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Oh, it's a big, pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels; why, it looks like a big Tylenol!
November 20, 2008 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Mark takes us on the A380 (warning: image heavy) from Dubai to New York with meticulous photographic detail. For $7300 you can fly the A380 with access to amenities like showers and a full-service bar, and stroll down to see the plebs in steerage. Arguably the last time a flying hotel was tried in earnest was the post-WWII Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, a staple of Pacific routes until jet-powered 707s appeared on the scene.
posted by crapmatic (90 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
For 7300 I could also pay my rent for a year.

I... um.. I...

[speechless]

/that's pretty awesome though
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:25 PM on November 20, 2008


Not all of the pictures on the first link opened for me, but the ones I did see were wow-inducing.

I'm curious, though, about how a venture like this can be profitable. Are there really that many insanely rich people in the world who would shell out for a flight like this on a regular basis? And, if they're rich enough to afford that kind of travel, don't they already have private jets?
posted by amyms at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2008


A separate jetway just for First-class? Nice.

The bar area looks pretty fun too. I wish they had bunks for regular people. Seems more efficient than the lie flat seats.

Looks like it's $6700 r/t for Business class, for a 12 or 14 hour flight. (Economy is $1800 r/t, First is $10,500 r/t).
posted by smackfu at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2008


fascinating post, crapmatic.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:35 PM on November 20, 2008


Reaction #1: orgasmic all-things-airplane-ophilia bug-eyed geek out, and immediate desire to hop aboard the next A380 that comes within range.

Reaction #2: what a perfect metaphor for, well, life. Airbus has performed a remarkable feat of engineering, essentially doubling the capacity of an airliner. And what is the result? Well, the same 300 people that would have crammed into a 777 before are now still crammed into the lower deck of the A380, but now a few extremely wealthy or lucky people can fly just above them in completely unnecessary luxury. Make no mistake: this isn't a technological revolution for everyone; this is taking a regular old jetliner, sticking a luxury hotel on top of it, and letting the peons partially subsidize the luxury of the upper (deck) class. (There is a reason that airlines did not have transatlantic luxury-class only flights - it simply isn't economical to have a plane full of first-class sleeper berths). Of sure, the peons are thrown the bone of a slightly improved video system to help them zone out and forget the aches and pains of their contorted bodies, but that's about it - and they can console themselves with the knowledge that they are, in fact, incredibly lucky to partake in this technological marvel, like the lonely old shut-in listening to the party in the apartment above him.
posted by googly at 1:36 PM on November 20, 2008 [14 favorites]


You know, I know I'm not special - but I am 6'4" - and last March I flew from Detroit to Johannesburg.. a flight that came in at right around 20 hours, give or take. And, because I am an average schlub, I flew coach. Two weeks later, I flew back to Detroit.

I will say that it was one of the most awful experiences of my life, and I do not make that claim lightly. It was like some sort of demented psychological experiment - the cramped space, the awful food, the dry, recycled air, the lights coming on and off, the random dings and bleets of the intercom system, waking me just as I had managed to find a position that would allow me to nap for a few scant minutes, the seat in front of me ramming into my knees over and over and over... It honestly and truly almost ruined an otherwise extraordinary vacation.

I had reoccurring nightmares for about six months when I returned home where I would wake to find myself still on the flight, still trapped, and I would wake up in a cold sweat.

It shouldn't be like that to visit other places.

And what I'm trying to say is I want to punch Mark in the balls.
posted by kbanas at 1:38 PM on November 20, 2008 [14 favorites]


amyms: The NY-Dubai flight is about 6850 miles. The only common private jet that can fly that far without refueling is the Gulfstream G550, which costs about $36 million. Even using a fractional ownership program like NetJets would run into the low millions. First class, expensive though it is, is vastly cheaper than a private flight, especially for long-haul routes.

As an aside, a few other jets can theoretically make the NY-Dubai flight but I would question their reserve capacity and thus ability to make the flight safely.
posted by jedicus at 1:40 PM on November 20, 2008


Is there a word in some language that combines envy and loathing (and a little self-loathing for being envious)?
posted by gottabefunky at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2008


Is there a word in some language that combines envy and loathing (and a little self-loathing for being envious)?

