The world’s largest passenger airliner, the Airbus 380, is a titan in the sky. With only a little over 200 in service, I was able to enjoy an aisle seat on the upper deck (often reserved for upper and business classes) on my ten hour flight from LAX to Heathrow, London. Being me, I just had to choose a seat in the last section to be called when boarding. But that aside, the entire process was smooth, aided by a special entrance for the upper deck.
As for sitting in the upper deck, it was certainly an experience worth trying. There are downsides, including narrower seats and less leg room. The overhead bins also seem smaller and are harder to reach. However, though space is more tight, the seating is set up 2 x 4 x 2, meaning 2 less seats in each row. Window seats also have special extra compartments underneath the window for storage.
The entire feel of flying is also different, though whether this has more to do with the plane being huge or just sitting in the upper deck is debatable. There are less jolts, making for a very smooth ride, and as a whole, there is a lot less noise, meaning you can play your music at a volume that doesn’t burst your ear drums.
Due to a rainy day in London (what a surprise), air traffic at Heathrow was backed up meaning I had around 45 minutes to get off my plane, go through security again, something the airport requires of all international flights, and get to my next gate. By running, I made it just as the staff called all flight members to board. We ended up taxiing for around 30 minutes, waiting in a line of about 10 aircraft, before taking off.
I spent my time during the much shorter flight doing my best not to fall asleep, unlike the guy next to me who basically passed out about five minutes into the trip after saying hi. In a confusing moment for me, he later turned out to be staying at the same hostel and a day after, I would find he was also attending Salzburg College. If only we had talked on the plane…
After landing in Munich, it was an easy walk through customs and luggage pickup and the hostel gave very clear instructions on how to get to their location by S-bahn (the street train in Germany). The biggest problem for me was getting used to the weather; it was quite the difference from 60ºF in Claremont to 30ºF and snowing in Munich. Luckily, Boston has prepared me quite well for colder temperatures. I was putting away my luggage in my hostel room before I knew it.
Though there were stressful times, a.k.a. the short layover, it was overall a good journey. I met one of my nine other group members, though I didn’t know it at the time, and managed to make it safe and sound to my hostel. Here’s to hoping my future travels go just as well.