I was always kind of secretly hoping large blimps would return. And we'd get to choose between 7 hours in a tiny metal tube with the seat-back of the person in front resting on your knees, or 24 hours on a slow blimp with a bed, the ability to walk around, and social areas. Kind of like a cruise ship in the sky.
An A380 feels kind of like Concord in that it really touched the imagination. I still hope to have a shower at 40,000 feet before they're retired completely.
I'm curious how your experience as a passenger sounds so different from mine.
Bonus for when you press the steward summons button and an angry balding German steward (who nonetheless has a ponytail) turns up half an hour later and demands to know what you want, and when you say "water, please", asks angrily "You vant vasser?!" like you just asked to bone his Mum.
Honestly I thought cattle class on the Lufthansa A380 was quite a step up from the domestic long haul offerings. The A380 runs higher humidity and is significantly quieter (inside and out) than many of its contemporaries. The leg room wasn't spectacular, but that's true of most carriers.
The food on Lufthansa, even on the short segments like FRA-CDG, puts anything you'd find on a domestic carrier to shame. United in particular has utterly revolting food.
Lucky passenger, disobeying a crew member is illegal in the United States. United would've just pulled another Dr. Dao.
Some carriers (Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines) have very impressive FC setups on the A380, with other aircraft having a stripped down/smaller version.
For me it’s a shame we are seeing a decline of these planes. I loathe to think the industry is going to go back to less leg room, more seats and feeling like cattle.
Also, the Wolf of Wall Street Emirates style is significantly shorter (they cut all the scenes with extensive hookers and cocaine) and when Margot Robbie walks out nude they cropped the image and zoomed in on her face only, albeit with extensive pixellation.
But hey, at least Emirates will never tell you that you've had too much to drink, unlike Singapore Airlines.
We're a bit worried that he may end up being too big for it. That, and keeping them entertained for two long flights.
Yeah, LH is awful at boarding, especially in airports without the automated gates like TXL (the airport being a gigantic bag of hurt nonetheless)
For companies like Lufthansa, SAS and others - premium economy is closer to what Business Class used to be 20 years ago. You get an amenity kit, better food selection with real cutlery, nicer pillow and duvet, and a much nicer seat - usually in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The differences I've mainly noticed in premium economy are: electrical outlets, nicer in-flight entertainment, more legroom/better reclining, nicer head cushion, closer to the front (if that's a benefit) and that's about it. Amusingly, I've found on Delta the "premium economy" section occasionally extends slightly outside, e.x. the electrical outlets and better in-flight entertainment (but not the legroom) aren't only for premium economy but also 2 or 3 rows of normal seats beyond. Which is a little strange, since I would think Delta would use the opportunity to present that as an upgrade (paid, or free as a goodwill gesture) but I've only ever seen them labeled and sold as normal seats.
Both carriers in the process of upgrading their seats in business class and adding a true premium economy product, not what delta calls comfort plus, which is really just more leg room at the front of the economy cabin. The true premium economy product is much closer to the premium economy that has been available on other carriers (emirates, cathay pacific, etc...) for a while and has better seats, food is served on plates, etc... It's not to far off from what one might get in a domestic first class.
Agreed that a lot of airlines off an "economy plus" which is basically slightly faster boarding and slightly more legroom and that this isn't worth paying the extra for.
Neither of these statements is true.
My Emirates experience of the A380 was incredible vs a decidedly crappy experience in a Qantas A380.
The former made me love the A380, top of the list. The latter made me hate it.
Love that plane technically though. Smooth. Relaxed. Quiet. Relatively spacious.
The amount of helium/hydrogen necessary to lift a small apartment is immense. Then, if you are going to spend day in the air, all the water. It would almost certainly easier/cheaper/cleaner to provide a similar service inside a jet for a few hours than inside a blimp for a few days. So if you cannot afford the jet today, you wouldn't afford the blimp either.
