After its inauguration the plane made two charity flights. A group of about 20 journalists from around Europe were on board for the second trip. The arrival of the A380 in Munich was an important event for the city. Although all of Lufthansa’s A380 airliners are based in Frankfurt and only conduct flights from there, Munich Airport proved itself to be completely capable of accommodating and servicing the over-size jet.
The second A380 in service of Lufthansa is named after Munich, the location of the company’s secondary hub. Lufthansa has an entire terminal here, the construction of which the company funded itself. The plane’s tail number is D-AIMB.
Passengers boarded the plane for its round trip over the Alps (Alpenrundflug) through several entryways at once.
Tickets for the two charity flights (526 seats total divided among three seating classes) were sold out within 1.5 hours.
The spaciousness of the cabin allows for larger luggage compartments.
Each luggage compartment is equipped with a small convex mirror that lets you see the entire shelf to make sure you don’t lose or forget any belongings.
Another feature of the cabin are LED lights, which are more efficient, longer-lasting and look nicer than regular incandescent light bulbs.
The control panel built into the armrest allows you, among other things, to adjust the brightness of your reading light.
Reading lights also use LED bulbs. An interesting characteristic of the A380 is the absence of individual a/c vents for each passenger; the airflow is controlled by a central ventilation system. The ventilation system is set up in such a way that every several rows get a separate air supply, so if there happens to be a sick passenger on board, the contagion won’t spread throughout the entire plane -- unless of course he or she decides to run up and down the aisles for the duration of the trip.
A touch-screen for the entertainment system is built into the back of the seats. Passengers can use the system to look up news, movies, music and flight information.
Passengers can also watch the live feed from three different cameras installed on the exterior of the plane.
The camera on the tailfin allows you to see the plane almost in its entirety.
A view from the tailfin camera as the plane taxies onto the runway. The weather has taken a turn for the worse.
The flight lasted a little over an hour; the plane hardly exceeded 13,000 ft (4000 m) in altitude.
The flight information system allows us to see that we’re currently flying over a pristine mountain lake.
The toilet in the A380 is pretty plain, although the flush button is adorned with a blue LED light.
The sink for washing your hands is equipped with motion sensors; you only need put your hands under the faucet to make the water start flowing. The temperature of the water can be adjusted using the buttons on top.
The plane is once again empty. The arrangement of the seats in the economy class, which takes up the entire lower deck of the plane, is 3-4-3 per row.
First- and business-class passengers, who’d paid quite a bit to be on this flight, weren’t particularly keen about having their photos taken by numerous journalists. As such, we were only allowed onto the upper deck upon our arrival back in Munich, once all the passengers had cleared out of the plane.
Unlike other operators of the Airbus A380, Lufthansa chose not to make separate cubicles for first-class passengers. According to the company’s representatives, surveys showed that major clients preferred lots of space and quiet, and so the eight-seat cabin for the first class is equipped with additional soundproofing. The seats can recline into full-size, horizontal beds, while retractable walls ensure privacy.
The entertainment system for the first class has the same features as the economy class, but the screens are larger.
The business-class cabin, which takes up the remainder of the upper deck, has a seating arrangement of 2-2-2 per row, and also features retractable curtains between the seats for privacy.
The seats are placed in separate stalls, which enables passengers to recline their seats without infringing on the space of the person sitting behind them, and consequently not having to deal with being kneed in the back all the time. The screens of the entertainment system are, predictably, larger than that in economy class but smaller than the ones in first class. The tall flight attendant allows you to appreciate the spaciousness of the cabin on the upper deck.
A spiral stairway leads down to the lower deck at the back of the plane.
An important feature of the cockpit on the A380 is the number of large, multifunctional LCD displays which provide the pilots with the date they need. This is in contrast to traditional instrument panels.
Like all planes made by Airbus, the A380 is equipped with a fly-by-wire control system and is piloted using a joystick, located on the left on the captain’s side of the cabin and on the right for the second pilot. By using the joystick the pilot tells the computer what sort of maneuvers he is trying to accomplish, and ith then calculates exactly how to turn the rudder and flaps in order to achieve the desired result. There are no manual controls.
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