I remember the first time I saw it.
I mean really saw it. Up close. I’d read about it, seen pictures, and picked it out from far away. I’d never been this close to one.
But there we were, in the sparkly new Hall M at Charles de Gaulle. We turned the corner and there it was.
The A380. The largest passenger plane in the world. A superjumbo with two full decks. “It’s so big,” was all I could say before running off to take photos.
Big indeed. So big that Air France’s configuration holds over 500 passengers and uses three jetways to board.
So there we were on Sunday, back in Hall M, about to take our third ride on the big one. I suppose that makes me a pro by now but I’m not quite over it.
Pushing away from the gate, it’s hurry up and wait. Longest taxi ever. I get busy with my sudoku book trying not to think about this behemoth flying over the ocean. Still taxiing. The flight attendants are still milling around 15 minutes later.
The plane is so big, you see, that it has to taxi out to the very edge of the runway so it has enough space to take off. It needs that much space.
There’s a tail camera and the screens inside the cabin show us the view of the taxi. The flight attendants buckle up and I look up and see us round the corner and inch out onto the runway. Here we go.
The pilot hits the gas, I tighten my seatbelt. I always tighten my seatbelt.
And we begin to move. Faster, but it really doesn’t seem that fast. We’re in a huge plane and surely we’ll need more speed to take off. Come to think of it, how is it really possible that something this huge can take off in the first place? Can it really happen? I ask myself that every time.
And there it is. I feel the nose lift off the ground. We’re airborne.
Flying really is a miracle, you know. If you take a second to just marvel at it, it really is a miracle.
Mr. P and I returned on Sunday after spending 25 days in Europe. We stopped in Paris, Brussels, London, Munich, and Istanbul. The trip was for work but we did what we do best and fit in as much fun as possible plus added a few vacation days.
It was our third time flying the A380 and it got us home safely after 11 hours, which included Air France’s complimentary champagne and a Hugh Grant fest (for me, at least — great movie selection).
Some of you were following along on Instagram, but that was just a tiny bit of what we saw. I’m still sorting through pictures from my big camera and can’t wait to show them to you and tell you all about our adventures.