Apparently, it's kbanas.
posted by kbanas at 1:47 PM on November 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


And where do they keep the people who set things up and clean? Or do the flight attendants do all of that?
posted by gottabefunky at 1:48 PM on November 20, 2008


"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to [traverse] a planet [in style] is insignificant next to the power of [the working class revolt it will cause]." - Marx
posted by blue_beetle at 1:52 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


and last March I flew from Detroit to Johannesburg.. a flight that came in at right around 20 hours, give or take.

I do wonder if there is really any advantage to non-stop at that kind of distance. Stopping in Europe in the middle seems like it would be better for your sanity.

You don't find that many flights over 14 hours. My longest was NYC-Hawaii which was 12 hours and that was painful.
posted by smackfu at 1:54 PM on November 20, 2008


And where do they keep the people who set things up and clean?

They call them "airports".
posted by Brockles at 1:55 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


My only question is, what the hell is aloe vera-flavored yogurt?
posted by rtha at 1:58 PM on November 20, 2008


All bar seats should come with seatbelts.
posted by theCroft at 1:58 PM on November 20, 2008 [8 favorites]


A comfy roomy seat isn't the key to a good flight, it's the quantity and quality of pharmaceuticals ingested after takeoff that determines how good your long haul is going to be. I can assure you, I'd far far far rather sit in economy with quality sleeping pills than business or maybe even first without.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:00 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do wonder if there is really any advantage to non-stop at that kind of distance. Stopping in Europe in the middle seems like it would be better for your sanity.

You don't find that many flights over 14 hours. My longest was NYC-Hawaii which was 12 hours and that was painful.


To be fair, we did stop in Senegal - however, we were not allowed to deplane. Both there and back, we landed in Dakar, where a bunch of guys came on, pulled out each and every piece of overhead luggage and made sure it was attached to a specific person on the flight, and then turned over all our seat cushions.

Then we were allowed to continue.

It only made things better.
posted by kbanas at 2:00 PM on November 20, 2008


Mahogany toilet seats. Woo Hoo. My ass needs a treat now and then.
posted by Xurando at 2:02 PM on November 20, 2008


Damn that page is ridiculously bloated. Someone needs to tell that guy about the miracle of pagination. Every modern web site has it these days.
posted by mullingitover at 2:04 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are any other airlines going with the big super-deluxe first class section on the A380? I think most are just going to use the extra space to cram in more coach seats... Emirates is definitely trying to brand itself as a luxury airline.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:04 PM on November 20, 2008


you could pretty much cut that price in half if you i.e. knew someone at a huge company who could help you book a flight using a corporate discount (it doesn't hurt the companies to do this, which is why people do book flights for friends and family every now and then). miles and perhaps even location of booking may help as well.
posted by krautland at 2:04 PM on November 20, 2008


I had a New York to Tokyo direct flight once, that was about 15 hours. Tolerable with Xanax, beer and a nicotine patch, but not advisable. I'll definitely go via Vancouver if/when I go again.
posted by clevershark at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2008


I give them six months before they rip out all the waterfalls/showers/private berths in exchange for row upon row of sardine-style coach seating.
posted by Brodiggitty at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's fading into distant memories but in the mid-1990s, on transatlantic flights (Paris-Los Angeles, specifically) at the back of some planes and only in coach class you could find a fully stocked bar, with an airhostess serving, smoking allowed, and the top hats would come down and mingle with the plebs when they were showing the movies.
The mile high club flourished.
posted by ruelle at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2008


this is taking a regular old jetliner, sticking a luxury hotel on top of it, and letting the peons partially subsidize the luxury of the upper (deck) class.

I would argue that it's the other way around, actually. Upper-class airfares are almost never discounted; the $6700 or $10,500 as mentioned above doesn't typically fluctuate like coach fares do.

So, while I think it's completely obscene that there is in fact such a thing as a $10,000 airfare, when you stop to think about it there's not $8,700 worth of difference in goods and services to be gotten when flying first class v. sitting in coach. That $8,700 price difference between first and coach is what keeps the coach fare at $1800 or thereabouts.
posted by pdb at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2008


if they're rich enough to afford that kind of travel, don't they already have private jets?

Many probably do, but you can't just up and fly where you like outside your own country. Even the ultra-rich generally use public air carriers when flying internationally.


