Pining for the Airbus 380

I’ve been very fortunate in my life to travel quite a bit internationally, and I have to admit that I’ve become a bit of a snob when it comes to class of travel on international flights.  I can no longer sit in coach.  I have to sit in business class, which my company allows me to do when I fly overseas.

My six overseas trips in the past year have been on the Boeing 777 aircraft.  Here’s some quick data about Continental Airlines’ 777 seats (considered average when compared to other airlines)  to explain why I’ve become a snob over business class:

  • Coach class — seats are 18.3″ wide, recline back 5″ and the distance between seats is 31″
  • Business class — seats are 22″ wide, recline to fully flat and the distance between seats is 60″

Add to this data the improved food and the lack of a middle seat, and I think it is clear why once you’ve had business class on a 777 you don’t go back to coach.

As nice as the 777 is, I would really like to fly on the new Airbus 380, which seems far more luxurious than 777 cabins, especially in first class.  As I write, only five airlines operate A380’s:  Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore and Qantas.  There are a total of 31 flying now, but another 200 or so have been ordered.  These are full double-decker planes holding about 555 passengers in a three-class configuration, which is 33% more than a 747.  The A380 can hold as many as 840 passengers in an all-coach configuration.

Even with the increased space of an A380, the airlines still cram folks in coach with a 3-4-3 across seat configuration.  Business class is still 2-2-2.  I ask you, where do you want to sit?

The Double Bed in First Class on a Singapore A380

For me, however, the real attraction to the A380 is the luxury in first class, which most of us will never get to experience.  On many planes, first class now includes private cabins, with the ability to push two “cabins” together to create a full-size bed in air.  Some airlines have showers on board, bars, and certainly extravagant video systems and food.

The LA Times travel section recently posted a photo gallery comparing the various airlines’ seats and luxuries of their Airbus 380.  I find it fascinating – even the improved seats and services in coach.

So – you and the significant other want to take advantage of the A380’s double bed as you fly, say, from Singapore to London this summer?

Singapore Airlines will only charge you $29, 245 per person round trip.

To answer the question I’m sure you are asking – yes, they take American Express, Visa or Cash.


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