Bars and shopping among new features as Korean Air's new A380 takes off

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The Independent Travel

Korean Air is to inaugurate its new A380 "superjumbo" on a route between New York City and Seoul this week.

The airline, which is the seventh in the world to fly the enormous Airbus aircraft, will wave off the first A380 flight from New York across the Pacific Ocean on August 9, launching what it describes as a "new age of air travel."

It will be the first A380 service between Asia and New York, carrying some 407 passengers - considerably less than the 525 that the A380 is capable of.

Korean Air says that this makes room for a more spacious cabin, with 301 passengers in economy class, 94 lie-flat sleeper seats spaced six feet apart on the upper business deck and 12 first-class suites.

The aircraft also holds three bars, all for premium passengers - the Celestial bar, a cocktail lounge at the rear of the business class upper deck, another self-service bar at the front of the business-class deck, and a bar reserved for the use of first-class passengers only.

Passengers on board can also visit the world's first in-flight duty free outlet, a compact area selling cosmetics, perfumes, liquor and accessories that are magnetized to ensure they don't fall off the shelves if the aircraft hits turbulence.

The route is to run between Seoul and New York every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through August before switching to become a daily service from September.

Korean Air's major rival, Asiana Airlines, announced in January that it intends to purchase six A380s for routes to Europe and the United States.