A couple months ago I took a train from Tokyo to Fukuoka (around 600 miles driving distance). The train took 5 hours station to station -- I was staying near Shinagawa station so walked into the station 15 minutes before departure, and walked out of Hakata station in downtown Fukuoka 5 hours after departure.
If I flew from Haneda, it would have been a 2 hour flight, plus 45 minutes to get to the airport 45 minutes before the flight and 30 minutes from Fukuoka airport to Hakata, or about 4 hours total. Add about 45 minutes if flying out of Narita since it's farther from downtown.
But the train is around twice as expensive.
NYC to India makes no sense in this context since a train is never going to feasible for trans ocean transport. You may as well mention the 250,000 mile route to the moon.
That's a multiplier of 7.2, though the shorter the flight the more pronounced an airship's time to reach cruising speed and come back down from cruising speed will factor into the overall ratio. And this assumes we can't make airships go faster than the Hindenburg (is 155mph/300km/h unreasonable?).
Or maybe just complementary? E.g. long routes handled by airplanes, "medium" routes handled by airships/blimps, and the rest handled by trains/bus/whatever?
While I doubt they will ever be a primary transportation medium, I wonder if there would be enough demand for a cruise-ship-style airship to be commercially viable; I for one would absolutely love to spend a month on a luxury cruise around the world, landing every other day without the limitations of only seaside locations.
The distribution of pax and baggage are chosen so as ensure its within the range. IOW, they don't book Row 1 then 2 then 3, etc, — sold seats are sprinkled across the aircraft as it's filled.
I've been told when the flight attendants are moving forward and back with the beverage service you can watch the trim wheel turn as the autopilot maintains correct AOA.
Maybe it'd be possible to revisit nuclear powered aircraft? Modern, intrinsically safe reactors powering turboshaft engines could keep a ponderous flying platform aloft for months at a time.
At the price you'd have to pay for day or two blimp ride, you'd probably be able to fly first or business class. Would you rather sit in a 500mph plane for 7 hours in a business class seat (which folds out into a bed), or ride in a 100mph blimp for 35 hours, even if you can walk around?
The Hindenburg carried 50 - 70 passengers with a crew of 40 - 60. Even if it's cut in half, that's an awfully high passenger to crew ratio (an airliner has a ratio of around 20 - 30 passengers per crew member). Even if fuel costs are minimal, you're sitting in an expensive aircraft for a day or so -- the airship may cost a fraction of the price of an airplane, but it travels at a fraction of the speed.
...or 24 hours on a slow blimp with a bed, the ability to walk around, and social areas. Kind of like a cruise ship in the sky.
So I compared to the Hindenburg. He can already get the "cruise ship in the sky" experience in an A380 in business class where he can find spacious seats that lay into a bed, private suites, a bar, showers, etc. But it's not cheap in an airplane, and won't be cheap in an airship.
The 350 and the 777x may rank alongside. The 787 is only good in superior classes.
The 380 is by far the smoothest, quietest experience in the air for >10h flights.
A380 -> A330/A340 (on account of the 2-4-2 arrangement) -> 767 -> 777 for me.
I've been on both the -900 and -1000 variants, and they are just amazingly quiet.
I'm surprised that Lufthansa would just donate them such a complete looking aircraft though. Apparently the 747-200 was still in production until 1991, and Lufthansa donated it in early 2002. They were in regular passenger use until 2016 and there are still a handful being used as cargo jets - and Lufthansa had an air cargo subsidiary that used 747-200s at the time.
Well, now you've convinced me to go to the Technik Museum. The Henry Ford Museum was an institution of my childhood and one of the things everyone we knew enjoyed when they visited the area.
They have both the Concorde and the Concordski -- the Russian Tupolev 144.
In between those two is the Hockenheimring, with F1 will be in July this year, and the very pretty university town of Heidelberg.
Also, most airlines are now buying 787s and A350s instead of 777s.
