A High-Flying Double Decker

If you think there were a lot of people on your last flight, well, fasten your seat belt and get ready for the world's biggest jumbo jet yet, CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr reports.

Airbus wants to build the aircraft, a double decker capable of carrying 550 people - three times as many as Boeing's 757.

Airbus's North American Chairman Jonathan Schofield says the double decker, code named the 3XX, could be flying in six years.

Schofield believes there is a market for his monster plane.

"Passenger traffic is going to triple over the next 20 years, double the number of planes. Think about it," he said.

Plans call for a cruise ship of the sky - complete with a grand staircase, meeting rooms, a gym, and perhaps even sleeping quarters.

Critics say Airbus is dreaming.

"We don't have airports that can handle them, and we have a trend out there that shows that smaller airplanes are the wave of the future, not larger," said aviation analyst Michael Boyd.

Airbus's rival Boeing is also working on a 550-passenger plane - a stretched version of its 747. But Boeing isn't ready to build the super jumbo jet.

"I don't think there is a market that is big enough to support the development of a very large airplane," a Boeing spokesman said.

Giant planes, like the three double-X would present problems: How to evacuate 550 passengers in an emergency, how to handle that many at a gate, and what about the bags?

"You're talking about 600 people that are going to be in the airport and not knowing where their luggage is going to be," said a passenger.

The truth is airports will have years to iron out those problems. Until airlines commit to buy the super jumbos, they'll fly only in computer simulations.


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