The golden age of travel is always a relative term.
Did you prefer the days when suits were standard, when minimally accepted clothing, cigarette smoke filled the booths and tickets cost more than a month’s salary? Or is today’s flying, with some ultra-cheap deals, *sometimes* clean planes, and sweatpants, more your speed?
Airplanes themselves complicate the issue of the “golden age” of travel, and no aircraft in modern history has done more to revolutionize the flying experience than the massive Airbus A380 double-decker, dubbed the “super-jumbo.”
As passenger numbers dwindled, it looked like the end was near for the giant of the air, but a renewed surge in demand has changed the game once again. The A380 finds a new or returned place in the world.
Stunning showers for first class passengers, bars for business class passengers and suites that rival some hotels are back. If you have some A380 experiences on your wish list, now is the time to tick them off.
Future of the Airbus A380
The days for the A380 are numbered, but far from over. Despite the A380’s resurgence, many of the original frames are becoming ‘old’ and the trend in aviation points towards twin-engine, fuel-efficient flight, rather than the A380’s four gas guzzlers.
They’re back now, but probably not forever. That’s why there’s no better time than now to finally take advantage of seats, suites or experiences that last a lifetime.
While Air France and Lufthansa have either reduced A380 numbers or grounded their fleets with immediate effect, airlines that have always had the most success with the Airbus A380 superjumbo are suddenly leaning on the planes to start stocking up again.
Add Emirates and Singapore Airlines, operators of two of the most breathtaking A380 experiences, to this list.
Airlines are struggling to get enough pilots, crew and staff for as many flights as they used to, but since an A380 can accommodate about two flights with people in one trip, the plane has proved a savior for time-constrained airlines.
British Airways recently deployed the A380 to operate high-demand US routes. The A380’s unique ability to increase passenger numbers with only modest additional crew and personnel requirements is a perfect storm.
Signature A380 experiences
Ever wanted to shower at 40,000 feet before returning to a suite in a bathrobe and slippers where Dom Perignon awaits? This is what Emirates First Class offers to passengers lucky enough to find themselves in the cabin.
Some A380 experiences offer things that even private jets don’t typically offer.
With great availability of points, it’s an epic experience to tick off the list for any savvy traveler, not just a percent of a percent. The Business Class experience with an onboard cocktail bar is not neglected either.
Singapore Airlines is another A380 experience worth flagging. The upper deck offers a wonderful business class cabin, but it’s the spacious first class suites with separate bed and chair that shake the world.
Qantas and others are quick to get their big birds ready, so keep an eye out for more of these iconic experiences to return to the skies as countries continue to open up.
A380 Future: We had the warning
Due to everything over the past few years, a number of A380s have retired from the skies, never to operate on commercial service again. Thanks to a perfect storm of insane demand and a lack of readily available staff and limited airport slots, the comeback is well underway.
The thing to note is that it won’t be forever. It’s unlikely that Emirates or Singapore will be phasing out their A380 fleets anytime soon, especially given the Boeing 777X delays.
But if there’s one thing that’s been proven over the past few years, it’s that the future of the A380 is fragile. It’s not a great cargo plane – in fact, it’s downright bad – and if the passengers pull another vanishing number, the airlines will only wait long enough for these massive gas guzzlers to stay in the game.
Find opportunities you would like to experience and book them. Too many people missed last chances to fly the 747 as it was quickly pulled out of the sky by most airlines in 2020. Don’t let the same thing happen to the A380.