On October 25th, the first Airbus 380 passenger flight departed from Singapore to Sydney. My client, Jason Speer, was one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to board the jumbo jet capable of holding 853 passengers. Jason, the only non-media passenger from Illinois, knew the flight would go down in aviation history! An aviation enthusiast, he didn’t think twice about partaking in the trip that would have him in the air for 60 hours, in airports for 18 hours and participating in countless interviews over a period of only six days.
Due to production problems, the first passenger departure of the Airbus 380 had been postponed for two years. The double-decker jet has a tail that rises almost eight stories and a wingspan and fuselage that are each almost as long as a football field! Jason is the Vice President of a Schaumburg-based metal float manufacturing company, Quality Float Works. By the end of the media blitz known as the Airbus 380 flight, he might as well have been a celebrity!
On Thursday, October 25th, Jason and 470 other travelers boarded the Airbus 380 giddy with anticipation of what the trip would hold. “This is an opportunity to experience once and be part of history,” Jason explained of the extravagant flight. The jumbo jet has twelve private suites and 23-inch LCD TVs for the enjoyment of its passengers. Business class seats measured 34 inches across and each converted into a lie-flat beds.
Development costs for the Airbus 380 are looming at $18 billion. Now the world’s largest commercial airplane, its first flight garnered expected mass media attention. Now resting at home after days in the air, Jason describes the frenzy of reporters and photographers aboard the flight seeking out the perfect passenger interview. Media from countries around the world inquired about Jason’s interest in aviation, his predictions for the Airbus and overall thoughts of the flight. In all, he was interviewed by dozens of reporters and graced the front page of the business section in the suburban Chicago daily newspaper, the Daily Herald.
Even USA Today, one of the nation’s most read newspapers, began and ended their Airbus 380 story with mentions of Jason Speer. The jet, which aimed to bring luxury back to international travel, created a tremendous buzz among aviation enthusiasts and airline experts. The flight itself was described as a giant party with many bells and whistles. Of the overall journey, Jason reflects, “it was the trip of a lifetime but I’m glad to be home.”