Showing posts with label A380. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A380. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2016

British Airways A380 First Class

OR Tambo Airport (JNB) leaves much to be desired. As the main international gateway to southern Africa, the airport should at least provide some basic comforts. Things it’s missing include decent air conditioning, practical signage, genuine copies of Microsoft Windows, and basic queue management. It does have an observation room (good idea) upstairs (bad idea) and down a winding administrative hallway. The duty free shopping was spectacular because the booze prices were ridiculously low.
A380 Stairs Up To Business Class
My flight from Cape Town landed on time and I retrieved my checked bag (bags weren’t making connections due to a strike) and went for a 15 minute walk to the British Airways (UK) check in counter. It was closed. To kill time I took a stroll to the observation deck. There was little to see, so I went back to the check in desks and read a book while sitting in front of the first class check in counter. Check in starts 3 hours before the first departure, not a minute sooner despite staff being present.  
My Aircraft to London
Check in didn’t take long and the trip through security and customs wasn’t terrible (it’s a zoo in the evening). After my disappointing lunch on my flight to JNB, I went directly to the BA first class lounge for a proper meal. I was one of 5 people there and found a nice seat with an outlet and view of the terminal (only view offered). I grabbed a Scotch and some cold cuts.  The hot food buffet didn’t look appetizing. I wound up being hungry enough to not mind snacking and Castle Lager. As departure neared, the lounge filled up. Really, there were 28 first class seats on BA flights that day and there were easily 60+ people in the small space. There were 5 open seats and 0 open outlets when I left for a stroll. The business class lounge was standing room only and a mess. The customs line seemed more relaxing.
First Class Seat
This ground experience was not up to Lufthansa standards. My trip in 2013 on Lufthansa is my only time on a proper international first class. They set the bar very very high. From arrival at the airport through baggage claim, the experience is superb. BA could still win me over because I was booked on an 11 hour A380 flight with a connection at their new Heathrow terminal. 
Ample Space Up Front
Power Window Shades
BA’s A380 first class cabin is massive. Other airlines fit 52 economy seats it the lower deck between doors 1 and 2. British Airways only accommodates 14 first class seats in the same area. The personal space is wonderful and there is a strong sense of privacy. There is also ample storage space with a personal closet and overhead bins. I was offered Champagne after storing my stuff then presented with a pajama set and amenity kit. I settled in and started to familiarize myself with the gadgets. Power window shades, large tv, the seat adjustment knob (it was milled aluminum and felt great to touch), and on and on. I was in for a treat.
Seat Adjustment Knob
View From my Seat
The captain’s welcome about announcement mentioned that our aircraft was two months old. Soon after the lead flight attendant came by to welcome me, give an introduction to the service plan, and ask if there was anything special I might require on the journey. I was excited and ready to take it all in.
Evening Meal Service
Blue Cheese Pear
The drink service started right after takeoff. I went with Johnnie Walker Blue. First class passengers can dine when they wish. I wanted to dine as soon after takeoff to maximize my sleep. The service and food were great. I also enjoyed listening to A History of English Speaking Peoples over dinner. My flight was oozing of British-ness. I easily slept for 7 hours after the meal service. I enjoyed the English breakfast before landing and was sad my flight was ending.  It was an outstanding flight with a great onboard product.
Beer For Breakfast - I Had a Long Connection

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

QANTAS A380 Dallas to Sydney Business Class Review

I booked my round the world trip because of this flight. Premium cabin award space between North America and Australia/New Zealand is rare and it is not a flight to attempt in coach.  It was the longest flight in the world too when I booked QF8, DFW-SYD. Emirates launched a flight to Auckland two weeks before my trip, so it wasn’t the longest flight available when I flew it.  I was still excited for 17+ hours in QANTAS business class.
Upright Seat at Start of Trip
Yes, It Slops Down
Another View
QANTAS launched their A380 service in 2008. The aircraft interior has not been updated (excluding maintenance) since.  Slightly angled flatbed seats were an average offering in 2008, but now feel dated. The TV’s are small and lower definition than newer planes.  The feeling of privacy is also limited in business class.  The seat is firm, the duvet added for flight helps slightly, but the flight was long enough to get 7+ hours of rest.  The pajamas, or sleepy suit in Australian, were a fun touch, but not the most comfortable item to wear.  It also made a rush on the lavatories after breakfast to change (remember to change before landing; wearing pajamas in the lounge is a major faux pas).
Cool Flight Map
This was my first flight every on QANTAS and had high expectations from my brother and his adventures around Australia two years ago.  The service and food were disappointing.  The flight attendants were brief, almost curt, in their service.  My pre-ordered steak was very well done.  I picked at a sandwich later that was ok.  British Airways’ premium economy food was on par with QANTAS business.
View from 19K
Over Cooked Steak
I enjoyed the lounge in the front of the upper deck.  I sipped a beer while reading and spreading out.  I was less interested when chatty people found it later in the flight.  I also went down stairs to stretch my legs and get the blood flowing. 
A380 Lounge
I Love Stairs on Planes

I expected more from a foreign carrier.  The business class experience is 8 years old and needs to be replaced.  Upgraded food service is an easier task that also needs to be done.  It was a good use of 65,000 American miles, but my expectations surpassed QANTAS's offering.
Small TV
Beer With Breakfast
Window View

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

First Class Fun on QANTAS

It's better to fly first, especially in an emergency. The guy on the safety card seems to enjoy the brace position.
Remember to Wink and Smile in an Emergency

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lufthansa A380 First Class Review

I flew on Lufthansa's A380 in first class before I started this blog and it was an amazing experience.  A friend asked me to write a post on it and let the pictures tell the story, so here goes.

In 2011 I used some United miles for a Luftastic flight experience and a few days in Copenhagen.  I was able to find a first class seat on the new A380 from SFO to FRA and I quickly built my trip around that award space outlier (I used ANA to search, but would work too).  I also wanted the Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience in Frankfurt and grabbed a FRA-DTW flight in the antiquated A330 first class (more later).  The DEN-SFO, DTW-DEN, and FRA-CHP-FRA flights were wide open and easy to make work.  A quick call to reservations and I was booked.

Lufthansa's A380 first class is an amazing product that puts United to shame.  The seat is outstanding with ample space.  It reclines into a fully flat bed and the flight attendants will make your bed while you change into your special Lufthansa PJ's. 
A380 First Class Seat and Personal Space
View From 2A
Flight Attendants Made My Bed, Then I Messed It Up
Lufthansa's flight attendants are the best I've encountered. The crews always proper and polite.   They also seem to genuinely care about your flight experience. I wish I could fly with them every trip.  They even helped explain the caviar service (it was my first time). The food was amazing.  The eggs and super crispy bacon (by request) were cooked fresh and better than room service.  
Post Departure Snack and Blue Label
Caviar Service
Salmon Fillet
Made to Order Breakfast, With BACON!
The cabin is unlike anything else.  There is increased humidity to help you feel refreshed.  The sound absorbing material was great, it was as loud as regular airliners when I wear earplugs or Bose noise cancelling headphones.  The bathroom is epicly huge.  The electric window shades were a fun touch too.
A380 Bathroom, It's Huge
First Class Lavatory
First Class Cabin Forward Section
I was disappointed to hear the captain announce we were 20 minutes from landing and I can't wait for my next Lufthansa A380 flight in first class.  
Morning Light