Lufthansa's Airbus A380 waits at SFO

Lufthansa's Airbus A380 waits at SFO

Yesterday, San Francisco International Airport saw their first passenger carrying Airbus A380 arrive, operated by Lufthansa. Once all the passengers were able to de-plane and the aircraft was cleaned up (this was the first time that the SFO based cleaning crew cleaned up an A380), media and guests were able to take an inside look at one of Lufthansa’s seven Airbus A380’s.

I was excited, since this was my first time actually inside an A380. I had only seen one previously from the tarmac and of course I have viewed lots of photos, but there is nothing like getting inside the world’s largest commercial airliner.

The economy class seats on Lufthansa's A380 look slick and are pretty comfy to boot.

The economy class seats on Lufthansa's A380 look slick and are pretty comfy to boot.

Due to the A380’s size, there are three jetways options that passengers can board. Two are located on the bottom deck and one goes to the top. The tour started on the bottom where all 420 economy seats are located. Even though the bottom deck is long, but it doesn’t feel it, since it is broken up into individual sections. Every seat has their own in-flight entertainment system, adjustable headrest and ample legroom. Sitting in the seat, I was plenty comfortable for the three minutes I was there. Not too sure how my 6’1″, 250lbs frame would handle 11 hours if I had someone sitting next to me.

All the Business Class seats can be found on the upper deck of the A380.

All the Business Class seats can be found on the upper deck of the A380.

On a longer flight, I would prefer to head up top where you can find 98 Business Class and eight First Class seats. One of the first things I noticed were all the seats on the aircraft were cloth. In most Business and First Class areas, one is more likely to find leather. This didn’t make the seats any less comfortable and most likely would reduce sliding when converted into a bed.

While on the upper deck, I took a look at the Airbus A380's massive wing.

While on the upper deck, I took a look at the Airbus A380's massive wing.

While up on the second deck, I had a chance to sit down and take a look out the window. The Airbus A380 has one frek’n big wing. These large wings have 54% more surface area over a Boeing 747-400 and you can tell.

The new Lufthansa First Class has ample room and a large screen. I could easily burn 11 hours happily in this section.

The new Lufthansa First Class has ample room and a large screen. I could easily burn 11 hours happily in this section.

The new Lufthansa First Class on the A380 was quite impressive. Each person has their own area, with large screen and fold down bed. The walls were covered in suede (or fake suede) and extra sound deadening is used to keep the sound to a minimum. The First Class cabin also has access to two very large lavatories. We are talking full sitting couch and vanity. If you ever wanted to join the mile-high club, this would be the place to do it — even all that extra sound deadening might help. From forks to roses, Lufthansa’s catering crew loads on 40,000 items for just the First Class passengers alone (yes, 40,000). That just goes to show the level of service that flying First Class provides.

This is one of the lavatories in the First Class section. Can anyone say Mile High Club?

This is one of the lavatories in the First Class section. Can anyone say Mile High Club?

One thing you will find missing in the first class section are overhead bins — they are missing. Instead each seat has a storage area where passengers can store their belongings. This really adds a sense of upward space and makes the First Class cabin that much more comfortable. Even though the Business and First Class areas are what you might expect, it just doesn’t feel as exclusive on the top deck of the A380 versus the smaller top deck of the Boeing 747-400.

This is the first time I have seen three jet ways be used to de-plane an aircraft.

This is the first time I have seen three jet ways be used to de-plane an aircraft.

Although the A380 looks impressive pulling up to the gate, it is missing some of the grace that the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental has in my opinion. The Airbus A380’s job is not to win any beauty contests, but to provide airlines with an economical way to move a lot of people in style and it does just that. After my tour of an A380 I am super pumped to get a ride in one and hope to write up a trip report soon.

For those of you who have flown in an Airbus A380 what have been your impressions?


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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I saw this A380 in its final approach crossing over to the bay yesterday. This is the first time I’ve seen one in flight, and while impressive, it doesn’t have the grace of a 747, 777 or even an A330/340. Looks kind of like a whale with wings. I saw one on the ground before the first one was released for revenue flight in Paris, and it is huge.

I think whale with wings is a good description. Whales are pretty cool still, but not as slick as say a dolphin :).


John D

I have flown QANTAS’s A380’s 4 times, twice between LAX and SYD, and twice between SYD/LHR, and 747’s of QF, BA, CX, LH and others in both first and business. Without question the A380 is quieter, and have the newest in amenities/luxuries the airlines have to offer. It is a delightful ride. I enjoy looking out the window when I fly, and it isn’t as pleasant on the A380 as it is on the 747 – very thick if on the lower level, seems to be facing up if on the upper level. Much more storage room in first class on the A380 as the bins go the full length of the cabin, unlike the front cabin on the 747. That being said, I have gone back to the 747 when flying these same routes as there is just something about it that I will always enjoy. Not sure if it is the groan made by the front landing gear that reminds you that you are on aircraft, or that you can look just about straight down the runway when seated on the lower front cabin, or that turbulence just doesn’t seem to stir you. I like them both, but choose the 747 when I can, while I can.


Wow – I’m impressed with how you described the First Class Cabin on the A380. How much would a first class flight on this particular A380 typically cost?

It isn’t cheap. About $20,000.00 for a round trip ticket. However, that is much cheaper than renting a private plane.