IMO even on the lower deck the A380 is the quietest jetliner I've been on. The last 747 I was on (United) still had the old, comfy, interior. The 787 may have the benefits of a quieter, more humid cabin but the slimline seats and tighter seat pitch made it a much less pleasant experience for me (United was among the worst of the bunch).
~14 long haul flights (13+ hours) per year I used to buy from them, gone - because they screwed up the seats.
How does increased cabin pressure make for increased comfort? Once your ears equalize, the only difference should be less oxygen available, which I’d think would make you feel better (albeit stupider).
I cherish those hours very much, and often look forward to them.
What about air travel prevents you from entertaining yourself?
Discomfort and being surrounded by total strangers.
So that leaves me with phone on which I want to preserve battery because adventures don't usually happen in concrete jungles of the cities, quite in contrary in fact. And usually crappy entertainment system, with really bad provided headphones (they don't block the engine noise very well so movies are sometimes hard to follow... I wish optional EN subtitles would be standard everywhere). I can handle it, I don't get bored with myself easily and usually carry a book on travels (migrating to kindle soon). But fun? Nah, that really ain't the word I would use.
It seems there are quite a few uber-rich people here that don't mind shelling out 500-2000$ on top of basic ticket for some additional comfort for 10-15 hours. I am not one of those, and neither is most of the population. I mean, I traveled in India for months, in buses where seat spacing caused me to be in embryonal position for 12+ hours, without possibility to stand up or stretch. So I can very easily handle one trip in plane. Unless it would be my minute income or less, I would rather put those money into improving the life of somebody poor but smart & hard working (plenty of those folks out there). You just need to find them and give it to them directly, no greedy middle-men.
I totally get what you’re saying, but unfortunately it just doesn’t work so well for me. I don’t have enough room to comfortably use a laptop. I have to play T-Rex to use the keyboard.
Movies and TV shows can be good for a while. I usually watch a few hours on a flight, but that only works for so long. Imagine spending an entire day in a movie theater, except the chair is sized for kids and the screen is tiny and you have to hold it up.
Reading is similar. It would be great, but the general discomfort makes it hard to focus long enough.
Were I flying in business or first class, I imagine it would be totally different.
Note that my experience in comparing the A380 to the 787 is on USA - AUS flights, so your mileage may vary on shorter flights, but on longer flights it's a godsend.
E: I also have way fewer issues with my stomach/gut on the 787.
The big differentiator is what you want to pay for. Even on a 787, 777, A350 if you choose first or business class, you can really be comfortable. On the other hand, I would bet that even with large blimps, the blimp companies would try to cram as many people as possible into it and would quickly approach the cramped experience you currently have in airplanes.
Obviously you’re still in a somewhat space constrained metal tube up in the air but air travel can be made pretty comfortable if money isn’t a big deal.
Just curious, why do you think they are disappearing? I thought they still have lower cost/passenger, especially for long haul?
Up to very recently the economics of air-travel dictated that long flights (e.g. USA to Europe)be on planes as big as possible and this plus other reasons meant flights to Paris are available from big cities like New York but not small to moderate metro areas like Raleigh, NC.
With new high efficiency jets, you can have 100ish person long flight service to a large city from a region like Raleigh that could never support the economics of a massive 300-400 person A380.
This is pretty noticeable on Airbus side for single aisles: the A321 used to be little more than an anecdote, now Airbus is ramping up the A321NEO to be about a third of its entire A320NEO family production (anticipating upsizing in the order book).
On the wide-body side many 747 have been replaced by 777-300ER, A350-900 and 787-9. Quite the downsizing. 787-9, A350-900 and 787-10 are raking in orders. Meanwhile the A380 is dying, the 747-8 is all but dead (though the 747-8F is still there). The 777-9 order book is a caricature of that of the A380 (Emirates + some anecdotes, even more so with Etihad likely to cancel). A350-1000 and 777-8 sales are underwhelming to say the least (although the latter will become a tremendous freighter).
That is the hub and spoke model requires the airport to have bursts of busy times as everyone tries to reach their plane at once. With smaller planes you can spread thing out more.
