On the A380

My friends and I were fortunate enough to get the upper deck. Sadly we were not in business class whose seats were incredible. Now those are really wide seats. So here I was stuck in largest airplane in the world for the next 11 hours and here goes the experience.

My  mother had made it clear that she would never ride this plane in her entire life. I had always called it the flight from hell due to its large size. The upper deck is significantly quiet since it’s mostly business class and just 1/3 is dedicated to economy class.

Gate A5 in Changi ariport was renovated to accommodate the A380. I thought that it would take forever to board but for real it didn’t. It doesn’t take much longer than a 747 to board the plane completely.

Upon clearing the gate and into the tube, it split into three. The first is course for first class and the other two are for the main cabin and upper deck. It’s a slight incline to the get to the upper deck and you are welcomed into business class…which wasn’t our seat.

Once we got to our seats, the first thing we noticed is that the upper luggage bins are small. In short, insufficient. I had admired Virgin America for it’s large overhead bins but these were small. It reminded me of that American Airlines 747 from Dallas to San Francisco.

Luckily my stuff fit into the overhead and the seat in front of me. The seats are indeed more comfortable than any economy class I’ve seated in. The next thing I noticed was that I was sandwiched between two rows of children. Ouch.

The screen is impressive even in economy. It’s a ten inch screen with a cup holder, USB port, ethernet jack, telephone, qwerty keyboard and coat hanger. The remote is conveniently located in front instead than the side which provides easy access and no accidental button pushing which is nice.

The inflight selection of movies and tv shows is the largest collection in any plane. With the usual latest releases and Hollywood hits, there’s also a wide selection of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and other Asian films. Each TV episode not only has one but two episodes each.

You can even plug in your USB thumb drive and access your files via a PC suite. I still have to try if my iPod works on this.

The seat reclines to an acceptable amount. The tray table though is something else. The table splits into two since the entertainment system takes up quiet a lot of space.

The initial fold reveals a slide mirror and another cup holder and the usual sliding tray action. However if you try to work on it. I wouldn’t recommend it. As I was typing this away while the plane was in motion. The Mac Book Pro is too big for the table and when the seat in front reclines, it becomes very difficult to work. The power in the seat isn’t always on. Only when my battery was about to shut down did the power kick in. It allowed me an hour of charge before shutting down again. The table is only meant for the netbooks and probably the air. But definitely not the mac book pro. Hint hint, I should travel in business class.

My friend’s console kept rebooting it’s Red Hat Linux software and wouldn’t run so they transferred him to another seat. Which gave me and my other travelling companion a little more room to work with.

The plane runs quiet. Although I’m not sure if it’s the same on the main deck. The wings are enormous. There are multiple flaps to provide the pilot with complete control over the plane.

The service of Singapore Airlines is as always impressive and something to be modeled after. Their attentiveness and smile makes the trip bearable despite the kinks on the plane. Upon take off, the safety guide had to be done manually instead of the instructional video due to a glitch in the system.

This is truly a feat of engineering but I had hoped for more space. In fact, I think the Singapre airlines version is already the “roomier” version of the aircraft. I just hoped that there would be something more to do on board.

It’s already half way to London with another 6 hours to go. I’ll stand up and figure out something to do while on board. I’ll see if I can get a snack.

Baggage handling was pretty quick or we were very lucky. Our luggage came right on the heels of the business class people so that was a very lucky thing for us.

All in all this trip was very nice. I was able to sleep which is surprising. I usually don’t sleep on planes in economy class or when I’m travelling without my family. If I were given a choice to travel to London again. I would book it on this plane.

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