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The A380

So, how was the ride on the Airbus 380? I won't pretend to be a veteran. I've only ridden on it a couple of times. Both were on the London-KLIA. That meant passing through the bad air over Bay of Bengal, something which I had always dreaded when I traveled as a student on top of a DC10. We were talking about the early 90s here. It was an experience. I could even see the fear in the cabin crew's faces.

Things got better with the 747-400. A much smoother ride all around but still the occasional heavy bumps. So, I was expecting a real smooth ride on the new plane. And yes, the ride was a lot smoother.

BoardingEnough legroom?The seats were arranged in pairs, with six seats across the rowThe central controlI was lucky to have a business class seats on both flights, hence my story may not be applicable to everyone. Boarding was faster than expected as both decks had their own platform. The gate at KLIA was actually double-stories. Hence boarding was smooth. The gate at Heathrow was a bit more sluggish as there was only a single common entrance.

The lower main deck had three compartments. The front housed the First Class - for only 8 passengers. The middle and back cabins were for the economy class.

The upper deck was also divided into three smaller sections. The front two were the Business sections with another Economy compartment at the back. The meals was what you'd expect on an MAS Business Class service. But it had a small compartment by the front set of stairs where you could mingle around a small little space. There were rack of magazines and free flow of drinks here.

It was also here that I had a chat with one of the Chief Stewarts. I actually recognised him from my previous trips. According to him, the upper front compartment was originally planned for the First Class, and hence the toilets were much bigger here. At the last moment, the arrangement was changed and the First Class was moved ton the lower deck. The facilities were smaller down there.

The Business Class seats were certainly an upgrade to the 747-400. Much bigger legroom, and the seats reclined to horizontal. Completely flat. Entertainment was provided via a 15 inch touch screen, with on-demand movie. Nothing fancy. There was ample storage space, with separate compartments for shoes and personal items. There was also a charger and personal lights.

During landing and taking off, the video console would show the view from the tail finThe screen was huge, but rather far away from viewFood at the counter by the front stairwell. No bar I was afraid.Time for meals!Waiting for take-offThe layout was 6 in a row, with a pair of seats each. On both occasions, I was sat on the middle row. For privacy, there was a small blind which one could raise in between the pair of seats. I felt secluded enough when I took a nap, so no complains from me.

On both occasions, I managed at least 6 hours of good sleep on the flights. The landing and taking off was also very smooth for a big plane. There was also a gimmick where the monitors would show a view from the tail camera during taxiing, taking off and landing. More for reassurance maybe.

The A380 was definitely big and smooth. When I travelled on the 767 for my Trans-Atlantic segment, I definitely felt that the other planes were much smaller. Maybe more psychological than anything. It lived up to its billing for sure.

More on my Atlanta trip here.

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