By Somali K Chakrabarti
India Embraces Airbus A380 – The news made headlines in Jan 2014.
India’s decision to allow Airbus 380 is a welcome decision for India’s aviation industry and for the global airlines that seek to further leverage India’s aviation market – one of the five fastest-growing markets in terms of additional passengers per year.
Consent to let the wide body double-decker plane fly into and out of India, sets the ground for ‘Big being Better’ for India’s aviation.
The world’s largest passenger aircraft, Airbus A380 that can seat 850 passengers in an all-economy configuration, and 550-600 passengers in a three-class configuration, is allowed to land at the airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, which are equipped with A380 enabled infrastructure including runway, taxiway and aerobridges, and also have higher peak hour handling capacities.
Singapore Airlines became the first carrier to launch commercial flights of A380 on Singapore-Delhi and Singapore-Mumbai routes, followed by Dubai-based Emirates Airlines that started daily A380 flights between Mumbai and Dubai. Lufthansa, not to stay behind to meet growing passenger needs, became the third airline to fly A380 planes to India on November 2014, starting A380 flights on the sought after Frankfurt-Delhi route.
Thus starts a new era in Indian aviation!
As India embraces the super jumbo A380, the wide winged bird prepares travelers for an amazing flight experience with unmatched levels of comfort, creating magic in the sky.
Expectations of regular Indian flyers
I decided to check out the expectations of Indian travelers in an international long haul flight and tweeted this question to some regular flyers.
What are your 4 key expectations in an international long haul flight?
Here’s what they had to say:
The features that these travelers seem to care about most are :
- Legroom space
- In-flight entertainment
- Food quality
- Cleanliness of toilets
- Support of crew members
- Storage space
- Fresh air
- Services (such as massage) to unwind the body and mind.
A survey conducted on 10,000 people in 2010 by Airbus company, indicated that the expectations of passengers from air travel in future was: cheaper, greener and more fun!
The survey, when conducted again in 2012, found that people expected future air travel to be more sustainable; less stressful; and more frequent. 66% people want quieter aircraft and almost 40% feel air travel (door-to-door) is increasingly stressful.
It appears that the aspirations of Indian flyers are converging with the aspirations of global travelers
Matching with the expectations of the Indian travelers on international long haul flights, here’s what the wide winger A380 has to offer:
1. Stress Free Flight
Take-off and landing are the most stressful experience for first time travelers and sometimes even for the veteran travelers; A380 ensures a smooth ascent during take- off and an astonishingly smooth landing.
Its four engines take this 560-ton airplane to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, a surprisingly smooth ascent for such a bulky plane. Passengers love it because it’s quiet and more reminiscent of a cruise ship than an airplane.
~ The New York Times, AUG. 9, 2014
A380 promises you a stress free flight in a peacefully quiet environment.
You can relax, enjoy some tranquil moments, or catch up on your sleep in absence of background noise in the world’s quietest large aircraft. You can avail some of the best in–flight entertainment, or you can spend your time working on board, preparing for your next meeting.
In line with the expectations of most flyers, A380 assures a comfortable flight with broader seats, more space to stretch out while sleeping and relaxing, better head room, wider stairs and aisles. The soothing environment, cabin air recycled every three minutes, natural light provided by 220 cabin windows, and four high-level air outlets (in place of two) will keep you refreshed throughout the flight. [Source: Airbus.com A380/Own The Sky/Cabin]
2. More Personal Storage
Passengers travelling with small children often need to pack a lot of personal stuff for use during the journey and so have the need for more personal storage space for hand luggage. A380 takes away some of this hassle by providing more space for personal storage.
When you travel with your family and kids, or when you travel on long term work visas, you would have found yourself adding things on to your luggage till the very last minute. At times, you might have paid extra for the excess baggage or might even have put away stuff at the airport to reduce luggage.
By late summer 2015, Lufthansa passengers on the long-haul fleet, flying between Bangalore and Frankfurt will have an option of flying the Premium Economy Class, which is an upgraded economy class with twice the permitted free checked in baggage allowance than in Economy Class.
Check out further details of Airbus A380 on the Lufthansa website. http://a380.lufthansa.com/TAKEPART/#/DE/EN/home
3. Stay Connected
Most airlines provide inflight wifi throughout the Airbus A380 that helps you to stay connected on board. You can surf the web, chat, send emails with attachments on your smartphone or laptop, or send SMS during the flight.
With Lufthansa’s FlyNet®, which is the world’s first broadband Internet service, you can buy a 24 hour pass with unlimited data for a reasonable cost (around 17 EUR). The hotspot sign in the cabin indicates that the aircraft is fitted with FlyNet®.
Emirates has inflight wifi, with usage based charges which work out slightly higher; Singapore Airlines too is installing wifi throughout their Airbus A380.
4. Transit with Ease
For transit passengers in long haul flights, flying with a bigger plane increases the likelihood of some co-passengers from the first leg of the flight, to continue travelling with you in the next leg of the journey. If you are a first time traveler on a long haul journey, this could be somewhat mentally reassuring as you see familiar faces in the connecting flights.
For regular travelers too, if you have a connecting flight to catch and want to know for sure which gate to go to whilst you are still on board, you can do so using inflight wifi. Lufthansa’s Flynet® portal lets you check the status of your onward flight or, if necessary, change your booking.
Lufthansa has a name for punctuality, reliability of transfer connections and efficient baggage services.
5. More Value at the same Price
A380 will allow the airlines to offer more passenger seats on various international routes to and from India, without significantly adding flights. The improved efficiency and capacity utilization at the airports will help bring down the fares, so you get a better flight experience while paying the same.
Providing for comfort, space, adequate meals, an extensive choice of hot and cold beverages, some of the nicest airplane bathrooms, doctors on board, a welcoming and warm crew, and with a focus on safety and setting records in punctuality, Lufthansa Airbus A380 caters to the global aspirations of Indian flyers.
So while you experience a new dimension in flying in the flagship carrier, you don’t really don’t have to pay more for it.
Boost for Indian Aviation
Besides bringing back some glamour to air travel, A380 will indeed herald a New Era in Indian aviation as:
- It would allow for the optimal use of the infrastructure at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, that was developed to handle A380 flights, and was so far lying unutilized.
- With the best cabin in the sky, A380 can win airlines that operate A380 in India, a larger share of growth.
- The A380s would improve the efficiency and capacity utilization and alleviate traffic congestion at busy airports.
- India would get more market access in UAE, Germany and Singapore for Indian goods and services.
So, if you want to join the grand Oktoberfest at Munich in 2015, or want to attend a trade fair in Germany, it might be worth planning ahead for a flight to Frankfurt with A380 Lufthansa – as the swan takes its flight.
Hundreds of people enjoy beer in one of the tents during the annual giant Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany
For all you know, you could be in ‘Love at First Flight’
PS : This post is my entry for Lufthansa A380 – The dawn of a new era #LufthansaA380 contest on Indiblogger .
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i) Lufthansa.com, Lufthansa sets punctuality record in 2013
ii) Airbus.com – Own The Sky/ Cabin
iv) NY times
v) Five Nicest airplane bathrooms – One Mile at a Time