A380 – white elephant or the future?

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  • Anonymous


    Was somewhat surprised by this DT article. I have yet to fly on it but hope to soon. With increasing demand in air travel yet capacity limitations in some airports and airspace, imo its future is assured however orders are falling off.


    So is it a white elephant or are its best days still to come, maybe becoming a superjumbo darling even eclipsing the 747?

    Do you seek the A380 out? Have you been won over by it or would you stick with the 747-8, given the choice?


    Are you asking from the passenger or airline perspective?

    As a passenger, I really couldn’t care less whether I fly a 777 / 747 / 380 or whatever. What counts for me is the product.

    The airlines will buy whatever proves to be economical and has the ability to make profit on the route.

    I think there is far too much hype about the new models, in most cases, passengers get on an airplane and are clueless what aircraft they are on… what matters though is what’s on the inside…


    +1 MartynSinclair I totally agree with you, half the time I have no clue what actual aircraft I am on until I am told in the safety briefing, I am more interested in the hard product inside


    If I could I’d choose the 747 over the 380, with the 380 being my second favorite, followed by the 777.

    I think there is a future for the plane especially on high density routes but ironically with low fuel prices it pays for airlines to hang on to less fuel efficient planes for longer.


    I agree somewhat, however I understand (from talking to others – not first hand) that the “atmosphere” is more pleasant – more humid? better circulation, pressure? Allegedly it is also far smoother. Some CC are ambivalent, others have expressed that they certainly do not feel as tired.

    I recall a year or so ago Martyn you commented on a lingering sore-throat etc. One wonders if an A380 would have been a better or worse for this?

    Tom Otley

    While I agree up to a point that most flyers don’t care (or perhaps even know) what aircraft they are on, there’s no doubt the A380 is much quieter than the B747 and even the B777-300ER, and I’ve felt it smoother as well, though whether that’s because it’s better at avoiding weather or just rides it out better I don’t know.


    Good question. I’d look for it if I could and rather fly the same route on an A380 service over anything else – it is so much quieter than anything else I’ve flown (not been on a 787 or A350). Likewise have lots of clients who fly the A380 over 777. In the case of Emirates and being in Brighton – I have clients who go to Heathrow over Gatwick to make sure they are on an A380 (as free car covers both LGW/LHR from Brighton). Likewise for clients West London – they are often happy to go to LGW if they can get the A380 and it is cheaper than the equivalent LHR departure time (but wouldn’t do it for a cheaper 777 fare).

    Naturally some people aren’t fussed and are driven by schedules / nearest airport. But I think the A380 has a secure future. I imagine BA will take another 5-10 as a conservative guess (it is the perfect plane for an airport like LHR which has no spare capacity and won’t any time soon). Even Cathay might consider ordering depending on HK Airport developments as something they could easily put on services to LHR and West Coast US.


    BigDog. – 18/01/2015 22:44 GMT
    Do you seek the A380 out? Have you been won over by it or would you stick with the 747-8, given the choice?

    I sought out the A380 back in 2009 when it was relatively novel, and have flown the aircraft a number of times now. I do like the whole shower thing on EK’s A380, it is a great conversation piece to have showered at 35,000 feet but now when I fly I choose the best timings for the most part.

    That being said, I’ve just booked a flight and sought out the A380 because it offered more bonus points and is only a 45 minute wait longer in the lounge. I prefer the 777 with EK though as there is slightly more space in the suite due to the curvature of the fuselage on the A380 upstairs, there are also considerably less seats on 777 meaning you get a more personal service, service in 1st on the EK A380’s is generally ok, but I find service on 777’s consistently excellent.



    I have to say that I was mightily impressed with the 380, and would, given the choice, opt to fly on it rather than any other aircraft. Why, because it is quieter, smoother and in EK’s case roomier. Even when flying in Y. My top tip is to try and book seats in the lower front cabin on EK’s Y 380 services.
    But, like Martyn and others, if the in-flight cabin experience is woeful, it doesn’t matter what type of aircraft you’re in. And I’m not talking about the hard product. The 380 experience I had was with Emirates, and I’d score the service at an acceptable 7, yet the Emirates staff on the 777 flights scored an 8/9 and made that flight memorable.
    With TK , the pre take-off distribution of Turkish delight is a wonderful touch, especially when the bloke smiled and offered me a 2nd piece after seeing my eyes light up at the sight of some candy. I felt quite the opposite when the young lass between IST & EDI thrust the “offending candy” in my face as if it was a chore she had to do !
    It’s not the plane, but the people who make or break a flight.


    I like the 777, not sure why, just prefer it…..have flown SQ A380 a few times and was impressed with the quietness. Generally though I agree with the posters that say the service is more important than the airframe.


    The problem for Airbus is that it seems its A380 designers never thought that airlines would squeeze more and more passengers into their B777s, B787s and so on

    Remember that the B777 was originally designed for a 3-3-3 layout while the B787 was intended to be 2-4-2.

    So as Business Traveller originally reported we now find a situation



    leading to most airlines now installing 10-across 3-4-3 layouts on their B777-300ERs (and some are now retofitting their older B777-200s with 10-across seating) while every B787 operator, with the exception of JL/NH, has gone 3-3-3.

    Air Canada’s new B777-300ER has a high density layout. In total it accommodates 458 passengers which is roughly the same or more passengers as some carriers accommodate on their A380s.

    So the B777-300ER is cheaper to buy, cheaper to operate and easier to fill and more flexible too because it can be accommodated at more airports.

    But of course it lacks the passenger appeal of the A380 and many/most travellers would claim that four engines are better than two.

    So in order to compete by boosting passenger capacity, Airbus has devised an 11-across A380. But the first customer is awaited.

    But the first high density A380 will be seen later this year and it will be operated by Emirates.

    This A380 will not be the 11-across version but it will be a two-class A380 which will accommodate 619 passengers. No routes have yet been announced but one would expect Emirates to operate any high-density version initially between Dubai, India and SE Asia.


    Should airlines use the designator HD to publicise a High Density layout.

    There is such a choice of comfort levels, far beyond economy, business and First… its about time airlines told their customers what they will be getting (yes yes yes, aircraft do go tech!!)..


    Well Martyn, I would go further………

    A HD designator is an interesting proposition, rather than publicizing the cabin, I’d call on regulators to enforce its usage…..as a health warning.

    Unlike the folks that contribute to this forum, most of the folks who book an AC economy flight probably choose to pay ACs higher ticket price because their not a charter airline. And so ,have no idea that their entering an aircraft that’s got more seats in it than the charter airline.

    And I’d love to see the CEO of AC or the other guilty CEO’s charged with corporate manslaughter by the family of a DVT victim, and with these cabins that’s only a matter of time. YVR non-stop to SYD, it’s only a matter of time. : (

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