26 October 2007, the historic flight of SQ380 – the inaugural of the world’s first double-decker plane. This was the day the Airbus A380 made its maiden flight with lots of publicity and fanfare. It was suppose to be the plane that will change how people travels in the future.
People from all over the world made bids to be the first to fly on this mighty beast, the plane that will overtake the Boeing 747 as the undisputed champion! For me back then, it was just another day and it happened that I watched the news from on-board Star Virgo where i was having a short holiday with my family.
1 year later, I finally got try the A380 myself and it was on SQ318. I managed to secure a pair of upper deck seat for this flight. I was really excited back then as I always fancied seating on the upper deck of the plane, my last being on the upper deck of a Qantas 747-400 en-route to Perth. Being in the Economy section of the upper deck gave one a slight premium feeling and also the privacy, given that it is a mini Economy cabin (with a 2-4-2 seating arrangement instead of 3-4-3). For those sitting at the window, there is an additional side storage that comes in very handy for small bags. I recalled enjoying the flight tremendously especially with the large 10″ TV screen (compared to the tiny 6″ screen on the older planes).
In less than 12 years since SQ380 took to the sky, Airbus has officially pulled the plug on the A380 programme after failing to secure further orders. Things did not bode well for the A380 over the last few years – fuel price, lower load, a shift of preference towards smaller and more efficient dual-engine planes (to name a few). 14 February 2019 is indeed a sad day for most flight enthusiast – despite its shortcomings for the airlines, the A380 is a great way to fly for most passengers. It is certainly my favorite plane to fly in.
Why do I like the A380?
Being a large plane, the A380 is less affected by turbulence (barring a severe one like what SQ308 encountered back in 2013). The large A380 gives one the sense of security when the ride gets a little bumpy.
One of my favorite activity on the A380 is to walk around the plane. I will usually go up the forward stairs (only if you are sitting in the Suites), walk to the back, down the rear spiral stair and back to the front (especially if I am too full from the meal).
Noise (the lack of it)
The A380 got to be one of the quietest plane around (especially if you are seated up front). It is certainly much better than the 747-400 or the 777-300ER. Pair it up with the Noise Cancellation headphone, you are good to have a good sleep.
The A380 won’t be taken off so soon (i presume it can remain in service for at least another 15 years) but it may be taken off service sooner if the economics favors flying a smaller and more efficient plane. Qatar Airways has already announced the retirement of their A380s by 2024. Going forward, I will certainly treasure my A380 flights even more!
The sight of the 4 large Trent engines
My list of A380 experience so far (and in the future)
SQ 318 – Economy Class (upper section)
SQ 336 Economy Class (upper section)
SQ 335 Economy Class (upper section)
SQ 856 Business class (first SQ Business Class)
SQ 12 Economy Class (lower section)
SQ 866 Suites (first SQ Suites)
MH 73 Business Class (first non-SQ A380)
SQ 802 Suites (start of TTOTY)
SQ 26 Part 1 Suites (first long haul premium)
SQ 830 Economy Class (lower section)
SQ 833 Economy Class (lower section)
Upcoming trips in 2019
Here are some of my A380 pictures taken over the years: