1:56 PM

NYT breaks
down what
it's like to ride
in the A380

O.K. admit it, you've all been wondering just what it must be like to fly in the behemoth Airbus A380, the jetliner roughly the size of a small country. Well, I did not get invited to the media flight today above the snow-capped Pyrenees near Toulouse, France, but The New York Times' Mark Landler did, and he writes a very good article about the ride here.

Here are a few of the more delectable tidbits:

You can fit 35 million Ping-Pong balls in an A380, according to John J. Leahy, called a “master salesman” at Airbus. He also stated that the plane weighs about the same as 500 Volkswagen Golfs. Landler also points out that the A380 has a fuselage as long as eight London double-decker buses, that the 62-foot wingspan has enough room to park 70 cars, and that the plane, loaded for takeoff, is 118 TONS heavier than a Boeing 747.
Landler tells it like he sees it too about a couple of A380 cabin “features”:
The overhead bins were not roomy enough, and the laminated safety cards are designed to ensure they are read only by children. One mystery, on a flight buffeted by gusty wind: there were no airsick bags in the seat pockets.
As the A380 lumbers towards its first official deliveries, I imagine more and more people will grow to accept its enormity – but I will not be one of them. I believe there is a limit to how big you can build a jetliner, and with the A380, Airbus has crossed over into unknown territory.

Yes, it flies, and yes, it can carry lots of people. But will the experience be any better, or will the tickets be any cheaper because they were able to cram over 800 souls into the pressurized tube? And if something this big carrying this many bodies does ever go down, no matter what the press releases say, it will be a textbook cluster f**k trying to get out when that many terrified pax have the same idea about emergency egress.

Sorry, but for my money, I'd stick with Boeing's business model. Smaller, more fuel efficient jets like the Dreamliner are my vision of tomorrow's commercial air travel, not a flying version of Cleveland.

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