What are the pros and cons of the following two options for picking a seat on a Qatar Airways Airbus A380:

  • In front of the lower deck
  • In the back of the upper deck

Lower deck map

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Upper deck map

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  • 2
    This is not the kind of question Stack Exchange wants to have. The site wants questions with fact based answers, by preference one right answer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 6:20
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    I have reformulated the question so that it is no longer opinion-based. You may want to specify the airline (and possibly specific flight), though, as the exact layout may vary and have an influence on the answers. Also, how many are you, and do you have a connecting flight at the destination if that flight?
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 9:14
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    @Willeke there is at least one good objective reason for picking one option over the other, so I feel this is not opinion based.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 9:15
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    Another vote for reopen: In my experience the upper deck is objectively better. A much smaller cabin makes for better service and less disruption. Due to fuselage curvature there is often one less column of seats and the window seats do have an extra storage bin at the wall which is super handy.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 13:30
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    I think this is still entirely opinion-based, as pros and cons of any seat position are down to the individual. eg do you prefer bulkhead seats, exit row, rear seats, seats next to the toilets, seats next to the galley, preferring more or less wall curvature etc.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


In such a situation, one advantage of the lower deck, if you can get a seat towards the front, is that you will most probably be out of the plane quicker.

This can be important if you have a short connection at the destination of that flight (whether it is another flight, or a train or bus). Being out quicker also increases the chances of smaller queues at passport control, if relevant (by far not a guarantee as it depends on other arrivals around the same time, but it’s nearly always better to be among the first of the several hundred people coming out of that aircraft than among the last).

Note that if you are not really towards the front (close to the exit doors, to be precise), then it’s a lot less obvious which is quicker: premium cabins have a lot less people, who are a lot more used to travelling, so they empty a lot faster than coach.

On the other hand the upper deck is slightly smaller (in economy the layout is usually 2-4-2 on the upper deck against 3-4-3 on the lower deck). This means less middle seats, less people to annoy when you want to stand and are sitting at a window, less people to annoy you if you are sitting at the aisle on the left or right sides…

In some cases the whole compartment is also quite small (limited number of rows), which makes it more cosy and you sometimes get better service. It’s not as cosy as it was on the upper deck on 747s of course.

Note that cabin layout varies a lot on A380s (even between different aircraft of the same airline: some have 3 different layouts!), so the details may vary.

  • Being further from the front can be beneficial in an accident too - when was the last time you heard of an airplane backing into a mountain?
    – Doc
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 17:38
  • @Doc in case of an airplane meeting a mountain, I doubt it matters whether you're in the front or not. Maybe better be at the front - you'll be done faster.
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 6:45
  • Thanks for your great answer, which on is quieter in general? upper deck or front seats on the lower deck? Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 10:30
  • At first glance on Qatar Airways I would say the front economy cabin on the upper deck: with only 32 seats it should be quiet (the back cabin is even smaller by close to galleys and toilets). However the premium lounge is just in front, I have no idea how busy, noisy or isolated it is. We’ll probably have to wait for someone with experience of that layout and cabin.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 10:56
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    @RoryAlsop A380s are extremely quiet, though I have only travelled in the front of the upper deck on them so I don’t know if there is a difference on those as there is on other aircraft.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 12:35

I have a strong preference for the upper deck.

  1. Smaller cabin typically results in better service and it tends to be quieter
  2. One less column of seats
  3. On many planes the window seats do have a storage bin on the wall (due to the larger curvature of the fuselage). This is super handy and more storage space than any other economy seat

Same argument applies to the upper deck of the 747 (if you can still find a 747 AND economy upstairs). British Airways used to fly this configuration and upstairs window seat was by far the best economy seat on the plane.

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