Thursday, May 12, 2011

Some Plaudits for the Lufthansa A380

Newspapers are getting smaller all the time, which means newspaper articles are of necessity getting shorter. My 11 May San Francisco Chronicle ( piece on the maiden flight of Lufthansa's A380 superjumbo service between San Francisco and Frankfurt omitted responses to the plane from business-class passengers I talked to. I thought I'd pass along some of their comments, as the jolly bunch I was with on the inaugural flight liked what the airline has done with the aircraft.

Sitting next to me on flight LH 454 was Judith van Walsum, who works for the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Group. The Dutch-born executive flies between Frankfurt and the San Francisco Bay Area once a month as part of her assignment to help integrate Genentech into Roche, which bought the South San Francisco biotechnology pioneer in 2009.

"It's very impressive, van Walsum said of the A380. "The sheer size of it. It's very quiet. There is a lot of personal storage space. I like the way the cabin is divided; it has an openness but it feels intimate.'' Lufthansa puts translucent screens between sections of its mammoth business class cabin.

San Francisco International Airport Deputy Director Kandace Bender liked the spaciousness on the big plane - the world's largest civilian passenger jet. "I think it's the high ceilings,'' she mused. "And it's very quiet for its size.''

With its environmentally attuned features - the A380 burns less fuel and is quieter than other widebodies, Bender ventured to say "I do think it's a good aircraft for San Francisco.'' San Francisco thinks of itself as very green, indeed.

Anyway: Good airplane. Good airline. I'd take the flight again.

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