I just had the pleasure of going on a short vacation to Singapore. The trip came about when Lufthansa had a great offer from Norway to Singapore in connection with starting the use of the Airbus A380 on this route. Here are some of my observations after flying a 12 hour flight in economy class.
As I have a SAS Eurobonus Gold card we had access to the Lufthansa lounges in Frankfurt. There is actually a lounge by the gate (E5?) for this flight but the lounge was quite small and was not very cozy. Anyway, boarding was fast and we had seats in the front cabin both ways (rows 55 and 56). Upon entering the plane the blankets and headset was already placed on the seats which I think works out pretty good.
I have had to joy of flying A380’s before (both with Singapore airlines and Emirates) but never on economy class so I was kinda excited to see how it would be. The seat itself was OK and as usual you just have enough space – the cabin is in a 3-4-3 configuration. On long flights on economy class I think the entertainment system is one of the key factors and the Lufthansa A380 has of course a screen for each passenger. The size is not bad but I was kinds disappointed by the selection of movies – on Emirates it seemed like they had an endless list of movies but I found it rather limited on the Lufthansa flight. And the screen itself is touch screen but I had a bit of problems of maneuvering around. Maybe I was not aiming correctly but I felt like I had to press several times to choose the things I wanted. The headsets are collected before touch down but they keep on running the movies all the way until the wheels hit the ground so bring your own headset if you want to catch the last part of the movie.
There are also games to be played but there is not game control that comes with the seat – you have to ask for this from the crew. I asked for it and got a small cube that folded out to be a game controller. This had to be plugged into the USB connection under the arm rest (kinda awkward position) and after that it was game time. But the game controller feels a bit flimsy and it was not very easy to play with it. The control for light, calling the crew, volume etc is placed on top of the armrest. The placement doesn’t seem to be ideal as it looked like people where leaning on top of it and with their elbow they would press the buttons and hence you could see the lighting go on and off in some seats.
Sleeping comfort. Well, as a friend said “economy class is economy class…it doesn’t really matter if it is in a new plane“. Sleeping on economy class will never be easy as it is hard to find a good sleeping position when sitting upright. One nice feature on the seat is the head rest where you can fold in support on the sides so that you have something to lean your head on.
Service on board was pretty good – we got a drink to start with together with some nuts and after that a meal was served along with more to drink. They also came around later on with more wine and even cognac and Baileys.
So all in all: I would have enjoyed seeing a better movie selection and I would like to have a better game controller. But it is a huge step forward compared to long haul with Lufthansa 747 where they used to only have a screen hanging from the ceiling
The official handover of the Airbus A380 to Lufthansa took place on May 19th and at the same time the interior was presented online on the web site. Most of us will be flying economy class of course and as we all know, flying long haul in economy can be a pretty miserable affair. I have used Lufthansa a few times on long haul and one of the issues that I have been very unhappy with is of course the lack of a personal TV screen. On the Lufthansa A380 each seat does have a personal TV screen of course and that will at least make the flight pass faster for me – and at least I don’t have to sit and watch the German bundesliga updates like I had to last year when I went to Dubai (see my trip report on my homepage)
If you are extremely lucky you will get to experience the business class. As you can expect the business class seats are wider, you have a bigger screen, probably better food and drink selection and so on. Most of the upper deck on the Lufthansa A380 is filled with the business class seats but I have to say that both the seat and the configuration is a bit of a disappointment at first glance at least. Both Singapore Airlines and Emirates have been able to make the business class into something special with huge seats – on the Lufthansa A380 you have a pretty standard business class seat that doesn’t recline to 180 degrees. There are seats that are comfortable for sleeping even if they don’t recline all the way but normally it is better to sleep if you have a flat bed. I’m also surprised over the configuration – many of the other airlines have tried to come up with solutions were all have direct access to the aisle but on the Lufthansa A380 you have a pretty standard configuration.
The very lucky and very few have the money to fly First class. On the Lufthansa A380 there are only 8 of these seats. The other airlines that have bought the A380 have used the opportunity to really show off in the First class setup with Singapore Airlines having small compartments and Emirates having showers available for the first class passengers. I did have a chance of flying Lufthansa First class last year in a 747 from Frankfurt to Hong Kong (see the trip report on http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=470 ) and that was a wonderful experience. But actually the configuration and plane was quite old so the most amazing part of the experience was the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt and the service there (see http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=457 ). But back to the new Lufthansa A380 First Class. From what I can see Lufthansa has taken a more moderate approach to the first class: the seat looks like a flat bed seat, the screen seems to be large and so on. But there is no WOW factor as you see on Singapore Airlines and Emirates. And it is also strange to see that there are only 8 seats compared to something like 14 on the 747. But I guess in these days with economic difficulties there is not a large market for first class seats. But all in all the Lufthansa A380 first class looks very comfortable but maybe a bit on the boring side. The bathroom seems large and that it is of course great as it can be tricky to slip into pajamas in a small toilet
Congratulations to Lufthansa with the new plane – I hope that it will provide a comfortable and safe ride for lots and lots of passengers and I hope to fly it myself one day soon The images above are taken for the Lufthansa web site. Check out the Lufthansa A380 site to get a virtual presentation of the various classes of the Lufthansa A380.
Air France has just announced that this summer they will fly from London to Paris and back again and you can get it for “just” £80 for a round trip on economy class (£280 for business class). But I think it is a bit sad using such a large plane and obviously made for long haul, for such a short flight. But I guess it will give you some sort of idea of how the plane will be on a long haul trip. I had the pleasure of flying Emirates A380 last year from London to Dubai (see http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=31) and this year from Dubai to Sydney (and the 14 hour trip back gave me lots of time to experience the plane ). Anyway, you can read about the offer from Air France on their web site.
So far Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Air France have received their A380′s. Now it is time for Lufthansa to receive their first plane and they plan to use this on the route from Frankfurt to Tokyo in Japan. Later on this fall they will receive more planes and these will be used on the routes Frankfurt – Beijing and Frankfurt – Johannesburg in South Africa. Here is the seat map of the Lufthansa A380 and it looks like the lower floor will be all economy while the upper floor is mainly business class with a few first class seats. You can read more about the Lufthansa A380 on their website.
As we speak, AirFrance will be the fourth airline to recieve an Airbus A380 plane and they are the first European airline to get their A380. The other companies that have A380′s already are Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas. I’m a bit surprised that AirFrance is not making more of a fuzz out of this – the link to information about the A380 on the AirFrance page just leads to a “Page not found” page. Anyway, AirFrance will use the plane from Paris to New York City so hopefully we will get a chance to try it in the future. I had the pleasure of trying out the A380 when I went from London to Dubai in March this year as you might remember from this article.
If you want to keep an eye on the production of A380 you can check out this blog or this production list.
Have you ever wondered what flying Emirates Airlines would be like? And do you wonder what it is like to fly the brand new Airbus A380 (you know….the plane with two floors)? Well, this is my experience with flying Emirates Airlines and A380 for the very first time…and it was even on business class The flight took me from Stavanger to London with SAS and from there to Dubai and Bangkok with Emirates. more…