But one of the reasons BA run so many flights (10?) a day is so that customers have choice and flexibility - it's not unknown for people to book business or first class seats on multiple flights in the same day so they can fly earlier if their schedule allows
They're catering to the people traveling business class who want flexibility and it seems to work for them - they run something like 86 biz class seats and only 140ish economy on some flights
Here on the west coast there is a packed to the gills flight almost every hour from LA to Houston, and more than one airline servicing the route as well.
To quote Boeing president of marketing Randy Tinseth:
> We don’t see significant demand for passenger 747-8s or A380s
The last major order for the 747-8 (28 aircraft) was in 2016 and 2014 for the A380 (13 aircraft). Enough to keep production alive for another few years, but after that it is unclear. And even then many of those are for cargo/freight, not people.
But it seems likely they will be the end of the line.
Double deckers are very efficient by design, but the newest airliners are nearly as efficient as (or even more efficient than) an A380.
1. It takes a long time to load that many people, so it only makes sense on long routes.
2. You need special facilities at the airport: bigger taxiways, special gates, large waiting areas, extra customs officials. This cuts into the profits.
3. Since there are so few routes, you won't have many 380s, but you still need a set of pilots trained on them, plus a reserve in case people get sick, can't make it to the airport, etc. That reserve crew isn't shared with your other smaller aircraft, so it's an additional expense. The same thing goes for maintenance.
4. Much of the theoretical fuel and maintenance economies of scale you get from flying a larger aircraft are lost with four engines instead of two.
EDIT: interesting link, that contradicts some of what I say above: https://leehamnews.com/2015/12/11/bjorns-corner-twins-or-qua...
Thus, twin engines have to have basically 100% reserve, while the 4 engines only need to have 33% reserve (to make up for one engine failing).
I believe that the ratio of hub and spoke routes vs point to point routes will dynamically shift in response to demand and to external factors like laws, fuel prices, aircraft efficiency, etc.
The hub and spoke model is usually the more compelling economic model to serve many low demand cities by pooling passengers as well as for routing flexibility. Hub and spoke will never truly be replaced.
Whereas point to point is more efficient for high demand city pairs. Modern composite material ( fuel efficient ) aircraft also make it feasible to fly segments with lower load factors, up to a point, so you don’t need to fill up a plane to make a route viable, making it possible to bypass hubs. Even then you would never fly point to point from say Des Moines to Asheville NC. You might fly to a non hub airport like RDU, but if enough flights end up at RDU it becomes a de facto regional hub like CLT.
Depending on the demand patterns of flight routes, airlines can reconfigure routes to fly to hubs or point to point or a mix of both, whichever maximizes profit, so it’s not an either-or.
Of course this depends on the destination. Even tiny airports often have point to point trips to Las Vegas on dirt cheap airlines because that is a popular destination.
Used to be you needed the redundancy of four power plants to provide the needed nines to cross the ocean and still ensure (well, meet the statistic standard) that you could make land with one engine out.
The reliability of the modern turbofans allow the big twins to take almost the same transoceanic flight path as the 4-engine planes. Considering the complexity and cost of running 4 engines vs 2, it's a no-brainer to give up a few percentage points on ETE for a massive cost savings.
(me: licensed aircraft dispatcher)
TLDR: There's a ~20 year lead time on a radical new plane design. The A380 is designed for an airline industry dominated by 'hub-and-spoke' airlines (where a large plane can make efficient use of expensive landing slots at busy airports), while the 787 Dreamliner is designed for an airline industry dominated by 'point-to-point' airlines (where a small plane can avoid the busy airport and expensive landing slot by serving smaller airports).
20 years after they were both conceived of, it's looking like the hub-and-spoke model is the future.
Oh, there's still some demand for such a plane, and some routes are busy enough to benefit from it. But if there isn't enough demand to keep the production lines open, the production lines get closed, leaving existing operators high and dry. That fact makes operators nervous to place orders, which is of course a vicious cycle.
That seems like a typo. Did you mean the point-to-point is the future?
Bear in mind also that the author of that video is a 21-year-old college student who is an enthusiast -- not that that should lessen the weight of the facts presented, but merely that its conclusion may not be the authoritative airline industry view from a grizzled veteran that some might perceive it to be. There's plenty of room for debate there.
Point-to-point was actually the past, and hub-and-spoke became dominant for many reasons, and now fuel-efficient long-range aircraft makes it possible to shift some routes back to point-to-point, so it does appear to be on an uptrend. What's old is new again.
Any categorical claim that point-to-point is the future has to be examined critically. My belief is that neither will be the exclusive routing model -- it will all be determined by the economics and constraints of flying in the future, and no one can predict that. There are operations research people at airlines that tune models for optimal routing based on various conditions, and when the environment changes, the optimum shifts as well and the airline will have to shift with it.
The only true double-deckers are the 747 and the A380. Some other wide-bodies have been configured with a galley below the passenger deck, so flight crew have stairs but not passengers.
Maybe there's a variant with lavatories below deck? If so, it's not common.
The A350-900ULR is used by Singapore Airlines on the Singapore - New York flight that clocks 18 hours and a half. To be able to fly that far it needs to be light on payload: few passengers, no cargo. So there's some empty space in there...
Boeing got some flack at the time when they canceled their own superjumbo plans but history now shows they were spot on shifting their focus to the 787 and getting a head start on the efficient midsize long range jet market.
I think the consensus is that it is the right plane, right technology at the wrong time (it missed the 747-era, and too early for a future when 4-engine jumbo-jets may make a comeback).
Airbus bet on a bigger airplane built with traditional techniques while Boeing bet on a smaller airplane made with new techniques.
Other than its size, the A380 is still surprisingly efficient despite engines that are largely outdated (compared to 787/A350 engines). But double deckers are very efficient by design, so maybe it's not that surprising. I think the only airliners more efficient currently flying (in terms of fuel per passenger, with normalized density/layout) are the A350-1000 and 787-10 (though one could argue the latter is more of a mid-range aircraft, so not directly comparable). The 777-9 will also beat it. Even more surprising when realizing that the A380 is in fact a shrink: there was supposed to be an even bigger (longer) version, so it's overbuilt (read: overweight) for its size.
But empty seats (or seats sold at very high discount, or a low seat count because the airline knows it's not going to sell that many tickets to begin with) don't make it economically viable on most routes out there. Besides Emirates only British Airways seems very happy with them. Even the 777-9 is starting to feel like it's too big, with very few airlines ordering it. Even the smaller A350-1000 is not raking in orders...
The A380 makes pretty extensive use of composites. It's only conservative in this respect compared to the Dreamliner.
Cheapest way to get a shower at 35k feet (without miles wizardry), I’d think! (And who doesn’t want to shower on a 2 hour flight... :-)
I got picked up at my Hotel in Dubai, in a car with WiFi where I could have worked, until the Driver dropped me at the first-class gate. No queues, friendly staff, dropped my luggage and went through security within 5 minutes of leaving the car. Went straight to the lounge, where I got drinks and could have worked some more, until I got picked up for boarding. First class is the last to board, to minimize waiting time in the airplane. Same idea goes on arrival: First class leaves first. I got straight to passport control before the 500 people from the lower deck were able to form a queue there. When I was done, my luggage was already waiting for me, picked it up and met my driver to get me home - again all within probably 5 minutes of leaving the plane. This first class flight really was designed to enable the traveler to be most efficient with their time.
That the luggage was ready was most impressive to me. At least Emirates marked the luggage, and probably loaded it in a way that first&business luggage gets out first, and fast.
