View Full Version : 787 v A380

18th Feb 2018, 19:27

Asking this question purely from a comfort perspective. Considering LAX / SFO for a California holiday, and it will be Economy. So, is a BA A380 likely to be more or less comfortable than a VS 787?

I've not been on a 787, but did fly LAX - LHR on the BA A380 last year. It was much quieter than the outbound 747, but other than that, not appreciably more comfortable.

Both BA and VS seems to have 17.5 x 31 seating, so no difference there. The lower cabin altitude on the 787 should be a plus, but no idea how noisy the 787 is.

So, for those who have flown both, which is simply an easier place to be for a long-haul flight?

Thanks in advance!

18th Feb 2018, 20:43
I can't help with the specifics of your question but remember BA use 777s as well. They operate Gatwick/Oakland with 10 abreast seating. They also operate Heathrow to San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. San Jose, in particular, may offer an easier entry point. LAX immigration can be a real zoo. We went in through San Francisco 18 months ago and that was fairly painless but we were on the early BA flight (777).

Background Noise
18th Feb 2018, 21:09
Virgin seem to be suffering more than others with 787 engine problems so many of the advertised 787 routes are being replaced by stand-in aircraft. You could also look at flights for Dublin direct to the US - you can pre-clear US immigration in Dublin and arrive is US as a domestic arrival.

18th Feb 2018, 21:09
Another issue concerns the windows. If you like a window seat to look out at unique sights such as the Greenland mountains, the Polar ice cap, the Canadian permafrost and tundra, avoid the 787. The windows are huge but are positioned from chin-level upwards, i.e. too high (say, compared to the Viscount). They have no blinds but are electronically darkened across their whole area, so when un-darkened they flood light everywhere around your seat and people watching videos/trying to sleep will complain. Even if you have achieved personal control of 'your' window, the cabin crew will insist on darkening it again. So for 9 hours out of an 11 hour flight you will sit in a totally darkened tube, unable to see out of the window while the best geography lesson in the world goes by outside.

When booking VS, look for an Airbus 346 on the same route. They have 2-4-2 seating and super windows with mechanical vertical blinds. We will not be flying in a claustrophobic 787 again.

18th Feb 2018, 22:59
Comfort. So many points that are difficult to know in advance but use seat checking web sites.

Not just the height and width of seat but seat pitch; the make of the seat; what you consider 'firm/soft' cushion. Row number can make a big difference with regards to pitch and yaw of flight. Your own body size and length of limbs is known only to you. Noise levels are subjective as to what you find intrusive, not just volume but pitch of noise.

Agreed that DUB would reduce the 'dog-leg' but you may have flyer miles you plan to use.

Agree on the 787 window. Only been on the VS thus far and the windows would NOT electronically 'open' and was either dark or, in the dawn, some artificial 'bluey' light that prevented looking at the real world. I do not expect to travel by 78 again.

19th Feb 2018, 00:23
787 v A380

One of these is much easier on the eyes.

19th Feb 2018, 00:41
Most operators fly the B787 in 9 across which is tight, I much preferred the A350 in that configuration which is a bit wider.

Wise move to consider the current engine issues with the B787, back when the A380 was having engine issues I booked a B777 flight instead.

A380 will be more comfortable, particularly if you can sit upstairs where it’s dead quiet.

India Four Two
19th Feb 2018, 01:11
I've flown economy in both the A380 (SQ - once) and the 787 (four times - ANA and AC). I'm at an age where I need an aisle seat in order to make an easy trip to the toilet, without climbing over someone. So the issue of the 787's LCD windows is not relevant to me.

The SQ A380 flight was in 2010 and the seat was incredibly uncomfortable. Maybe they've improved the seats since then, but several times during the LHR-SIN flight, I went to the toilet, not to use the facilities, but just to sit in a different position! :)

I've been pleasantly surprised by the seats in the 787s - quite comfortable considering how thin they are.

I also seem to be less tired and less jet-lagged after flying in the 787, but of course that might be psychosomatic, since I know a bit about the 787's technology!

When booking on any airline these days, I always have a look at seat guru.com to check out seat pitch and other cabin details.

19th Feb 2018, 08:03
Went on BA A380 to MIA and back to LHR last October. Couldn't get our normal WT+ but managed to get a block of 2 outer seats towards the rear of the upper deck. Very quiet, easy access to aisle and good views from window. If we could get these seats every time would not bother with price of upgrade.
Liked the 787, but annoying about lack of control of window tinting.

