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Home > Airplanes > Which plane would you choose - Boeing 747-400, Airbus A340 or A380?
Which plane would you choose - Boeing 747-400, Airbus A340 or A380?
Aviation - Airplanes
Monday, 25 April 2011 12:42

Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 at Frankfurt

Good morning, Dear Captain alt,

First of all I would like to thank you for your website. It is very informative and I really enjoy reading your answers.

I would like to ask you a question and that is: I am traveling with Lufthansa in June. I have booked a ticket to fly on the 747-400. I looked online in several websites (PlaneSpotters, for instance) and I see the fleet they use for the itinerary is very old and most of the planes are between 21 and 23 years old. I have the chance to change my reservation (for 100 euro) to the later flight with the Airbus 340-300 also with Lufthansa.

I am a nervous flier and I have read age is an important factor in the safety of an airplane, due to, among other causes, metal fatigue.

What should I do? I also know the 747-400 is a noisier plane than the Airbus 340-300.

I also have the option to fly in the A380 with Lufthansa that same day but I felt a little insecure after the engine uncontained failure problem with the Trent 900 with Qantas. alt

Thank you so much for all your knowledge and thank you in advance for your time responding to our questions.

Greetings from Spain,

Marta


Lufthansa Airbus A340 departing Vancouver

Hi Marta,

The Boeing 747-400s may be older than the Airbus A340s - they all are equally safe. They are very reliable planes and have periodic maintenance checks.

Talking about age of planes – I once wrote on this about three years ago - see here.

“Firstly, how old can an airplane be considered as old? There was no consensus but manufacturers came up with a figure of twenty years as the intended economic life. Soon twenty years became the average age of US fleets. Today, manufactures and airlines refuse to agree on when old is too old because the life span of an airplane can be extended.

All aircraft components have a lifespan that is monitored very closely. When they are due for replacement, the components must be changed and the licensed aircraft engineers are under a duty to certify its replacement. Unlike a car where most people only replace a particular part when it breaks down, a fully serviceable component in an aircraft must be replaced when the life, measured in terms of hours are due.

Therefore, an older aircraft with new components after a major overhaul is almost just as good as ‘new’. Hence there is a reluctance to establish a definite age for a plane when it can be considered as a geriatric jet!”

As for me, if there is another choice like the Airbus A380, I would go on this newer and latest plane despite the engine problems which have been addressed by Rolls Royce and the operators.


Airbus A380 first Test Flight

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Comments (17)

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Thank you!
Thank you so much for your quick answer, Captain Lim. And thank you for the beautiful videos. I will keep on reading your website!
Greetings from Barcelona, Spain.

Marta
Marta , 26 Apr, 2011
A380
Hi

One of my friend flew on a boeing 747 400 Lufthansa last week and it took him almost a week to recover from the jet lag. It appears that the air circulation is not too good and its a rather noisy plane.

The airbus 340 has good cabin comfort and a good air-circulation. (I believe the standard def is 90 seconds for a complete circulation. ) Well its comfortable as long as it does not come into turbulence. The wings are too soft and things get scary.

The A380 is the perfect choice. Apart from being extremely quite its a wide body. More over if you travel business or first class there is lounge and shower too. Most airlines ( emirates confirmed )load with gizmo's like Dlna and gaming support.

The issue with quantas was that with the engine and not the aircraft. See which engine they have. I did try to do some research on the accident but quantas seems to have buried the matter without a trace.

Cheers
Farook , 27 Apr, 2011
Turlulance , Low-rated comment [Show]
Turbulance
The passengers in that airplane were CLEARLY not wearing seat belts, or else none of them would have been hurt. Follow the crew's instructions and you're completely safe.

Brian , 30 Apr, 2011
The 747-400 - the best choice
Hi Martha, by the time you read this post, you would have probably returned from your holiday. Anyways, in my opinion, I think the 747-400, or 744, is the best choice. It has one of the best safety records in the aviation industry and most of the accidents that have occured with this fleet are caused by pilot error or some external issues, not the plane being faulty. Newer planes like the A340 and the A380 may be more technologically advanced, but that does not necessarily mean they are much safer. The A380 problem you mentioned is not the only serious problem that has occured so far - there have been many more problems with this fleet of aircraft since its first flight as I have been reading in the press. So since you seemed to be very concerned about safety, I hope you chose to fly the 744.
Maverick , 01 May, 2011
Thank you
Thank you for all your advices, you are all very nice. My trip is in June, so I haven't flown yet. The only problem with Lufthansa's 747-400 fleet is that they are rather old (some of them older than 21 years) so my concern is more about metal fatigue and age of the plane (remember the Aloha Airlines flight?). Thank you very much for your answer though, I will try to relax and enjoy my flight!
smilies/kiss.gif
Marta Cuadro Ruiz , 02 May, 2011
Fly in comfort
Hello Again

You need not worry about the physical condition of the plane. The airline wont fly it unless its completely safe. Only its not as comfortable as the more modern A380 smilies/wink.gif
Farook , 03 May, 2011
Hi Marta
I like your reply about trying to relax and enjoy your flight. That is what you should do. In fact, I think you might feel even more confuse after different people gives you different advices. I believe that Lufthansa is a good airline and the aircrafts are very well maintained (I do not work for them though). The truth is everyone have their favorite aircraft and their personal preferences. I have my preferences too but I am not going to confuse you. You should have your holiday in mind and place your trust in the pilots, the aircraft. You should feel safer to hop onto an aircraft than onto a taxi. Enjoy your holidays.
B787 , 11 May, 2011
...
Thank you both for your comments!! :-)
Marta , 01 Jun, 2011
Importer
I would fly 747 any day,I am booked on The A380 mid June Perth Australia- A380 Singapore to London and return,I was hoping for the 777 or 787,since the 747 came into service it have always been my choise, there is no excuse for the cracks, only way is to reduce the payload for now, until all planes is repaired and passed another fully loaded test flight, in the mean time dont play with peoples live, ground the fleet
kel olesen , 17 Feb, 2012
747-400 to forget
lot of things are said but how can people say that a 30 years old model is as good as 15 or 20 years ones! I flew 747-400 and airbus, and me too I needed one week to recover from the flight with boeing. When on 340 or others airbus I arrive and am in good shape. The 747-400 has bad air circulation and a muchhhhhhh muchhhhhhh more vibrations. Do not compare models with 20 years diference. It is another planet. 747-400....FORGET.
wilhelm , 28 May, 2012
747-400
About safety there are all the same although anything can happen anywhere anytime with any airplane of any age. To travel quietly avoid Air France long haul fligts. And 80% of crashes are consequences of human mistake.
wilhelm , 28 May, 2012
747-400 Lufthansa Personal Inflight Entertainment
Has anyone flown the 747-400 Lufthansa long haul to Bangkok recently.
Does it have Personal Inflight Entertainment?

Heather , 30 May, 2012
Old planes?
I heard 747-400 Lufthansa don't have Personal Inflight Entertainment. If that's indeed true, they are stuck in the seventies smilies/cheesy.gif
mirabell , 06 Jun, 2012
Safety Factor
do any one know what is the safety factor on the boeing 747?
John , 26 Nov, 2013
...
All planes are safe or else they wouldn't be able to fly for long.The reason 747-400s are still in service is because they're safe and reliable.
planes , 29 Apr, 2014
A380
B747 is too noisy and old and no IFE.A340 is safe if it does not bump into turbulence as it has soft wings.A380,is the safest and the quietest.
A380 , 27 Oct, 2014

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