One of the interesting tours you can go on in Everett WA is the Boeing 'Future of Flight' tour where you see the building where they are now building 777 and 787's but were originally building 747s. The adaptations to handle the smaller aircraft are pretty creative but the costs larger tooling is just written off. On a program that lived as long as the 747 has that isn't a big deal, but when you've only made 20% of the planes you expected to make? I would think that has to hurt your profitability.
It sounds from the press coverage that Airbus is coming in below even their lowest forecast lifetime volume, which my just be exaggeration on the press' part, but if true it means some write downs are in Airbus' future.
If you price your products based on your costs, you're either losing profit-margin or sales (sales, because you're making the wrong thing at the wrong price).
To reason about pricing in a hardware world, I find it helpful to think of dollars as a stream of units coming in for each sale, and a stream of units going out when I am buying parts and assembling things. Then one can start from time 0 (the initial start point), run the math over a period of time, and then at the end compare how much money you have. If we think of the money supply at time zero to be M0, and the money supply at the end to be M1, we can make some initial statements like this:
If M0 > M1 then we have lost money over the time period.
If M0 == M1 then we have neither gained nor lost money (but we may have acquired things that have some value so is isn't necessarily bad)
If M0 < M1 then we have gained money in addition to anything else we may have acquired over that time period.
When building new hardware, there are four kinds of costs we might consider. One is salaries, benefits, and office space for people who are designing that hardware. The next is anything that we have to pay for once but can reuse during the manufacturing process (we will call that our non-recurring expense or NRE). The third is the cost to by the parts that go into one of our widgets. The final cost is the wear and tear on our equipment used to build the widgets, we know that once those things wear out we will have to replace them if we want to keep making widgets!
Now we can analyze the "life cycle" of our product. In phase 1, we look at are first the money we pay out in salaries and NRE to get ready to make widgets. Since there is no money coming in at that time, it all comes out of savings (or the M0 starting value). We will call that the startup cost or $S.
In phase 1, each widget we sell nets us some dollars (revenue yay!). We have to pay for parts (boo hoo), and we incur wear and tear on our equipment and we will label those $C and $D. The time it takes for your equipment to wear out is a guess, it could be 5 years it could be 20 years, but we need to guess what it is. This will be our first guess where we probably don't know the exact value. Remember it is the money we have to replace all the gear (we know that cost) but we have to guess how much the time it will take to wear out. Given our time guess we will divide the cost by the time and that will give us cost per unit time. The other thing we have flexibility on in phase 1 is the price we sell our widgets for, we want to do all the pricing exercises that you mention, but before we do those, we ll will take the cost of parts that go into a widget (call it $C), the time it takes to make a widget, and the price we want to sell a widget for $P. This slightly more complicated math lets us write out a formula for money gained, or lost like this:
$M = ($P - $C) / time to make - $D.
Now we have enough things we can write some interesting reasoning about this. If we sell our units so that they only cover the cost of production. Then at the end we will end up with (M0 - $S) we'll have less money overall because our startup costs are not recovered, but we will have a design that of a widget. If the time period is less than the life time of our factory tools, we will still have a factory that can make widgets.
We can also solve for a price and number of widgets, that is equal to $D (assumming $M is zero you can move $D to the left hand side and see that $P - $C / time has to equal $D. That tells us the minimum rate, of widget manufacture and sales we need to keep up with the cost of wearing out our factory.
Now lets throw a wrench into the mix. Lets say you didn't do any of this, instead you just stuck your M0 money in a fund somewhere making 5% guaranteed compounded annual interest. If you do that, you can come up with a number for M1 (the ending balance of money) based on time.
Now after all of that, you can compare making widgets at a variable price $P and reason about if you make more or less money over a time period $T than you would make just sitting there with the money in an investment fund doing "nothing".
What I like to keep in mind when doing this sort of exercise, either on an idea I have or when someone is telling me about theirs, is to evaluate if there is a price $P where, at the end of a period of time, you have more money than if you just sat on it. That extra money will fund additional ideas, having less than I started with means if I do it long enough I have to go back to work for someone else to trade my time and expertise for more money.
