If you’ve never heard of Emirates, you’re not alone. But they’re growing like crazy and they’ll soon become a choice for international travel from the Bay Area. And you’ll be flying in style, in an old-school way. There was no “cattle-car” environment aboard yesterday when this fully-equipped aircraft arrived at SFO.
The largest aircraft ever to come to SFO immediately gets hazed with water canon. Its wings, built larger than necessary in anticipation of the stretched A380-900 model, have an organic gull-wing look. Click to enlarge:
The new Airbus taxis at SFO, San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in the background. 22 huge Goodrich tires help ease the load on runways.
Look at this – three ways to get on the plane. It’s taking a while for Los Angeles to get their A380 program going. So much so, that Qantas had to lay down the law to LAX. Could Qantas come here to the bay area instead?
“SFO is the first U.S. airport with the built-in capacity to conveniently handle these kinds of passenger planes,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a prepared statement. “We are ready for the future of international air travel – which is of great benefit to Bay Area businesses and residents as well as visitors.”
A380 Chief Pilot, Captain Abbas Shaban, pulls up to the newly-embiggened Gate 9 in the International Wing. SFO’s Jim Chiu says that San Francisco is already able to handle three A380 superjumbos at once
The aforementioned Captain Abbas Shaban, having just arrived from New York
All right, all aboard the new plane - let’s go for a ride, after the jump
First off, check out Emirates’ three class layout for this configuration. On the lower deck, nothing but economy class:
We’re still in coach here, where there’s a browser for all. Loads of Disney movies should keep the little ones happy.
You might need some help figuring out the ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) system, but you’ll get the hang of it soon.
Everybody invited onto yesterday’s familiarization flight over the bay area soon made their way back to the spiral staircase to get up to the Business and First Class areas. It’s a little wider than what we had with the Boeing 747, back in the day.
As soon as you get up there - Bam! It’s the Business Class lounge. This isn’t just a possibility anymore, it’s real. Emirates could have easily stuffed more seats in this area to get more passengers on, but they didn’t. This 489-seat configuration seems luxuriously roomy.
Heading towards the front of the plane on the upper deck, we’ve arrived in First Class:
Emirates calls these seats suites – here is your individual closet:
Aviation journalist Todd Lapin pondering the suite life above San Francisco. Read his thoughts here and see what the haters have to say over at Boing Boing here.
Here it is, one of the two Shower Spas. It’s you:
It’s time to look out the window…
…and come into land back at SFO
So there you have it. Might you prefer to ride in Coach on an Emriates A380 versus First Class on another airline? Very possibly. Why? The noise. This will be the quietest airliner you’ve ever ridden on. That has a little something to do with the four advanced, GE-ish Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. The absence of noise was very impressive.
In short, people were just amazed with Emirates’ new airplane yesterday.