A Small Tribute to the Airbus A380

Although I have fonder memories of Boeing’s 747 jet, the Airbus A380 holds a special place in my wallet heart.  Even though both will be discontinued by 2022, with the last fuselage for the Airbus A380 – nicknamed “A380” – was delivered to the Airbus assembly line in France two months ago, I can’t help but wax nostalgic about my first two A380 flights, with Emirates, Hong Kong (HKG) – Bangkok (BKK) – Hong Kong (HKG).

Embarrassingly, these photos are almost all from the second leg, Bangkok to Hong Kong, flight EK384, because my camera’s battery died on the flight to Bangkok.

The inconvenience of being a plane spotter at BKK (Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand)

Although Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate the A380, Emirates had quickly become the largest A380 operator, thanks to its conveniently located hub in the United Arab Emirates.

While working in China roughly ten years ago, I had read that Emirates was starting to operate its Dubai – Bangkok – Hong Kong route with the novel A380— capable of seating 517 passengers, incapable of social distancing.

It was precisely a combination of two things that led me to book a weekend hop to Bangkok from Hong Kong; limited-time introductory fares, and that fabled First Class shower, emblematic of the over-the-top ways the {Arabian/Persian} Gulf airlines tried to compete with one another.

Would I be flying on a private jet anytime soon?  No, so there was no way I could resist the profligate trip to Bangkok.

Dual Jetways at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

Since this is more of a focus on the A380 and less on the flight itself, I will be skipping commentary about the check-in experience and Emirates lounge at BKK.  Though, it was my first time walking down a jetway to the upper deck of a plane, which BKK had purposefully installed at a few gates for the A380.

Economy Class was entirely located on the lower deck, whereas the 14 First Class and 76 Business Class seats were all on the upper deck.  If the flight were longer, I would probably have stretched my legs on the steps a few times, but for these short hops, I just went to the lounge in the aft (back) section of the upper deck.  Unfortunately, I have no photos of the lounge, but if you are intrigued, check this out.

32-inch First Class Screen

Hey, Seat 1A…not bad!  Quite a giant screen for a flight, too.  Prior to flying with Emirates, I had always believed that Singapore Airlines offered the best in-flight entertainment (IFE).  EK takes that notion – regardless of class of service – and repeatedly squashes it.

First Class Seat 1A, Emirates A380

At the time, airlines were just fitting new Business Class seats with completely lie-flat beds; nowadays, First Class doesn’t have much on Business Class, save maybe for the quality of champagne served, or the mileage you earn.  When Turkish Airlines had its Premium Economy, I believe its combined soft and hard product even put to shame many contemporaneous Business Class arrangements.

One of many plates during my short A380 First Class flight, replete with the Emirates logo

As a culinary traveler, I may have gone a bit hogwild (pun unintended) during this flight. Arabic mezze?  YES.  Arabic coffee with dates?  YES.  Every possible dish on the in-flight menu?  YES.  Above, we have a crab and Thai mango salad, served with smoked salmon and even more Thai mango.

THE SHOWER

The pièce de résistance, the Emirates Airbus A380 First Class shower.  But that’s not even the half of it.  First of all, the bathroom was larger than my dorm rooms in both Tokyo and Hong Kong combined, though the water was as toxic as Hong Kong’s.  There was a timer in the shower, which was fine by me (I think you had a total of ten minutes per use…not sure how long you would have to wait for it to restart).

Best of all, using the shower during turbulence was awesome.

With that, I bid thee, oh’ new Airbus A380 a farewell, and simultaneously flip the bird to those long-range narrow-body jets.

Author: LearningFeelsGood

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me

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