The amount someone is willing to pay for your widget that is greater than the number where you end up with exactly as much money as you would have if you did nothing, that is the "value proposition" for your idea. That is how much "value" it has, over and above just investing in a fund. But, as you recognize, you can just charge anything for a product, you want to charge just a bit less, or have way more perceived value than the competitor's product. If the number you get when you plug that price in to the above equations doesn't leave you with the same or more money than the 'do nothing' choice, then you need to look at the cost equation and figure out if there is some way to lower costs so that it does. On the other hand, if the prices you can charge are easily competitive and you still make more money than the do nothing option? Then you need to figure out how to protect the advantage you discovered so that you can make that money for a period of time before competitors copy you.
And of course it is all different for software only products. But that is a much longer note.
 Yes the funds are invested in companies that are doing things but "you" are not doing anything with your money.
EDIT: That being said I loved the A380, I frequently flew premium economy intl. on it and even if you could wrangle the small (something like 20 row?) economy section upstairs it felt less like cattle class.
Also, the shift to point-to-point can only grow so much before the fuel efficiencies of the 787 and A350 come into equilibrium with the density of the A380. Moreover, most of the world continues to flock to mega cities. As cities expand airport usage increases while simultaneously making it more costly to expand or build airports.
But 20 years, let alone 40 years, is a long ways out; who knows what will transpire. That said, the 777 is 25 years old and still dominating. At 30 and 35 years it still may be dominating even as the 777X slowly replaces it. A 30-year-old A380 may still be no less relevant, if not more relevant, than today.
Aircraft bought today will be in service for at least several decades; it wouldn't be profitable for airlines to dump cash into them otherwise.
The B52 is still flying, but a bomber doesn't need to be economical to operate like an airliner has to. The US military can't be said to have a limited fuel budget.
Sure, airliners operate for decades, but when they're bought they're state of the art. The A380 isn't economical to operate now.
QANTAS didn't survey its passengers to make this decision. Had they asked the recurring business flyer, I suspect the signal would have been different, even if the economic decision was to walk.
I am a frequent QANTAS passenger. I know from all my experiences and peers discussions, we prefer the 380 over almost any shell QANTAS flies.
I flew the original QANTAS 747 longhauls. They were fine for their day. They are significantly behind the ball compared to the 380 experience. The 350 will be a fine plane. the 787 is a compromised experience in the air.
(btw, it is QANTAS not Quantas: Its an Acronym)
I'll try and learn to use Qantas not QANTAS.
In October 1947 QANTAS was bought out by the government and shutdown. The company that exists today is the descendent of Qantas Empire Airlines (notice the different capitalisation) which was founded in 1934 as a joint venture by QANTAS and BOAC (British Overseas Air Corporation). When the joint venture was founded the name chosen was not an acronym and was not all uppercase. That name was "inspired by" QANTAS Limited but is not QANTAS.
I suspect its one of these things Queenslanders want to be true, but we have to accept the reality. (I also thought BOAC persisted long beyond BA. I dont think I saw a BOAC jet but I sure saw BOAC turboprops in Edinburgh)
Why do you say that?
787 for shorthaul, nobody cares. Ask anyone who sits in the cheap class about 787 for >10hrs, compared to the 747 economy, or the 380 economy experience.
The lower effective air cabin flight height (higher pressure, moister air) and the new lighting, and bigger windows are very good for everyone, But the shrinking seat, shrinking legroom, lack of aisle access, the shrinking toilet? very bad.
I fly premium and business. I am empathising what I am told, not what I live. I've flown 15h+ flights up front in a 787 and it was fantastic. Some of the best flights I've had over trans polar landscapes. Amazing. Sucks to be poor.
On the Qantas 787 (which I fly regularly MEL<>SFO) the seats in economy are IMO better than the A380 (which I used to fly MEL<>LAX)
787 economy has 32 inch pitch; 17.2inch width: https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qantas_Airways/Qantas_Airw...