Even if I was a billionaire, I couldn't justify that expense though. I've flown long haul international flights many times and would dare say a business class upgrade is really almost worth it due to how much better I felt compared to flying coach. But damn, do you really need a polished wood toilet seat? Bring on the angry masses.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:17 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was faux wood on the loo.
posted by clevershark at 2:19 PM on November 20, 2008


I give them six months before they rip out all the waterfalls/showers/private berths in exchange for row upon row of sardine-style coach seating.

I was going to give them a year, actually, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were six months. This is, after all, what happened with the 747 way back when.
posted by pdb at 2:19 PM on November 20, 2008



A comfy roomy seat isn't the key to a good flight, it's the quantity and quality of pharmaceuticals ingested after takeoff that determines how good your long haul is going to be.


Jack: What do you take to fly?

Liz: Candy and magazines.

Jack: No no. Pills. Nobody flies without medication anymore. Why shouldn't you enjoy the same luxuries as a dog?

Liz: Comanaprosil? May cause dizziness, sexual nightmares, and sleep crime.

Jack: It's very good.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on November 20, 2008 [9 favorites]


A comfy roomy seat isn't the key to a good flight, it's the quantity and quality of pharmaceuticals ingested after takeoff that determines how good your long haul is going to be. I can assure you, I'd far far far rather sit in economy with quality sleeping pills than business or maybe even first without.
Which is fine if you are not responsible for a child on that flight.

We are going to be flying Melbourne to London soon, with my husband's new employer responsible for flights. I think (pray) we are entitled to premium economy, if not business class, and will be flying BA or Qantas. And I will demand a stop-over, unless they provide a nanny to care for the four year old who will be accompanying us (and we only have one, and a well behaved one. How do larger families cope I wonder).

And yeah, what Burhanistan said.
posted by Megami at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2008


Upper-class airfares are almost never discounted; the $6700 or $10,500 as mentioned above doesn't typically fluctuate like coach fares do.

Yeah, it was interesting when I looked that up. I did a mock booking in January on the Emirates site, and it didn't matter which dates I chose for Business or First, all the prices were the same. Contrast to economy, where there was a different prices for every close date. I guess there's just one bucket in Business and another in First.
posted by smackfu at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2008


The fog is growing thicker.... And Leon's growing LARGER!
posted by noriyori at 2:37 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


The only common private jet that can fly that far without refueling is the Gulfstream G550...

...and the Bombardier Global express along with the Dassault Falcon 7X.

a few other jets can theoretically make the NY-Dubai flight but I would question their reserve capacity and thus ability to make the flight safely.

As much as the A380 is a great airplane, it's nothing revolutionary in term of maximum range. The 777 200/300 ER/LR can cover the distance.
posted by racingjs at 2:42 PM on November 20, 2008


you could find a fully stocked bar, with an airhostess serving, smoking allowed, and the top hats would come down and mingle with the plebs when they were showing the movies. The mile high club flourished.

Right there at the bar?!?
posted by exogenous at 2:43 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fist class seating looks like a cube farm.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:50 PM on November 20, 2008


er...cubicle farm..
posted by doctor_negative at 2:50 PM on November 20, 2008


Airship Titanic.

If I'm spending ten grand on a method of transportation, at least stretch it out a bit. Let it linger, you know? None of this wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am travel, put me on a steamer where I can wear a top hat and a monocle and sip brandy while smoking large cigars.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:54 PM on November 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


I take it that this will not be featured on the new recession-era Colbert Report segment "Colbert Aluminum," which replaces "Colbert Platinum."
posted by raysmj at 2:55 PM on November 20, 2008


Man, that's a cherry ride, but I wouldn't want to be in the disaster film that this airplane will inevitably inspire.

Who am I kidding? Producers, call me. I'll be the guy who gets sucked out into space during the explosive decompression.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


We are going to be flying Melbourne to London soon, with my husband's new employer responsible for flights. I think (pray) we are entitled to premium economy, if not business class, and will be flying BA or Qantas. And I will demand a stop-over, unless they provide a nanny to care for the four year old who will be accompanying us (and we only have one, and a well behaved one. How do larger families cope I wonder).

The best compromise for Australia -> Europe for mine is to have a 5-6 hour stopover in Singapore. In that 5-6 hours book in to the hotel that's actually in the terminal, that way you get a decent sleep in an actual bed and a shower mid-flight but you don't have to mess around going through customs or waste a day of your trip somewhere you don't really want to go. Make sure you book ahead for the hotel though.