19th Feb 2018, 11:22
Always found VS to be better than BA but prefer the A380 to 787

Mr Mac
19th Feb 2018, 11:59
I have not flown in either a BA 787 or 380 but have done plenty of hours in other peoples 380 (LH/SQ/EK) and a little time in 787 (ANA). For me it would be 380 every time, as others have said the much vaunted 787 windows are not all that they are cracked up to be. Also as has been said both Virgin and BA have or are having issues with engines so you may not be on 787 anyway. As for service I will not bore you with BA experience, suffice to say they are on my no fly list. However I had been using Virgin a little from Man to Atlanta to get to Houston prior to Singapore starting their direct route, and can not say they really were that impressive either.
As for entry point, like others have said stay away from LA and maybe use alternatives. Unfortunately Houston is too far away for your destination as I have found them to be very quick in clearing immigration in my experience. If not using air miles or committed to a set carrier maybe Shamrock could be the way to go, and save some money as well and get pre clearance.

19th Feb 2018, 14:41
I fly regularly LAX to London and I try always to fly Norwegian Premier economy which if you time it correctly is the same price as BA regular economy. Once I couldn't get on Norwegian so went BA economy on the 380 and it was one of the most uncomfortable flights I have done (and the aircraft was filthy). With Norwegian you get much better leg room and lounge access - at LAX you actually use the BA lounge!

19th Feb 2018, 18:28
Thanks for all the answers. Sounds like it's the A380 again then. Much as I'd love to try a 787, the window issue seems a bit of a major one. Have Boeing tried to be too clever with that feature?

Yes, I'm aware of the EI/DUB route and pre-clearance. We've used it before to the East Coast, and I honestly didn't find much benefit in it. Immigration in the US seems to have improved generally (or maybe we've just been lucky) so there's no massive attraction in it for me. EI are ok, but the big factor, believe it or not, is price! Looking at the dates I've selected, BA will charge me 552 each for BHD-LHR-SFO, LAX-LHR-BHD. EI are charging 2600 euro for DUB-SFO, LAX-DUB. Three of us travelling.

We did the same route last year, and SFO immigration was only about 30 minutes. Also, LAX was very straightforward too (and I got 30 minutes at the In'n'Out as well!).

No, the main issue was 787 v A380...and it looks like the Airbus wins.

Thanks for your help!

PS. Will have a look at San Diego, San Jose and Oakland, but any other time I've looked at those, it always seems that the 'volume' routes do stack up a bit cheaper.

19th Feb 2018, 18:29

...but I will check this out! :ok:

19th Feb 2018, 19:30
There's an "interesting" alternative via Dublin. Ethiopian Airlines to LAX. It has a couple of disadvantages (1) it's a 787 (given the discussion so far) and (2) it leaves Dublin about 0600.

19th Feb 2018, 19:55
Interesting indeed...but I'd like to do the round trip...SFO on the way out. I wonder what the catering is like?

surely not
19th Feb 2018, 21:52
I know a few people who have travelled long haul with Ethiopian and they really enjoyed their flights. The food has choices that are International. I have only flown domestic flights with them but would would happily fly with them on long haul.

19th Feb 2018, 23:43
I think the 787 windows is of unusual interest to us in this 'cabin'. My guess is that most folks don't give a monkeys. Last year (LHR-JNB on VS 789) my partner was sympathetic but she did not really 'get' how furious I was! Her parents were oblivious and loved every moment of the trip in PE.

Etiopian: a friend has used them long haul (again in Africa) and has changed planes at Addis and all in Y. She liked them very much. I cannot recall what a/c types they were and she doesn't notice what they are. :hmm:

27th Feb 2018, 16:44
Another interesting aspect of Ethiopian is their facility for economy pax to bid for upgrades to business. I travelled Madrid- Addis Ababa-Antananarivo return last year, bid on three out of the four sectors and got upgraded on two of them.
Food is very good, and if you're travelling across the Atlantic from Dublin you at least avoid the dire prospect of transit in Addis.

Heathrow Harry
27th Feb 2018, 18:00
They've been the best African airline for +++++ 30 years

27th Feb 2018, 18:03
My (well travelled) friend changed planes at ADD twice and said, No luxury in the terminal - but fine. Did not do a lay over.