Thursday, June 17, 2010

Singapore Airlines Sex-Ban on New A380 Planes

WSJ reports:
Though it has been a slow-seller with airlines, the $300 million Airbus A380 has been a hit with travelers. Jason Digby and his wife Susanne came to New York a day early from Mississippi just to connect to the double-deck jet that is the largest passenger airplane in the sky. Even after 32 months, enthusiasts still seek out the airplane with the giant forehead, and airlines say it draws stronger bookings and higher prices than other wide-body jets.

Some people just want to say they've flown the behemoth, which can carry more than 500 passengers. "It made the flight seem short. I wish it had been longer," said Mr. Digby after landing in Paris on Air France Flight 7, on his way to a vacation in Crete. He was dazzled by the A380's unique tail-mounted camera, which gives a birds-eye view of the plane and everything in front of it during takeoff, landing and throughout the flight. Fliers are also amazed at what it doesn't have—all the engine noise...

Still, amenities on the A380 haven't quite lived up to their pre-production hype. The company touted grand visions of luxuries on board, pitching the A380 as a flying hotel or cruise ship, with duty free shops on board, restaurant-style dining areas or even gyms, casinos and beauty parlors. But demand for cheap tickets prompted airlines to be more conventional.

So for the most part, they opted for lots and lots of seats, with an occasional stand-up bar for premium passengers. A few exceptions: Singapore Airlines offers first-class suites—private cabins with double beds (the airline has a no-sex policy). Emirates has a shower cabin installed on its A380s for first-class passengers. (You get 25 minutes in the shower cabin with five minutes of water.)
WSJ has a slideshow here.

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