Jay-Louise Fox, 26, lives in Liverpool, England and works with international students advising on university study in the UK. She told us about her first flight on an A380, which she took last year.
What is Flying Economy Class on the A380 Really Like?
‘I was planning a trip to Dubai in April 2017 with my family – I’d flown to Dubai before in 2015 and the previous time had been disappointed to find out I wasn’t on an A380 and I didn’t get to experience it – so this time I wanted to make sure that I did.
‘I traveled long haul a lot when I was a little girl to places such as America, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong, New Zealand and always on big jumbo jets. Being quite young it was really exciting. I remember standing at the gate, really looking at the planes and thinking, ‘Wow! How is that going to get into the sky?’
And then once we were up, I’d think, ‘are we actually in the sky now’? These are great memories for me and I think it’s where my love of it all has come from – not just travel; flying is all very much part of the experience for me.’
‘So I have a long-standing passion for planes – I even applied to train as cabin crew after university with several airlines before eventually deciding to take a different job – luckily it also includes a lot of traveling.’
‘My Dad always takes a night flight there and back on the A380 when he goes to Dubai, and he specifically recommended that I do that. So I checked the schedules when I was booking to make sure that the plane would be an A380, and booked the night flight too.
‘I’m a light sleeper and never really sleep on planes but I decided that didn’t matter this time as I was determined to try out the A380 – I was happy to stay awake and enjoy the experience anyway. I really, really like flying.’
‘For me, the whole trip is an experience. From browsing in duty-free at the airport, watching the planes through the window at the gate, boarding the flight, watching the procedures before take-off as well as the eventual flight and landing. I just love it all.’
Enjoy your flight
‘I always like to sit over the wing if I can – I’m a bit of an aviation geek and when you can see the plane outside the window I think you can appreciate more that you’re basically in a giant chunk of metal in the sky, and how amazing that is. I really enjoy that feeling.
The sun was setting as we left Manchester. The take-off and landing for me are the best bits and once we were up in the air, I got myself comfy in my seat and watched the first of about three films - the entertainment system is fantastic.
Get some sleep…or stay awake and enjoy the experience
‘Plenty of people around me looked very relaxed but I don’t sleep very well on planes and I like to get up to walk around some of the time. The A380 feels very spacious compared to most planes so you don’t feel like you are getting in people’s way when you are moving around.
If you’re on a smaller plane, you can feel a bit uncomfortable doing that. On a bigger plane, even if you can’t sleep, you really get the opportunity to make the most of the journey and experience being on the aircraft – that’s what I love about flying long haul. It’s nice to just walk round and take it in – I really enjoy the experience of it.
‘I looked out the windows down by the doors for a while – I don’t like just sitting still too long, plus I wanted to see the plane. I always enjoy watching the cabin crew going about their business – because I thought about choosing it as a career I’m still fascinated by what they do and very tuned in to it. I always pay special attention to what the staff is doing, the way they manage the aircraft and that kind of thing.
Dinner was great - I actually really enjoyed the food!- and after dinner the cabin lights were dimmed. When I had boarded the plane, the bright, daylight-style lights helped make the plane feel spacious and once the lights were lower with a warmer tone, even though I didn’t sleep much, I appreciated the quiet time and the lighting helped me relax.
I settled down to watch some films. It’s always a treat to fly long-haul and have a personal screen, and the technology and variety on the system was awesome. It’s nice to have those seven or eight hours to yourself to watch as many movies as you can! A bit later I got my head down for about an hour before we landed. It was a very smooth flight so if I was going to sleep on any plane, it would be this one.’
In the morning, the lighting system simulated sunrise, slowly getting brighter with a whiter light. After this, I went to the bathroom to freshen up, excited for the day ahead in Dubai - and then a full English breakfast with tea was served.
‘Landing in Dubai was a really nice experience because you’ve got the sunrise - I watched it from the window and it was quite beautiful. My 14-year-old brother Louis took a picture of me sitting in the window seat with the morning light coming through, and I posted it on Instagram.
‘Even though I hadn’t slept very much, I felt much more refreshed that I had done last time I’d taken a night flight on a different type of plane. This was great as it meant I could make the most of the day, even though we’d just arrived. I’d really enjoyed my flight and took another picture of the plane from the air bridge after we’d landed.’
‘I travel quite a lot for my job – at the moment it is mainly short haul, but I’m hoping to do more long-haul trips in the future. I’d definitely choose to fly in the A380 whenever possible.