Before I launch into the one reason I really am not a huge fan of the A380, I’d like to explain all the great things about this new plane.
Because otherwise I just feel like a Debbie-downer.
We took British Airway’s new A380 from IAD-LHR and LHR-IAD. We were in economy both ways (World Traveller, in BA speak). We were on the upper deck on the way there and the lower deck on the way back.
Don’t get excited, the food still sucked. I mean, airline food just sucks. I’m convinced that economy class food is just never going to entice me unless I’m returning home from an appearance on Naked and Afraid. Which would never happen, since I have few (no?) marketable, survival skills.
Things I Liked
1. British Airways really has focused on their premium cabins. And by focused, I mean left very, very few rows of economy class seats. Why do I like this? It means less people on a very, very large plane. Less people = fewer lines for bathrooms, fewer germ-spewing warm bodies, and a crew that has less people to serve. There are literally 2 sections of economy (one on the upper deck, one on the lower) with maybe 13-15 rows in each. That’s it.
2. The entertainment. Is. Excellent. I mean, I sort of (but not really) wish that we had more time to watch more movies. Yes, I’m horrible at watching movies at home as I feel like I’m wasting my time, but in the air? But of course. It was easy to use, it worked, you could stop, fast forward, and rewind, and even better, you could use it all the way to landing (as long as you weren’t in a bulkhead seat). Good job British Airways.
3. Power. All seats have USB power hubs. Thank goodness. And they all seem to work. Again, thank goodness. I don’t know why working power hubs always seem to be such a challenge.
4. Cubbies on the upper deck. In economy on the upper deck, window seats have cubbies on the side, resulting in huge arm rest areas and tons of extra space to spread out. I.e. I could lean over and sleep on the cubby and it was very comfortable.
5. Seat pitch. SEAT PITCH. Okay, so leg room still is pretty bad, but the seat pitch on these seats is so much better. And it makes such a huge difference. You actually feel like you are reclined, when you recline. I don’t know if it was the pitch or the seat, but I also didn’t get sore sitting like I do sometimes when I travel.
What I Hated
You seriously feel like a giant, bouncing ball in slow motion on the ginormous A380. And for anyone with motion sickness, you can only guess how wonderful this is. While other planes seem to jerk around in turbulence, the A380 seems to have more of a floating motion. I’m guessing this is because it’s SO BIG. Even my husband, who does not have motion sickness issues, noticed how markedly awful it was. Our flight over was particularly bad, given the amount of turbulence, but you could still notice the weird, giant, bouncing ball motion on the way back even though the flight was smoother. Not a fan. And obviously the blame for this goes to Airbus, not British Airways.
Yes, this could have been amplified because we were in the back behind the wing, but all economy seats are in the back, behind the wing. It didn’t seem to be that noticeably different between the upper and lower decks.
I’m sure that most people find this relieving, that the little bumps are so much smoother. For me, it just feels vomit-inducing. Like, really vomit-inducing. So much that I left my motion sickness patch on for the flight into Dulles (and I rarely have issues on commercial flights).
While British Airways has redeemed itself in my eyes, I will be avoiding the A380 in the future, regardless of the airline. Much prefer the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.