I flew an Air France A380 from Paris to JFK in early January. I was very excited to do a journey on this aircraft. Prior to this flight, I had seen an Emirates A380 while waiting on my outbound flight from JFK to Madrid. Upon seeing the how massive the aircraft is, the first thing that came to mind was ‘Mechanical Mammoth.’ It was parked next to a Singapore Airline 747.

On my actual Air France flight, I thought the interior was very nice. Of course, it was nothing groundbreaking. I would expect to see interior amenities evolve accordingly with a recently developed aircraft.

The accommodations were quite spacious. I was seated on the upper deck in row 93L. Mid-way through the flight, I decided to venture down the stairs to the lower deck to tour the lower cabin. People were packed in like cattle on the lower level, again confirming my initial impression of the aircraft. If left to me, I would always fly on the upper deck.

The aircraft is notably quieter than other aircraft I’ve flown on. I’m not sure if this is an A380 advantage, or an Airbus advantage, because I found the Air Europa Airbus A330 I flew from JFK to Madrid to be notably quieter than comparable Boeings.

I agree with everyone else’s impression of the A380 with respect to the 747. It’s a novel aircraft. I’m very happy to have flown on one, especially with Air France. It’s a forgettable aircraft, not only against the likes of the Boeing 747 and 777, but among its own siblings with the A330 and A340.

Air France took great strides to make the flight feel like an experience with its cabin service, and even with how the captain repeatedly emphasized “Air France A380 Superjumbo Crew.” There were also things like fuselage, rudder and nose mounted cameras that you can’t help but think were intended to help the aircraft make up for what it lacks in outward appeal.

After flying the A380, I’m even more excited for the 747-8I, and the continued success of the 777. I hope more airlines will purchase the 747-8I. It is a truly iconic aircraft, that doesn’t have to use finesse to make an impression.

Airbus has quite a challenge on its hands in making the A380 successful against the 747-8I, 777, and 787. If it doesn’t succeed, the A380 will be regarded as a massive failure, both literally and figuratively. Yes, some will say it doesn’t directly compete against any of the aforementioned Boeing competitors. To that point, I say the biggest doesn’t necessarily mean the best.

It would be great to fly on Lufthansa or Korean Air on an Airbus A380 one way and then a Boeing 747-8I back and compare the two.


Michel H C.

Have flown the A380 twice, both times NY to Paris. must agree the ride is sensationally quiet. I could hear conversations rows away from me. There is Zero engine noise. its therefore much easier to sleep which for me is key.

There is however a problem that will be more obvious as more of these hit the skies. The airports cannot cope with the increased passenger numbers especially if one terminal happens to be loading 2 or 3 of these in one area as was the case for me recently. There was no more seats, no room at the bars or restaurants and simply nowhere to rest before boarding. Im sure airports willl all have to be upgraged to fully enjoy these beasts and frankly NY JFK could use all the help it can get.

Overall i prefer this aircraft than the &$& because its quieter and although this sounds unimportant, its new! to me aircraft age is important. i always feel a little nervous on a 25 year old United Jumbo. No such fears here.

Great point about airport capacity. It does present a problem for airports and terminals that weren’t designed to accommodate it.

There was a documentary done on the A380 manufacturing process a few years ago. If you saw the wing manufacturing process for the A380, I think it might shift your perception of it being a safer aircraft because of its comparatively young age to most Boeing jumbos. I’d actually prefer to fly an older Boeing 747 after seeing the documentary.

Michel H C

Age isn’t just a safety issue. New is clean. Less fart hours. Spillage. Maybe it’s just United but they should learn how to clean their aircraft. So that’s why I have n aversion to old.

This is a great review, thank you. I am actually looking to fly over to Germany later in the summer and I have to try out the Lufthansa A380 now.

“In most Business and First Class areas, one is more likely to find leather.”

Really? What airline uses leather upholstery in long-haul F or J? Certainly none of the dozen or so major carriers I’ve used in the last few years. Maybe VS or NZ. AF F perhaps.

Hey Rory,

I know most US domestic airlines that fly internationally have leather. ANA has leather. I guess it shows what airlines I fly more than others.


I flew the Singapore Airlines A380 in business class roundtrip Singapore-Zurich and I am telling you, business class on the Lufthansa A380 looks like economy class on the Singapore Airlines A380. Fly it and you will have an amazing experience.

Nick W.

I Have A Keychain And Pin, Only 1 In 400 Made From The Flight From Germany To SFO, Where Do I Find Out How Much This Is Worth? Someone At The Airport Said Their Worth $500! But Idk What To Do About It

Ssebakumba Herbert

wonderfully designed especially the first class the lavatories please keep it up and dont give up. If by competition Lufthansa is number one.

Judy Bielamowicz

Flying the A380 to Frankfurt in mid August from Houston. I am concerned about the leg room. Is it better than the 747 ?I found the 747 very uncomfortable in economy.

Kim Krier`

Im thinking about flying the A380 to Italy, need some pro’S and con’s on which is the better choice the 747 or the A380.Im claustraphobic and need all the room i can get for a 20 hour flight,which plane really has the most leg room and the most comfortable seats as far as reclyning and over all space.Kinda worried about taking ths trip but would feel much better if i new i was making the right choice..

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow 😄😄😄😄😄😄😄

Terry O`Meara

How can you compare an A380 with a 747.. the 747 is so old and dated, passed it`s sell by date as they say.. whichever class you`re in… see, the Americans don`t like being bettered do they.. so lets see what they come up with next..

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