In some ways, I’m probably a stick in the mud. Years of experience with networks and systems make you wary about the early adopter of “point-zero” software releases, and if you can, wait until they shake the bugs out.
So, despite being a bit of a travel addict, I still managed to not go on an Airbus A380 until last weekend – they didn’t work the routes I’ve been flying and weren’t operated by many airlines I regularly fly.
That changed last week when I flew on British Airways’ new A380 to Los Angeles.
The overall impression I got was how quiet the plane is. It’s seriously quiet. On takeoff, you basically just notice a change in engine note and a bit of acceleration. During the flight, it’s so quiet that you can hear a person snoring a couple of feet away.
While there were one or two rough edges on the service because the aircraft is still fairly new in the BA fleet, such as things taking a little longer than usual as the crew get used to the new equipment, it’s pretty impressive stuff, even though BA chose not to have “bling” elements such as inflight bars, lounges or showers. They chose to try and ensure consistency in the long haul product, keeping a similar look and feel to existing aircraft such as the 777-300, but behind the scenes, the galley equipment is new and different from that flying on the majority of the older fleet.
One thing I noticed was that even on the A380’s upper deck, you don’t have that same exclusiveness of the 747-400 upper deck, often sought-after among frequent fliers. It’s not quite the same on the 380. It’s definitely spacious, but as there’s more of you up there, it doesn’t feel quite as special.