If there is one thing I thought COVID-19 might kill, it is the Airbus A380. Multiple carriers sidelined their fleets, some retiring them completely. Others wont’ be able to give up on them since they’re, uh, a bit tied to the model. I guess that’s really just Emirates.

However, with travel rebounding, we’re seeing the superjumbos take to the skies once more. British Airways is the latest carrier to plan to return their A380s to service.

I’m going to take this moment to cry foul. This is the wrong plane, BA. You’re supposed to bring back the Queen!

Oh, the Nostalgia

It was a sad day when British Airways retired their entire fleet of 747-400 aircraft. They operated the most of the type. I’d gotten used to seeing both their 747 and A380s grace San Francisco International. The 747 is a sight that will be missed.

My first flight to Britain was on a British Airways 747-400. It is a flight I will always remember. The nostalgia factor is strong with the Boeing 747-400. I only got to fly one a handful of times, but loved every chance I had:

  • British Airways 747-400 – Twice
  • Delta 747-400 – Twice
  • United 747-400 (in Global First) – Once
  • Qantas 747-400 – Once

I was supposed to fly a KLM 747-400 with my older kids in 2018 before the Dutch flag carrier retired them all, but a mechanical issue left us with a reroute through Seattle. The 777-200 just isn’t the same.

I’m sure I’ll fly a 747-8 before long. Have to give the upper deck a shot. But I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to enjoy the -400 variant again. 🙁

Ok. Fine. It’s More Fuel Efficient.

If you need to bring back a large aircraft, the Airbus A380 makes more sense from a fuel economy perspective. I can’t find reliable data, and Airbus and Boeing squabble over which large aircraft (A380 or 747-8) is more fuel efficient. As an operator of both, Lufthansa contends that the A380 is slightly better from a fuel-cost-per-revenue-mile.

But British Airways only has -400s, which are even less fuel efficient. Sigh. I don’t think we’ll see the return of the Queen. She was being phased out and met an early demise due to COVID-19. But I will always dream about flying one again.

How do you feel about British Airways? Did you prefer their 747 or A380?