My First A380 Flight – delays and airline ‘untruths’

Saturday, 8 August 2009

It’s taken nearly two years – the first A380 commercial flight was by Singapore Airlines, Singapore-Sydney on 25 October 2007 – but I’ve finally flown on the new double-decker Airbus. There are now 17 of them in operation and when I turned up at Los Angeles to fly home to Melbourne my Qantas flight was on their 3rd A380. The 4th Qantas A380 is due next month.

Qantas A380 Skycam
Halfway across the Pacific on QF94 two days ago

The Qantas A380 (and perhaps others) has one very nice new toy – a tail mounted Skycam which looks down on the aircraft and the earth unfolding below, it’s positively hypnotic. I’ve flown on other aircraft with downward or forward looking cameras, but somehow having the aircraft in the picture looks entirely different. It’s a great view.

If you tire of Skycam or the unfolding map (which I always leave turned on) you can always check the 30 city destination guide on a Qantas A380. We put it together for Qantas at Lonely Planet.

LP shop in Sydney AirportUnfortunately my first A380 flight wasn’t all plain sailing. First of all when we got out to the runway at LAX we had some sort of problem with the undercarriage – presumably a software glitch. So back to the terminal and a 3-1/2 hour delay before we finally got away.

Then we diverted to Sydney – at first we were told due to the weather in Melbourne!

◄  Stopping in Sydney did give me a chance to visit Lonely Planet’s new dedicated airside shop. If you’re flying out of Sydney you can stock up on the latest LP guides and lots of useful travel gear!


The reason for our diversion was later corrected to the flight crew running out of hours – add the initial delay to the 15 hour flight and you’ve got 18+ hours. But we (there was lot of passenger discussion about this!) decided the real reason was they wanted the A380 in Sydney for its next flight, not down in Melbourne. Why can’t airlines (all of them, Qantas included), be more honest about problems and delays? I eventually got to Melbourne 7 hours behind schedule.