Yesterday was a big day for a certain international airport in San Francisco as it made the leap from boy to man, receiving its first daily Airbus A380 flight. At 11:51am, and decked out in Lufthansa’s traditional white, yellow and royal blue livery, the plane touched down after a picture perfect approach to SFO’s 28R runway.
About 250 people showed up for the “A380 Plane Spotting Party” sponsored by Lufthansa and SFO airport. Connoisseurs, industry people and average everyday airplane nerds lazed around Bayfront Park in Millbrae, just south of the airport proper, sporting tripods, massive lenses and an inimitable sense of wonder for the miracle of aviation.
The shindig started at 11am under gorgeous Bay Area skies and Lufthansa took it upon themselves to reward those who made it down with an entry to win two free tickets on Lufthansa (I didn’t win), a limited supply of boxed lunches (I did win), and of course a front row seat for the approach and landing of the world’s biggest and ostensibly most mesmerizing aircraft.
It’s not a quick decision to make an airport compatible with Airbus’ superjumbo – a tall concourse that allows for a second story gangway and capacity gate seating needs to be installed, which SFO managed to do in 2005.
Yesterday San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee even officially declared May 10, 2011, as “Lufthansa German Airlines Day”. I doubt that means anything, but it’s pretty cool I guess. SFO will keep the big aircraft welcome mat as it starts taking A380 flights from Air France next month.
The following are some photos I took of the event and the arrival of Lufthansa’s Guest of Honor.
A decent sized, and very relaxed, crowd.
Lufthansa’s biggest fan awaits.
A runway convergence.
Two tickets on Lufthansa were given away. Sadly, I did not take them home.
*All photos courtesy of the author.