Several months ago I had the pleasure of visiting four countries, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Dubai and England, and all the flights were done on a brand new airplane. Not just any airplane, but the Emirates Airways new A380 Airbus. I normally write about the locales I visit, but having spent more than 20 hours (over four weeks) on this luxury aircraft, I thought it would be interesting to share not the destination, but the manner in which one arrives there.
My annual travels averaged over 50 plus flights a year, and I have become familiar with most airplanes and airlines. It was my first Emirates flight, but certainly not my last. The plane, which seems to hover slowly when landing, was larger than anything I had ever seen. The A380 is three times as long as a Boeing 737. In fact, the tail alone is nearly the same width as the 737’s wingspan. The sight was simply amazing, and when the plane landed, I realized how immense it truly was.
The inside of the craft is unbelievable. When fully outfitted for economy the A380 Airbus can hold more than 800 passengers. This particular plane was divided into First, Business and Economy classes. Needless to say, I was in economy, but sat in the first or second row in the front of the lower level (yes there are two stories).
The economy section is much finer than most airplanes I have travelled on. Adjustable headrests, more space and a sliding base allowing deeper seat recline, meant more comfort for passengers. Each seat features a personal digital widescreen TV with over 2,000 channels of on-demand entertainment. During one flight I did not want to de-plane, as I was enthralled by the entertainment on the 17 inch screen in front of me. An in-seat power supply for laptops, dual port USB and extra-large table, provide a comfortable workspace for pleasure or business.
Moving to Business Class adds a level of luxury never imagined. Your seat extends to form a flatbed up to two metres long. The seats include personal storage, massage features and a privacy divider. For your convenience, every seat has access to the aisle, as well as access to the 2,000 channels of entertainment, available on a 17" Digital widescreen TV. To add to your personal comfort you, will find a built-in mini-bar in every seat.
As if that was not enough, a third level of travel, First Class, has been added for the traveller who wants it all. Enjoy your own sanctuary in spacious private suites, each equipped with an electrically operated sliding door, a personal mini-bar, adjustable ambient lighting, and its own vanity table, mirror and wardrobe.
Every seat has a built-in massage system, with adjustable speed and intensity. The seat converts to a fully flat bed with a mattress, so you can arrive at your destination relaxed and refreshed; all this for only $14,000 return from Toronto to Dubai.
Features such as dine on demand and a 23 inch TV turn your suite into your personal private space. Oh, did I mention a shower? Yes, there are two in the First Class section, however, you can only use them for twenty minutes at a time, something I can’t even do at home, as the well would run dry.
I remember when I first came to Canada, my dad took me to Malton Airport to see the magnificence of the ‘new’ DC8 as it dwarfed the tarmac. Years later, we went to see the first 747 when it touched down in Toronto. The A380 is yet another step in the unending quest for larger and faster. Who knows what the future will bring, perhaps a plane so large you can enter in the rear, walk to the front and be in Europe.
I should touch on the comfort of the flight itself. If I had not peered out of the window I would not have known that we had taken off or landed. There was absolutely no turbulence on any of the legs I took. I look forward to my next journey aboard this new level of travel. I hope they don’t mind singing n the showers.
Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel TV show can be watched on RogersTV and YouTube. To follow Jonathan’s travel adventures visit photosNtravel.com