Of course if you're in Business and get the lie-flat seat it's not as much of an issue.
posted by markr at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2008


Faux walnut... chrome.... faux Marble... What happened to good design and reasonable taste?. Commissioned by Donald Trump on crack?

(Where did that gut get the BOAC VC10 t-shirt? I had that image on my bedroom wall as a child. I want it now.)
posted by marvin at 3:02 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll be the guy who gets sucked out into space during the explosive decompression.

Please, the chances of that happening are so remotely thin.

You'll just die of asphyxiation in a matter of minutes and then freeze. It's mighty chilly up there.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:03 PM on November 20, 2008


I will leap out the punctured hole in the airplane if I must.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:04 PM on November 20, 2008


Paging Mr. Tayshus. Austen Tayshus to the white courtesy phone.
posted by mandal at 3:07 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


When you stop to think about it there's not $8,700 worth of difference in goods and services to be gotten when flying first class v. sitting in coach. That $8,700 price difference between first and coach is what keeps the coach fare at $1800 or thereabouts.

True, and the same argument holds for the current setup - e.g., the guys paying $2000 for first class on a regular flight help keep the economy fares low. In a way, you can't have one without the other. I think what I was trying to get at was that the spoils of the extra space are not evenly divided in this case: the economy class ride still looks (from pictures at least) about the same; the expansion has merely added an extra super-luxury class, rather than made everyone's ride a little more tolerable. Check out the seatguru for the Emirates 777 3-class or 777 2-class versus the 380. At the risk of pushing the metaphor past the breaking point, it does really look like they have taken a few of the previous middle/upper class and given them luxury and extra-luxury accommodations; expanded the lowest class; and dispensed with the middle (formerly business/first) class altogether.
posted by googly at 3:10 PM on November 20, 2008


There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
posted by nitsuj at 3:47 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why not just bring back the Zeppelin? I'm sure modern design would allow a rigid lighter-than-airship to be lifted by helium instead of hydrogen, and it'd be just plain fun. We should totally do that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:49 PM on November 20, 2008


Why not just bring back the Zeppelin? I'm sure modern design would allow a rigid lighter-than-airship to be lifted by helium instead of hydrogen, and it'd be just plain fun. We should totally do that.

Various companies have promised this for over a decade. Lots of Popular Science articles but no damn zepplins.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:56 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


mullingitover, I liked that it wasn't paginated. All pagination really is for is driving up ad views.
posted by zsazsa at 4:09 PM on November 20, 2008


Never mind the damn plane - I am just so glad I was not the poor sap who ended up sitting next to the author and watching him take 30 pictures of his food.
posted by rongorongo at 4:11 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Faux walnut... chrome.... faux Marble... What happened to good design and reasonable taste?

Have you seen the QE2 lately? It looks like an "executive" meeting room in a Marriott Inn. We've fallen a long way from the Normandie
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on November 20, 2008


Looking at the business class pics pretty much puts me off ever flying again.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:14 PM on November 20, 2008


There are Zeppelins. There's one here in the Bay Area but it's not really any bigger than the Goodyear Blimp and it just gives one to two hour long tourist cruises that'll set you back between five hundred bucks and a grand.
posted by zsazsa at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2008


plebes in steerage?

who wants to wager the Airbus will be the next Titanic?
posted by liza at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2008


There was the new Zeppelin flying over San Francisco last week. I want to book a flight very much.

Earlier in the year was able to upgrade to first class on Virgin for $11.
I didn't want to the flight to end. My meal was better than most "nice" restaurants I have gone to lately. I was plenty drunk when I arrived and the seat next to me was empty.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:26 PM on November 20, 2008


Upper-class airfares are almost never discounted;

Not sure if it counts as upper-class, but discounts certainly exist for business class seats. They are readily available at major international hubs. i.e. Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore newspapers run - or at least ran - daily ads for travel agents that specialized in them. In out-of-the-way places, the trade-off is generally a stop-over - always an interesting option for long haul. I'll pick Amsterdam-Paris-Mumbai in a new l'espace affaires pod on just the complimentary champagne over AMS-Mumbai in KLM coach after taking the best drugs to be found in the point of departure any day of the week.
posted by magullo at 4:28 PM on November 20, 2008


And where do they keep the people who set things up and clean? Or do the flight attendants do all of that?

