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
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Film follows park rangers in the Congo
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...
£13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...