Friday, May 13, 2011

Lufthansa Brings the Big Bird to San Francisco

Back on Oct. 25, 2007, I took a ride on the first scheduled commercial flight of the superjumbo Airbus A380 - SQ Flight 380, on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Sydney. I hadn't been on the big bird since.

That all changed Tuesday, when I took Lufthansa Flight 454 from Frankfurt to San Francisco on another A380, one of six operated by the big German carrier (, which aims to have 15 A380s in use by 2015. I wrote about this week's trip for the San Francisco Chronicle business section; the print version of the story was published on 11 May, and the online version is posted at the Chronicle's affiliated Web site,

Because I wrote about the first flight in detail for the Chron, I won't go into a lot of detail here. I'll just mention that the ride was quiet considering the enormous size of the plane. The enormity of the A380 made all but the strongest turbulence irrelevant, so the trip was nearly all smooth sailing - er, flying - and the big windows and ample personal storage space in business class was comfortable and practical. It's not quite as ample as the combined seatside and overhead bins on the upper deck of the Boeing 747-400, but it's plenty big.

Lufthansa has installed eight sumptuous first class seats, down from 16 in first class on some of its other aircraft types. The A380 seats are beautiful, and the two washrooms in first class are large enough and pretty enough to put many home bathrooms to shame. Most passengers won't see them, as first and business class are isolated on the upper deck of the huge doubledecker aircraft from the economy seats, all of which are on the lower deck.

When the plane touched down at San Francisco International Airport ( just before noon, many of the fliers on board burst into applause. And why not? This represents the first daily scheduled A380 service at SFO; Lufthansa will be joined for the summer by Air France A380 service. On other routes, Singapore, Emirates and Qantas fly the big bird; Korean Air will become the sixth airline to fly this superb aircraft when it launches service between New York JFK and Seoul-Incheon this summer.

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