How The Airbus A380 Redefined Luxury Travel


The A380 is a king among airplanes. It’s the biggest commercial jet ever built and is operated by some of the most high profile airlines around the world. Whether it’s flying transatlantic, transpacific or on a 40-minute hop, a flight on the A380 brings us a new level of sky-high luxury that’s just not possible on other planes.

Singapore Airlines A380
The A380 is the world’s most luxurious airliner. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Since its launch over a decade ago, more than 500,000 commercial flights have been operated using the A380, with more than 190m passengers enjoying the experience. But what makes flying on the Airbus A380 so very special?

What’s so luxurious about the A380?

There’s one thing that the A380 has that other aircraft do not, and that’s space. Its massive double-decker cabins offer additional capacity and opportunities to design in features not often seen in aviation. In fact, due to weight restrictions, it’s almost necessary for airlines to think of something to do with the excess of space as they can’t simply pack the aircraft with seats.

The sheer size of the A380 means there’s more space to play with. Photo: Wikimedia

As well as the luxurious touches and unusual features, the A380 has some key engineering features which make flying on it a top experience. Air quality on the A380 is better than on many other aircraft, thanks to advanced filtration equipment and built-in humidifying technology. Like the Dreamliner, it also maintains air pressure at a lower altitude than the aircraft flies, reducing fatigue and jetlag.

Comparing a flight on the A380 to one on a smaller aircraft is akin to comparing a voyage on a cruise ship to one on a passenger ferry. Its large size and heavy weight means the effects of turbulence are dampened, making for a smoother, more comfortable ride. However, that doesn’t mean that turbulence doesn’t affect the A380, only that small pockets of disruption are less likely to be felt.

The most luxurious touches on the A380

With all that additional space to play with, some airlines have gone above and beyond in making their A380s unique. From gigantic first class bathrooms to real double beds, the chances of encountering something really unusual, particularly in the premium cabins, are many. Some of our favorites include:

  • The Residence at Etihad: The Abu Dhabi carrier is well known for luxury travel, and it doesn’t come more premium than The Residence on board its A380s. With a living area, a separate bedroom and an ensuite bathroom with a shower, you might find yourself wondering if you’re on a plane or in your hotel room already! It’s the only three room suite in the skies, and has to be the ultimate in luxury at 40,000 feet.
  • First Class suites at Singapore Airlines: Pioneered by Etihad, Singapore Airlines has perfected the 1-1 layout and spacious luxury of first class suites. Their individual cabins have luxurious armchairs, sliding privacy doors and a chaise longue. Adjacent suites can be combined to create a double room for couples traveling together, and meals are served up on real Wedgewood bone china.
Singapore A380 first
Singapore Airlines First Class Suite. Photo: Singapore Airlines
  • Emirates on board bar: Back in the 60s, bars on planes were nothing unusual, and some even had pianos in the on board dining rooms. However, all that went away, until that is Emirates got their hands on the A380. While the Dubai carrier didn’t install a piano, they did add an onboard bar for premium passengers. Emirates aren’t the only airline to bring us a bar either; you can also find this facility on board Korean, Etihad and Qatar.
Emirates A380 bar
Emirates A380 bar. Photo: Emirates
  • Emirates on board shower spa: Emirates has two shower suites on the A380’s upper deck, one on each side. These rooms are surprisingly spacious, larger perhaps than some of our bathrooms back home! With heated floors and piping hot water, this has to be the epitome of luxury flying.
Emirates A380 shower spa
The Emirates A380 shower spa. Photo: Emirates

What’s your favorite A380 luxury touch? Let us know in the comments.