I thougt I read the a380 was the first jet to have a dedicated 'cleaning person' taking care of whatever clean-up is needed in the shower an elsewhere in-flight . Normally the FAs do this and then of course the heavy duty stuff is done at the airport.
posted by Catfry at 4:37 PM on November 20, 2008


i just went through the whole post over at a.net. there's only two words to describe the whole thing : airplane porn.

and wow HOLY FUCKING HELL WOW at the accommodation inequity between upper and lower deck. seriously, that airbus (or something like it) will be the Titanic of the 21st century.
posted by liza at 4:40 PM on November 20, 2008


Upper-class airfares are almost never discounted; the $6700 or $10,500 as mentioned above doesn't typically fluctuate like coach fares do.

you don't know what you're talking about.
posted by krautland at 4:57 PM on November 20, 2008


I enjoyed my steerage NY - Dubai flight. However I am 5'2"
posted by jessamyn at 5:20 PM on November 20, 2008


Thats a high enough population to get critical mass for class riots at 30,000 feet.
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:25 PM on November 20, 2008


I enjoyed my steerage NY - Dubai flight.

Even in "steerage" everyone gets fed several times, has a slick entertainment system, and a handy pullout footrest so it isn't quite as terrible as a domestic 737 or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:26 PM on November 20, 2008


Private to Marvin:

http://tinyurl.com/6hzs5y
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:36 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


who wants to wager the Airbus will be the next Titanic?

Icebergs at 30,000 ft?
posted by kcds at 5:45 PM on November 20, 2008


I detect a lot of jealousy in this thread.

It should be noted that, according to what I have read many times (and I shall look for references), most airlines make 70%-80% of their profits from business and first class travellers. So all this nonesense about "peons subsidizing the rich" is just that; nonsense.

I travel between 70,000 and 150,000 miles a year, all long-haul. Living in the most remote capital city in the world, but working for a global company and having a HQ based in the US, means I need to fly across the whole Australian continent (~4,000km), before my "real" long-haul flight of 14 hours, to San Francisco, even begins!

What's my point? My company only pays for economy class. Not even premium economy. Plain old economy. However, with so much travel I can usually upgrade to business class 90% of the time. It's well worth it. My airline is very soon changing its FF program, and in 2009 I will have to pay, as well as use miles, to upgrade. I will do this without question, as business class is so very much better than economy, on long-haul flights at least.

So stop bitching about those who pay for the luxury of business class. To me it's understandable; especially as most of the time its corporate funded anyway. First class? Seems rather opulent to me, but whatever... So is driving a $250,000 car and I see those every day in California.

Get over it.
posted by Mephisto at 6:13 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Gee, I thought there was surprisingly little of class angst so far.
posted by smackfu at 6:17 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. Especially considering the major shit-fit that was created the other day by raising the concept of how someone paying $25 for a meal in a restaurant in NYC is purely for 'privileged people'...

Suddenly a several thousand dollar premium to be a bit more comfortable for 14 hours is completely fine. How bizarre.
posted by Brockles at 6:23 PM on November 20, 2008


Hmmm, they might want to rethink their 404 message over at Airship Ventures.
posted by meech at 6:55 PM on November 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


i book people on the A380 at my current job. and yes, some in those first class "cabins".

yet, i am gonna get laid off in january.

me, bitter? not really. irony is good for the blood.

that said, emirates really does offer a vastly superior product to most of what's out there - even in coach class.

a couple co-workers got to take a short-haul flight on the EK A380 (SFO-LAX). they said it was awesome; even the coach compartments had a nice layout and were very comfortable. i had the airliners site on my screen earlier, and travel agents in my office all clustered around and ogled.

responding to a comment above about virgin america, i recently flew a short trip and was... underwhelmed. major "meh" factor. a few purple lights and seat-back screens do little to wow me. it was like being at a gap store in the sky.

still, it was better than united.
posted by lapolla at 7:00 PM on November 20, 2008


Are parachutes allowed as carry-on baggage on international flights?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:06 PM on November 20, 2008


However I am 5'2"

Kind of of a big thing. I'm just under 6'1 and very ..wide framed. Not terribly fat mind you, but my legs and shoulders kinda spaz out everywhere. I had a Budapest to London flight that was sheer, unrelenting torture because the seats where so pinched and small and uncomfortable.

