Road Trip at Home: Lufthansa began daily A380 service to San Francisco today. CNET looks inside the massive plane.
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT--With the arrival today of Lufthansa flight 454 from Frankfurt, Germany, the airline became the first to fly daily service of Airbus' giant A380 to SFO. On Lufthansa flights, the A380, the world's-largest passenger plane, seats 526 people, with 420 in coach on the plane's lower level, and 96 in business class on the upper level. Another 10 sit in luxury in the plane's first class cabin at the front of the upper level.
Lufthansa passenger airlines CEO Carsten Spohr told CNET that the airline is particularly happy to fly to San Francisco because it is what he called a "quality market," meaning it has a high concentration of executives and others who pay to fly business and first class. Spohr pointed to Silicon Valley as a major reason behind this.
Although Lufthansa became the first airline to inaugurate daily service of the A380 to SFO with its flight today, Richard Carcaillet, the director of A380 marketing for Airbus, told CNET that in 2004, SFO became the first American airport to certify that it was ready to accept the giant airplane. It is only because there are so many major air routes in the world that it took four years after the A380 began flying in 2007 for San Francisco to get daily service of the plane.
On June 8, Air France is expected to follow Lufthansa's lead and begin flying A380s into and out of SFO.
Lufthansa passenger airlines CEO Carsten Spohr told CNET that the airline is currently flying seven A380s. In addition to San Francisco, it flies to New York, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Beijing. And soon, it will add Miami to that list.
One of the very rare things about the A380 is that you can look out the window in the coach section of the airplane and being looking up at the underside of the jet bridge connecting the gate to the upper deck of the plane, as seen here from inside the plane.
One of the most popular features of the A380, at least in the Lufthansa configuration of the giant plane, is that it has three cameras sending live feeds to the entertainment system. An executive said the most popular of all is the tail camera, which shows a view of the plane from the tail at all times, as seen here.
The first-class seating includes privacy barriers that can be raised, allowing passengers who pay as much as $16,000 for a round-trip flight between Frankfurt and New York, to feel they are alone if they need that.
This is a look at the stairway going from the rear of the lower level of the A380 up to the second level. The stairs go from coach-class on the lower level to business class on the second level, although the galleys on each level are where the stairs begin and end.