I thought the A380 was designed to fit into the same space as a 747? (ISTR an 80-metre wingspan allowance.) Is it significantly heavier than a 747, then, enough to need stronger runways?
I know they designed two of the new gates at Pearson airport in Toronto to accommodate the A380, and I get the impression that these gates can have boarding tubes at both cabin levels of the plane. Can the A380 use a regular 747-type gate on one level, just at reduced efficiency?
In my minds’ eye I’ve already seen the logical endpoint of the “cattle class” trend. In the future, after passing through security, all passengers will be locked into plastic carriers (just like for carrying a dog or cat, but sized for a prone human being) and the carriers will be loaded onto the plane in large racks. Each [del]cage[/del] delux transportation module will have a water tube and a tray of crackers or pretzels or something. Everyone will hate it, but the airline will make a fortune because they won’t need to hire stewardesses or air marshals, and since they’ll be the cheapest carrier, all the businesses will make their employees use them. Any airline that doesn’t adopt the “flying zoo” model will be driven out of business.
Rich people will fly in smaller planes that cost ~$1000 per ticket, but treat you decently. (ie, you get a seat! How cool is that?!)
I don’t think you quite grasp the philosophy of the air travelling public. You claim these crates will be imposed by businesses on their employees. Unnecessary. Assuming the tickets are marginally cheaper, people will be lining up around the corner to buy tickets while the “premium airline” with seats will have crickets chirping. An odd quirk of airline marketing is that a substantial portion of people don’t seem to care at all about anything other than price and secondly, travel time. Airlines have tried to probe for the bottom on this trait and no one has hit it yet so they keep trying. People really do care about quality in restaurants and other things but not so much for airlines. It just comes down to a price sort on Expedia and then CLICK-SUBMIT.
I remember when even some coach cabins actually had lounges to give people a place to get away from their seats for a bit, and there were free hot meals and all that, but have the seats actually gotten any worse than they used to be? I don’t fly often, so I would presumably be a good judge since I would notice the change over several years more clearly. But I didn’t. The last time I flew, almost exactly a year ago, I didn’t seem to have any less legroom than the previous time, eleven years ago, and then before that I flew at least once every couple of years
Could it be that the seats are the same, but people are getting bigger? And I don’t only mean wider, but taller too. Seems like every other guy around is at least six two and there seem to be a lot of guys who are like six-six and six-eight, and 20 years ago I didn’t feel that short. I come up to these guys’ chests; I can well understand why they would be uncomfortable on a plane.
the 380 is a true double decker whereas a 747 isn’t. It requires an upper deck ganway. It is also wider and heavier than a 747 so it will require wider shoulders on runways and taxiways. They may recertify to current runway widths of 150 feet but right now it looks like a 200 ft requirement.
It’s much quieter than other aircraft so maybe it will be popular if it can make a financial go of it.
If the cage were such that I were to be fully reclined, I would prefer that method. More comfortable than sitting, and no fat person sharing half my seat. Just feed me a few sleeping pills and crate me up for the duration.
I have always said that making bigger airplanes is stupid. Until the issues surrounding baggage handling and customs and immigration are sorted out, I would never want to fly on an airplane with that many people? Have you ever been at immigration at JFK after 3 747’s have landed? Imagine it after 3 A380s land.
I don’t know that it really makes much difference. There are certain number of people who want to travel. They can do it in lots of little planes, or not so many big planes. The advantage to using lots of little planes is that you don’t everyone arriving at once, but then, immigration and customs would just reduce staffing levels and nothing would change. Lots of little planes also clog up the air traffic system.
Big aeroplanes doesn’t mean more people, it means less aeroplanes. It also means more efficient operations for the airlines which means cheaper airfares for you.
We made the change from everyone flying in Comets and DC3s to flying in 747s. The airports adapted. I’m sure we can do it again.
In fact, I’ve long wondered why there aren’t huge aircraft. You know, 10 000 seaters. Start them flying say, trans-Atlantic, so you only have to beef up a few airports. Economies of scale drive tickets way down. People like it, other airports see this and adapt, and so on.
The infrastructure improvements to adapt are getting to be prohibitive. With the A380 not only do you have increased passenger load, but the actual runways themselves in most cases must be strengthened in order to handle the heavier planes on landing, some may also need to be lengthened. These are upgrades that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the trend has actually been towards smaller mid range aircraft with more flexibility and modern higher efficiency engines. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an aircraft design that could accomodate 10,000 seats. I do recall a Boeing design that was a huge flying wing… I think it was something like 1000 seats, never got beyond the concept stage.
I’ve been involved with the airline industry since 1990.
When I heard about the gym etc in the then A3XX I laughed like a drain, the only time I’ve ever seen free space was in a Russian knock off of the 747 - it had wide steps like those in a ship going down into huge empty rooms.
Personally I think that Boeing suckered themselves, they asked the airlines what they wanted and got the answer ‘speed’ - when all the airlines are really concerned about is fuel efficiency, if they can go slower and save fuel then who cares about another hour on an eight to 13 hour flight.
The idea of smaller aircraft going long haul point to point is ludicrous, for a start it becomes complicated - if an aircraft goes tech, then sorting out the system is near impossible.
The A380 will do Ok, but it will just be used hub to hub for long haul, which is what it is designed for. Passengers on the individual decks will feel as if they are in a 767, they’ll not be allowed to roam between decks - they might even board from different holding rooms.
Airbus don’t really need to worry about the technical delay, they’ve got the only monster that will be around - and the EC is not going to allow them to have financial problems.
When they came out with the 747, there was all sorts of hype about hoiw much space there would be for lounging and walking around, and there was going to be a spiral staircase that went up to a bar, etc. (not just for first class, either!). Naturally there’s been no trace of any of that. So don’t hold your breath. I don’t know why they tease us like that!
They tease us like that because the manufacturer needs public support for their aeroplane. They need the airlines to want to buy it, and the airlines need the customer to want to fly in it or be excited about it in some way.
The manufactures have several possible configurations for the aircraft. They sell the one’s with lots of space and whizzy features to the public, when really the only people who are likely to see that config are a small select group who have these things as their own personal transport. Meanwhile they sell the realistic seating arrangements to the airlines.
What’s not to understand? People go to a restaurant to enjoy the restaurant; people take planes to go somewhere else. Flight is a neccessary evil, and I see no need to pay hundreds of dollars I don’t have to enhance what is essentially a chore. I’d rather spend the money when I get there.
And I’m saying that as a long-legged guy to whom plane travel means a 10 hour flight from Ben Gurion to Newark. So long as I’m paying for my own ticket - and I’m not rich - I want the cheapest, fastest trip available.