That's not even 4 hours and I was all hunched over and cramped and wanting to never visit central Europe again under any circumstances ever. It was that bad.
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 PM on November 20, 2008


i recently flew a short trip and was... underwhelmed.

Virgin America is a bit, eh, but the Virgin network is so pleasant to deal with, so considerate of passengers, and so well equipped that I feel I have to defend them.

They're the only airline I've dealt with that doesn't seem to actively hate their human cargo and the entertainment options in Prole class are top notch. (God, try doing a USAIR flight, it's like being trapped in the 80s. The bad 80s. Like pastel pink sponge effects bad. *shudder*).
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the height issue and its bearing on airline comfort cannot be understated. I spent 10 hours on a flight to Brazil in relatively roomy (compared to the zillion shorter haul flights I go on a year) seat, and I still had cramp most of the way there. For some reason, having your head near the top of those seats makes all the curves and stuff impossible to reach to rest your head to sleep. If you don't have one of those piles pillows/inflatable toilet seat things, it is hell. Even with them, it's shitty to try and sleep. Not to mention only having one option of how to sit as your legs touch the seat in front and any alternative just leaves your legs in your next door neighbours space.

I had two seats on the way back, and even that was bloody uncomfortable.

In short haul (The regional Embraer ones with the single seat on one side are the worst) I have to take all the magazines out the pouch to fit my legs in at all, never mind comfortably. They suck monkey balls, those damn things.
posted by Brockles at 7:18 PM on November 20, 2008


So does JFK have that wacky 3 jetway setup to handle the A380?
posted by smackfu at 7:19 PM on November 20, 2008


Nice accommodations, but to me, traveling in luxury means not having a digital camera up to my face every 2-3 minutes.
posted by klarck at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2008


I give them six months before they rip out all the waterfalls/showers/private berths in exchange for row upon row of sardine-style coach seating.

I agree. I'm picturing Tower Air with an A380, basically packed to the max with seats, no partitions, blocked toilets, and brusque F/As. It's gonna happen... a Tower Air future has happened with every plane type except Concorde. Emirates will probably do less of a sardine deal with more amenities, and AA and UA will be flying it cross country -- with ONE boarding gate, of course.

Then we'll look back at this pictorial and think of the golden era of the A380.
posted by crapmatic at 7:59 PM on November 20, 2008


Man, that's a cherry ride, but I wouldn't want to be in the disaster film that this airplane will inevitably inspire.

WHERE DID YOU PUT HER?
posted by cillit bang at 8:15 PM on November 20, 2008


> You don't find that many flights over 14 hours.

Euro-Amero-centric thinking. I live in Australia - flights to anywhere in the world further than South East Asia are over 14 hours.
posted by crossoverman at 8:21 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Devils Rancher,

While I'd like to bring back Zeppelins as well, I did some research the other week, after finding this poster online.

That led me to find this flight schedule, which includes pricing. The 5 day flight from Friedrichshafen to Rio de Janeiro was 1500 R.M. in 1934.

According to historic dollars-to-marks pricing, the R.M. averaged 2.54 to the dollar in 1934, so that price would be about $590.55.

According to the CPI inflation calculator, that would be $9056.98 in 2007 dollars. (Little wonder, the Graf Zeppelin only carried 20 passengers at a time! And 40 crew!)

So right now, it looks like even if someone were to bring back Zeppelins, it appears likely that I could not afford to travel that way, assuming costs are similar.
posted by fings at 8:21 PM on November 20, 2008



I will say the side window storage bins open too easily, your arm tends to move off of the arm rest and end up on the storage bin, usually making it open!


I chose the Californian Ridge red, an excellent choice which I stuck with through out the flight, very drinkable.
The lower deck as you may know is all economy, mostly a 3-4-3 layout. The seat pitch appears to be quite generous, say 33 or 34, however, if travelling in this class, try and snag the forward section which ends at row 50, that’s the most private/smallest cabin.
I noted the rear lavatories had queues at least 10 deep at one point, nice.
Took the chicken this time, followed by the cheese plate, all went well except the wine never managed to arrive, nor did the port to go with the cheese, the error was realised but by then everything was pretty much eaten.
Wheels touched down at 16:30, not the smoothest landing ever though, I think he planted the plane rather than kissed the runway!


God, what a fucking pretentious prick!
posted by c13 at 8:50 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are parachutes allowed as carry-on baggage on international flights?

