Can the A380 Bring the Party Back to the Skies?

Air France inaugurates its A380 service to JFK, complete with six bars, an onboard art gallery and in-flight live music. But has the economic crisis made the Airbus superjumbo a white elephant?

First-class passengers have their own staircase to the A380's upper deck.

By my watch, the takeoff roll for Air France Flight 380 lasted 35 seconds. "39 seconds," corrected Laurent Bonnard, a French historian, as we chatted in a lounge area later. Either way, all the planiacs on board Air France's inaugural A380 Airbus flight from New York City to Paris agreed the takeoff was a thing of beauty. Imagine an apartment building with wings that steps into the sky with the quiet grace of a ballet dancer. The lack of engine noise — it's 50% quieter than a 747-400 on takeoff — was downright eerie. The A380 is so big...

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