Emirates Airbus A380 at JFK, New York
Emirates Airbus A380 at JFK, New York

My Airbus A380 Experience – Hyderabad to New York via Dubai

I vividly remember the first flight I took – Mumbai to Goa – in an Air Deccan, Bombardier aircraft which was a couple of decades ago. Technically it was my dad who wanted to give me the experience. Flying over the Arabian Sea and having a Samosa up there was an experience of its kind.

Over the years, I’ve not only enjoyed flying but also developed a deep interest in aviation. From keeping track of flights, to understanding runway orientations and aircraft parts, I’m deeply fascinated by it. And during that phase, I added “Fly on Airbus A380” as one of my bucket list items, hoping that it would happen one day.

Fast forward to 2023, I flew the Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in service during my first international trip to the USA. I was flying from Hyderabad to New York via Dubai and the second leg of the trip was on the Airbus A380. This blog post is going to be my experience of flying on the Airbus A380.

What is the Airbus A380?

If you’re an AV Geek, feel free to skip this part 😉 Others, please read on.

The skies are ruled by mainly two manufacturers – Airbus and Boeing. Both have been competing neck-to-neck over the years and coming with newer aircraft models. Airline companies are free to choose their vendor. For example, Indigo has the largest fleet of Airbus A320s while Vistara mainly flies Boeing 737s. 

Amongst them, the two largest aircraft are the Boeing 747 also known as the Queen of the skies and the Airbus A380. The Boeing 747 is a relatively older aircraft, but a pioneer during the jumbo jet era while the A380 is a more modern version of it. While I’m not going to compare both of them, if you’re interested, you can read more about A380 vs B747.

My First International Trip - Socialmaharaj
Hyderabad to Chicago in Airbus A380

Love At First Sight

I landed at about midnight in Dubai and had about 2 hours before my onward flight to New York. I scrambled through the transit security and quickly ran towards my gate to get a glimpse of it. And there she was – shining in all her glory! Luckily during my return leg, I got to see her again, this time admiring her beauty in broad daylight. I sat there just looking at this engineering marvel.

Emirates Airbus A380 at JFK, New York
Emirates A380 at JFK, New York

Soon it was time to board the aircraft. Mind you, the A380 is a massive double-decker aircraft. Most of the Emirates A380s have business and first class on the upper deck and premium economy and economy on the lower deck. There’s also the famous bar on the upper deck. But sadly folks from the lower deck aren’t allowed to go up 🙁 Manifesting a business class trip on the A380 now! 

Economy and premium economy on Emirates A380
Economy and premium economy seats.

It ferries more than 600 passengers at once and hence the boarding times are massive. With multiple zones and multiple queues, it takes close to an hour for everyone to get on board. So do factor that when you’re booking your ticket. 

Airbus A380 From Inside – Bigger Than My House!

I was seated on a preferred seat in the economy section. I chose this carefully after watching numerous videos, understanding the aircraft’s seating layout and much more. Why? Well, I wanted to get a view of the two jet engines and also catch a glimpse of the Burj Khalifa during takeoff. 

View from the Emirates A380
View from the Emirates A380

Because it’s such a massive aircraft, you barely feel anything within the cabin. The engine noise and vibrations are almost missing when you compare it with the domestic flights in India. It’s a breeze. It’s also able to deal with minor turbulences well. However, there were a few ‘good ones’ when we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a typical 3-4-3 configuration with some seats at the back of the aircraft being 2-4-2. Since this was my first international flight, I found the seats in Emirates Economy on Airbus A380 much better than what I’ve flown on Indigo and Vistara in India. 

Further, I found the headrest to be better positioned for me on the B777 that flew me from Hyderabad to Dubai. They provided a small pillow, blanket and headsets. On my return leg, I was also given a toiletries kit as well.

Eating & Walking

Multiple galleys in the middle serve the people of that section. Since this was a 12+ hour flight, we were served two large meals and one small meal. We had dinner, pizza and breakfast from Dubai to New York and lunch, pizza and breakfast from New York to Dubai. Apart from these, you’re free to take soft drinks, fruit juices, fruits and biscuits. You can either call the crew or take a walk.

Food onboard Emirates A380
Food onboard Emirates

Further, sitting for the entire flight isn’t an option. You HAVE to walk and stretch. Even though I was on the window seat, I made it a point to step out a couple of times during the flight to take a walk. And only when I walked, I realised that this Airbus A380 is bigger than my house! I also spent time talking to the crew in the galley while sipping some drinks. 

Onboard WiFi & Entertainment

Emirates also offers WiFi services to everyone on board. For all the Emirates Skywards members, you can opt for their Free Messenger WiFi plan that provides free messaging on WhatsApp, Messenger etc. Mind you, you cannot send images, just text. The connectivity is fairly good and available throughout the cruise.

If you need proper internet access, you can opt for their paid plans which are priced at $19.99 (if I remember correctly) for the entire duration of the flight. I didn’t take this since I didn’t find It much useful to me. 

New York To Dubai Emirates - ICE Emirates
New York To Dubai Emirates – ICE Emirates

Apart from that Emirates’s in-flight entertainment system is called ICEInformation, Communication and Entertainment. I played around with it during my Hyderabad to Dubai sector and understood how the system works. On the A380 too, it’s a similar setup. 

I spent most of the time watching the Airshow that showed flight details, paths and stuff along with speeds, altitude etc. I mean for an AV Geek, this is gold! Only if I could have had a chance to see the cockpit too. Apart from that there are a lot of TV Shows and movies from different parts of the world. I watched FRIENDS and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai for most of the journey. 

How To Book Airbus A380 from India?

This is a question that I looked up to. In India, only a few Airbus A380 are operating. At the time of writing this, below are the A380 in India:

  • Emirates EK 500 Mumbai to Dubai
  • Emirates EK 569 Bangalore to Dubai
  • Singapore Airlines SQ 423 Mumbai to Singapore

Just visit the airline website and search for your flight. Look at the flight details and see the aircraft type. It should be A380-3XX. Once you find this, go ahead and book it. If you’re booking from a 3rd party website, then you can simply note down the flight number and book it.

Business Class Next?

I remember seeing a video by Casey Niestat titled “I took a shower in an aircraft” where he gave a tour of the A380’s First Class suite. While that’s a far-fetched dream (Unless I pool points on my Amex cards for years), I’d still want to fly Business class someday only to access the upper deck. 

But I won’t discount this trip at all. I mean flying the Airbus A380 on my first international trip was a surreal experience, couldn’t have asked for anything better. If you can, plan a tip on the Airbus A380, you’ll love it! 

That’s about it for this blog post, let me know your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM Atulmaharaj on Instagram or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for Socialmaharaj.com :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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