My First "Super" Flight

I logged my first Airbus A380 double-decker super-jumbo a few days ago. It was only a short three-hour flight, across the ditch (as they say), from Auckland (AKL) to Sydney (SYD) on board Emirates. Since I paid for this segment of the trip - I flew in Economy Class on the lower level. I will get a proper introduction to the Super Bus later this trip when I fly on Thai's A380 in Business Class (on the upper level of course) on a long overnight flight from Bangkok to Paris.

Surprisingly enough, Emirates has three flights at AKL - two of them on the A380. They all ultimately go to Dubai, by ways of Melbourne and Sydney (A380s) and Brisbane (777-300ER).

I would get my introduction to the behemoth on aircraft A6-EDC (msn 16, delivered in November, 2008).

Yes, I bought the personalized A380 t-shirt from Airbus to commemorate this occasion. :)

Simultaneous dual-deck loading.

Economy Class was quite full. I guess that made sense since Emirates now codeshares with Qantas. But given multiple airlines fly the SYD-AKL route, it's surprising that Emirates was still able to fill an A380.

Economy was in the 3-4-3 configuration, same arrangement as the 747 or now common sardine-configuration 777. When reclined, the seat bottom also slid forward, minimizing loss of space to the guy sitting behind you (of course this reduced your legroom).

Overall, leg room was OK - not great but not tight either.

Passenger Service Units.  I like the looks of the semi-circular speaker grill and indicator lights.

Seat width was standard 18-inches. At the window, there was a lot of elbow and shoulder room, making the seat felt wider, which was a bonus for a window seat lover like myself.

There was still a decent amount of distance to the outside window - resulting in a large airgap between the inside and outside windows.

Emirates "ice" (information, communication, and entertainment) system was excellent as expected. Nose/belly/tail camera views were only of use upon takeoff and landing on this night flight.  I especially love how each screen showed individual seat numbers.

Even on this short three-hour flight, there was a full bar and hot meal service. We are talking about appetizer, choice of two main courses, and dessert.

Here was my beef meal.

Given the full meal service, the flight attendants were very busy on this flight. From hot towels, distributing the menu, after dinner coffee/tea, to used headset collection, they worked nonstop from beginning to end.

Some impressions of the flight:
  • We encountered turbulence on our climb to cruising attitude. My butt-in-seat thought I experienced more Gs then usual (there was a feeling that a lot of mass was being thrown around me).
  • Similarly, being massive, when the air was smooth, the ride was very smooth and stable - like riding on a train with smooth rails.
  • Low cabin noise, and from where I was seated - at the trailing edge of the wing - there was no vibration at all. Compare that with the 777 I flew on the next day (next to the engine), it was considerably nosier with a lot of vibration. Nevertheless, the 787 is still the quietest I think.

Final stats:
  • Takeoff weight: 407,000 tonnes
  • Highest cruising altitude: 36,000 feet
  • Distance traveled: 2241 km
  • Flying time:  3 hours 12 minutes

Previous posts from this trip:
  1. Down Under for Some Tight-Assed Fish
  2. My Travels to Middle Earth


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