Air France took delivery of their first Airbus A380 this morning with an inaugural flight from Hamburg to Paris. The carrier is the first European operator of the type and the fourth globally. The promo photos certainly make it look pretty, but there are some scary realities that come with it. The plane is expected to begin transatlantic operations at the end of November on the New York – Paris route.
The Air France configuration is, by about 15%, the most densely packed of the seating layouts seen to date. Sure, it could be worse – Emirates has suggested an all-coach configuration for some regional flights – but this is the most packed the plane has shown up thus far. And despite claims that Premium Economy is the best money maker for airlines Air France has chosen to not add that cabin of service to the plane. It is hard to tell if that is a comment on the value of that cabin on flights or something else, but it is an interesting development, especially considering that they already have a similar product, Alize, on several of their aircraft.
Either way it is always nice to see new planes entering service. One of these days I’ll manage to fly on one of the A380s. And next week I get to visit the assembly line and see where they’re made!
(Photo from FlightGlobal/TwitPic)
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