She was big, she was beautiful, and she offered the best lounge bar in the sky.
But ultimately, that wasn’t enough to appease the critics of the Airbus A380 and those who once admired her began to say she was high maintenance, too expensive to keep.
One of her former admirers even went as far as saying he would never entertain her again in his Arab home.
But time and a pandemic has changed the fortunes of the super jumbo, which is being hauled out of isolation in desert sky parks, ready to re-enter service.
Even Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who said the A380 would never return to service, has had second thoughts and is putting the much-maligned aircraft back into operations next month.
Qatar isn’t alone in finding new love for the A380, which was first delivered to Singapore Airlines 14 years ago.
Business class passengers flying Emirates loved the onboard lounge bar.
Emirates, which is about to receive its final A380, continues to have the super jumbo as the workforce of its fleet and will keep faith with the aircraft type for many years yet.
And as the pandemic recovery gathers momentum, other airlines are slowly bringing super jumbos out of mothballs. ANA will take delivery of its final A380 this month, and British Airways has confirmed that four A380 aircraft will return to service, flying to Los Angeles, Miami, and Dubai in December. BA’s remaining A380s are also being readied for take-off.
While the double-decker planes are popular with passengers, who love the space, the business class lounges and the First Class suites, airlines have complained they are not fit for purpose, environmentally unfriendly and financially unviable when too many of the plane’s 550 seats were not filled.
So, let’s enjoy the A380 while we can, because beyond the post-pandemic resurgence, the question will be asked, “Will airline bosses still love her tomorrow?”