A380 economy has 31 inch pitch; 17.5inch width: https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qantas_Airways/Qantas_Airw...
The main problem with Concorde was that it couldn't fill up seats at the ticket prices being charged, and transatlantic subsonic flights were both more comfortable at the equivalent ticket price, and at the flying time sweet spot of 6-8 hours, which is long enough to just sleep and wake up in the morning.
Had SSTs come of age in the '80s and had a range closer to 6000nm, then they probably would've taken off for transpacific flights. 6000nm from HNL gets you to pretty much all of East Asia, Singapore, and the entirety of North America.
I think all this talk “MVP” and startups so often in the same sentence over nearly a decade now makes me worried that Boom won’t have enough resources to achieve anything less than an exceptional job with regards to safety.
And my life isn’t worth risking to save a few hours of travel time by putting it in the hands of a startup.
Concorde's only fatal accident was a result of running over debris that punctured the fuel tank and burst a tire, so it wasn't necessarily any issue with the plane itself. Conveniently enough, this also happened near the EOL of the plane, right before a recession and 9/11.
It really is an amazing sight. It absolutely dwarves everything else in the sky.
Nowadays there are budget airlines using budget airports with very long taxi rides to somewhere useful. You can't argue with price. Yet right now we are in an age of cheap oil that facilitates this. Had we not had the taps fully open and the fuel taxed then maybe the A380 would be king and it be hard to justify the budget flight model.
Brexit really is not helping the A380 cause. The wings are made in a part of England that was changed to be Wales so that an EU development grant could be obtained. In the post-Brexit world where nobody in power cares about jobs it is likely that Airbus rationalise production and give the formerly United Kingdom the heave-ho. They can make all the A380's the world really needs and call it a day in Blighty.
Is that true? I see the border was last changed in 1972, but that's well before the EU and regional development funding was thought about.
This is in contrast to, say, recent deals by United Airlines Inc, where the airline (or its related party, such as its parent holding company United Continental Holdings Inc) was the entity issuing the security.
For those of you in the Bay Area, this is like having a cheap ticket to fly to South Lake Tahoe, or commuting from Santa Rosa to San Jose. Operators like Surf Air might become commonplace. And the A380 and 747 had to die as airliners came to realize this is the future.
(All) electric airliners are unlikely to exist commercially without a fundamental breakthrough in energy storage technology. Even hybrid-electric systems are only barely viable as a research area right now, and they are decades away from commercial production.
I'm a researcher in this field, and I wish I could say otherwise, but the rosy picture you paint is unlikely to be reality at least within the next 3-4 decades.
Given the specific energy of kerosene vs batteries, at least two doublings seem necessary for things to get commercially viable. So, 3+ decades seems reasonable, lamentably.
Now you have to hope you can maintain sustained consistent improvements for half a century just to get into the realm where battery energy densities start to make sense for a fully electric airliner with the same capabilities as our fully hydrocarbon based airliners of today. And of course it's not anywhere near as simple as swapping the engines on existing air frames, so if you want to have your electric airplane the day that the batteries exist, you need to make a pretty sizeable bet today by investing in the groundwork for all of the other systems.
Whilst I expect that short-haul flights will be replaced by high-speed trains we're still going to need planes for intercontinental travel.
EasyJet are hoping to have electric planes covering the London-Amsterdam route in 2030: https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/1039041/flights-ea....
There is no difference between a synthesized fuel and one pumped from the group - it's the same molecules. What matters is your energy source to make the synthesized fuel.
In any case hydrogen is a particularly bad fuel for airplanes. The best fuel is actually the one we already use.
Right now, my organization is focused on a number of hybrid electrical approaches with the main goal being to minimize losses by using the descent phase to charge batteries that are then used to assist in climb on the next flight.
I haven't heard about the EasyJet proposal before. I'm looking for more info, but I can't find enough to form an intelligent opinion yet. Interestingly enough, it seems to be a YC backed company that's developing the vehicle.