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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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?