European airplane maker Airbus has unveiled the world's largest passenger plane, a double-decker behemoth that will seat up to 800 people. The A380 will make its first test flight this spring and begin flying passengers in 2006. But will U.S. airports be ready? No U.S. passenger airline has yet ordered the plane, but three airports--San Francisco's, Los Angeles' LAX and New York's John F. Kennedy--are gearing up for foreign airlines, such as Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, that have. Some runways and taxiways have to be widened and terminals expanded for the extra passengers. Virgin Airways said it postponed delivery of its A380s, partly out of concern that LAX was not moving fast enough. Sources say planes at LAX may at first have to park away from the terminal, with passengers then being bused in. But an LAX spokeswoman says it will be ready. "I'm not sure I want to be on a plane for hours with 500 or 600 other people," says an aviation observer, "but I sure as hell don't want to then get on a bus to the terminal with all of them."
--By Sally B. Donnelly