50 percent more floor space than a 747, and can carry as many as 853 people. Of course, that would be in an all-steerage configuration. A more likely scenario would be somewhere in the 500-plus range.

The Airbus Web site hasn't been updated to reflect the news that Singapore Airlines made the first passenger flight of the A380. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Still, that's a lot of airplane. And it just looks huge, too, what with an entire second level and the appearance of a flying monstrosity.

And while the Singapore flight had paying customers, it still wasn't a regularly scheduled flight. That won't happen until later this week. This flight consisted mainly of people who bought their tickets on eBay, with proceeds going to charity.

Of course, all this could be a lie. That's because, according to Airbus' own Web site, it hasn't delivered any of the planes, and none are in operation. Whoops.

Okay, I kid Airbus, but only because I'm really a huge 747 fan.