Only if they're golden.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:21 PM on November 20, 2008


Flipped duck- Thankyou for that.

The Whelk- I have seen the QE2 recently- It's a tragedy. This is how it was when it was first built.
posted by marvin at 9:27 PM on November 20, 2008


It is *so* time for "Airport '09".

WHERE THE HELL IS GEORGE KENNEDY?
posted by mazola at 10:24 PM on November 20, 2008


Very impressive, though there are more budget ways to enjoy a stay in an hotel on that there A380, moi luvvers . . .

(insert bad British regional joke apology below)
...
posted by protorp at 11:27 PM on November 20, 2008


Whoa.

I spent a few months right out of college sleeping on sofas and in sleeping bags on various people's floors. I spent a week sleeping across the uneven front seats of my tiny little truck with buckles jammed in to my side. I eventually acquired a tiny room and spent a year and a half fretting over rent. Frugality became one of my best companions, and I learned to strangle the yearning for material things. Dreams of wealth learned to stay away from my mind.

I also hate, hate, hate flying. I'd rather spend chilly 24 hours on an Amtrak train with constant rail clattering than be in an airplane with constant droning and claustrophobia and fear of falling out of the sky.

That said, I have never been so gripped by lust for something so extravagant as I was this afternoon while drooling over the pictures in this post. I finally understand why anyone would want obscene amounts of money.

Okay. Wait. I just checked again the picture I thought was the tipping point for me. I totally thought that little plate of nuts and wine he had for a snack was a plate of little clams and wine. I love mollusks. So. I guess I can quit looking at my savings account balance in despair. Cause without little clams and wine it totally ain't worth it.
posted by Mister Cheese at 12:35 AM on November 21, 2008


So right now, it looks like even if someone were to bring back Zeppelins, it appears likely that I could not afford to travel that way, assuming costs are similar.

Oh, you're no fun anymore.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:41 AM on November 21, 2008


That said, I have never been so gripped by lust for something so extravagant as I was this afternoon while drooling over the pictures in this post. I finally understand why anyone would want obscene amounts of money.

A.net will do that sometimes. Check this out

You got the private jet, the waiting Maybach, and the attractive female 'personal assistant' making sure everything is just right.
That's an engine for envy if ever there was one.
posted by Catfry at 5:06 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


rtha: My only question is, what the hell is aloe vera-flavored yogurt?

That's hand lotion, dummy.

posted by dr_dank at 6:01 AM on November 21, 2008


Why not just bring back the Zeppelin? I'm sure modern design would allow a rigid lighter-than-airship to be lifted by helium instead of hydrogen, and it'd be just plain fun. We should totally do that.

Except helium is much less buoyant than hydrogen. I just rode on the "largest Zeppelin in the world" a week ago. I looked for the snooker room and ladies cookie lounge, but apparently "largest in the world" means seats for twelve and two pilots.

(it was still awesome.)
posted by oneirodynia at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2008


I fly a fair bit, 20-30 sectors a year -- and a chunk of it is intercontinental: this year I made three trans-Atlantic flights -- and it's basically business flying.

Economy class is okay for short-haul (including UK to East Coast USA), but my pain threshold is about five hours sitting in a cramped seat. Up to five hours is okay, beyond that it gets uncomfortable, anything above 8 hours is really unpleasant. (UK to West Coast USA is just plain nasty in economy. Wipes me out for three days after the flight.) On intercontinental journeys, business class isn't so much about seeking out luxury as it is about avoiding pain.

That's not to say that I pay full whack for business class. There are discounts available if you shop around and are flexible on your travel dates. Two years ago, I did Australia. Flying Qantas, economy return was £1100, economy-plus was £1800 ... and the cheapest business class seat was £2100 return. In contrast, the rack rate for business class was around £8500 -- in case anyone was stupid enough to throw money at the airline, I suppose. From my point of view, I spent £1000 to avoid two days of excruciating discomfort (and several days of down-time for recovery). If I had to spend eight times that fare, I guess I simply wouldn't bother travelling.

Anyway. What I'm trying to say is: for really long journeys, if you're old/unfit/crumbly the extras in business class may mean the difference between travelling and not being able to travel at all. But on the other hand, it's not necessarily as expensive at it looks at first glance -- shop around!
posted by cstross at 9:40 AM on November 21, 2008


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