BA enters SuperJumbo age with... with a 90-minute flight to Frankfurt
Passengers at Heathrow surprised to find themselves aboard British Airways' newest plane - the Airbus A380
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Friday 02 August 2013
Passengers turning up at Heathrow for a routine departure to Frankfurt were surprised to find themselves aboard British Airways' newest plane. Instead of an old Boeing 767, they stepped aboard the Airbus A380, for a 90-minute flight to Frankfurt.
At 7.14am, BA entered the SuperJumbo age when its first commercial service using the new jet took off.
The airline took delivery of the double-deck aircraft last month. For the past few weeks it has mainly been shuttling between Manston in Kent and Vatry airport in France as flight crew familiarise themselves with the aircraft.
In order to give cabin crew and ground handlers experience of the jet, it is now being deployed on short-haul flights - starting with BA902 to Germany's financial centre. Frankfurt was chosen because it is a high-frequency destination from Heathrow, and the airport is already well accustomed to handling the A380.
The flight carried only one-third of its maximum passenger capacity of 469, to allow the airline flexibility if it needed to replace the A380 with a smaller aircraft at short notice.
All passengers were accommodated on the lower deck; those carrying Club Europe tickets were able to enjoy lie-flat business-class beds on the short flight.
A spokesman for BA said: “We are confident our customers will enjoy the space and comfort on board the aircraft”. The A380's first long-haul route is scheduled for 24 September, from Heathrow to Los Angeles. It will also serve Hong Kong and Johannesburg.
Emirates chose the same day to celebrate five years of flying the A380. All its five daily services from Heathrow to Dubai use the SuperJumbo.
BA had made no official announcement about the Frankfurt flights, but rumours had abounded in aircraft enthusiast circles. Showing scant regard for the rules on the use of phones in flight, the “Dutch A380 Fan Club” tweeted: “Hello live from onboard the British Airways Airbus A380!! This is what I've been waiting for!!”
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
The 50 Best spas
South Africa's new travel rules: From October, families with under-18s will need to show their birth certificates
Weary? In need of some sun? Relax and unwind with a trip to... Iraqi Kurdistan
Harder, better, faster, longer: The best rollercoasters in the world
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
£30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...