I flew business class on Air France's Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, and the experience is what I imagine the golden age of air travel was like

I think it's so cool seeing how mammoth the plane is when you board on two jetbridges.Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

  • Flying in business class on Air France's Airbus A380 from New York to Paris round-trip was a treat.
  • The airline only has five superjumbo jets in operation, and Airbus recently announced it was ceasing production on making any more new ones.
  • Travel junkies laud the A380 for how quiet it is. I couldn't believe how soundproof the mammoth double-decker plane was.
  • Here's what the journey was like, from check-in to the lounge, to the flights themselves.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

I'm rarely excited to get on a plane. These days, flying feels more like a chore. Airlines are packing more and more seats in planes to boost profits, and passengers are crammed in as tight as can be. If you didn't know your neighbor before you got on the plane, you sure do by the time you get off.

But for a recent trip to Europe, I flew business class on Air France's Airbus A380-800 - the legendary superjumbo jet. I'd never been on a double-decker plane, and I was so excited!

Read more: The $446 million Airbus A380 superjumbo is the largest and most expensive airliner in the world. Take a look inside.

From check-in to the airport lounge, to the seamless boarding process, to the plane ride itself, Air France's attentive service, delicious food, and thoughtful amenities made flying a luxury.

But the A380 is a dying breed. Airbus announced in February that it was discontinuing production of the model, and Air France said last fall it was getting rid of five of its 10 superjumbos, and retrofitting the other five. As Business Insider's correspondent Benjamin Zhang has written, the plane is simply "too big, expensive, and inefficient for most operators."

I usually fly Delta, and we booked these round-trip tickets from New York to Geneva through them, so I ended up getting almost 14,000 SkyMiles for my flights. Air France and Delta are partners in a trans-Atlantic joint venture that allows them the ability to jointly market their flights and share costs. The highlight of the journey was flying on the superjumbo from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Here's what it was like to fly business class round-trip on Air France's A380-800.

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After whisking through priority check-in and TSA PreCheck, then wading through the hustle and bustle of JFK's Terminal 1, the Air France lounge beckoned with the promise of exclusivity.

After whisking through priority check-in and TSA PreCheck, then wading through the hustle and bustle of JFK's Terminal 1, the Air France lounge beckoned with the promise of exclusivity.

Inside, the Air France employee at check-in asked if I wanted my dinner in the lounge or on the plane. The airline now offers this "Night Service" option for its two latest overnight flights, AF009 and AF011, so you can go right to sleep once you board.

Inside, the Air France employee at check-in asked if I wanted my dinner in the lounge or on the plane. The airline now offers this "Night Service" option for its two latest overnight flights, AF009 and AF011, so you can go right to sleep once you board.

Source: Air France

I arrived as the sun was setting over the New York City skyline, and the atmosphere felt truly magical. I was surprised by how few people were in the lounge when I arrived, but it filled up as we got closer to takeoff.

I arrived as the sun was setting over the New York City skyline, and the atmosphere felt truly magical. I was surprised by how few people were in the lounge when I arrived, but it filled up as we got closer to takeoff.

It seemed like upstairs was reserved for those in business or first class who were having dinner, while downstairs was open for other passengers with status, but I couldn't be sure. There was better food upstairs, too.

It seemed like upstairs was reserved for those in business or first class who were having dinner, while downstairs was open for other passengers with status, but I couldn't be sure. There was better food upstairs, too.

A reoccurring theme flying Air France was that everything started with champagne.

A reoccurring theme flying Air France was that everything started with champagne.

There was also a full bar available with liquor, wine, water, soft drinks, and coffee from the Nespresso machine.

There was also a full bar available with liquor, wine, water, soft drinks, and coffee from the Nespresso machine.

Menus for everything were in French and English. All of the employees in the lounge and on the planes I encountered were fluent in both languages, too.

Menus for everything were in French and English. All of the employees in the lounge and on the planes I encountered were fluent in both languages, too.

The bread selection was divine. New York water + French proclivity for making bread for the win.

The bread selection was divine. New York water + French proclivity for making bread for the win.

The salad bar was probably the best I've ever seen in an airport lounge, full of fresh ingredients.

The salad bar was probably the best I've ever seen in an airport lounge, full of fresh ingredients.

The cheese and dessert bar were equally as impressive. The toffee tart was my favorite thing I ate in the lounge.

The cheese and dessert bar were equally as impressive. The toffee tart was my favorite thing I ate in the lounge.

Time for the main course! We opted to have our dinner in the lounge since we were there so early and wanted to eat at a real table. The options were beef brisket, vegetables in tomato sauce, pollock, or chicken.

Time for the main course! We opted to have our dinner in the lounge since we were there so early and wanted to eat at a real table. The options were beef brisket, vegetables in tomato sauce, pollock, or chicken.

I chose the pollock and immediately regretted it. It had an overwhelmingly fishy taste, and I abandoned it after two bites. At least the pesto was vibrant and the potatoes were tender. I was also surprised it was simply an airplane meal on a nice plate. I was expecting something more restaurant-quality.

I chose the pollock and immediately regretted it. It had an overwhelmingly fishy taste, and I abandoned it after two bites. At least the pesto was vibrant and the potatoes were tender. I was also surprised it was simply an airplane meal on a nice plate. I was expecting something more restaurant-quality.

Luckily, there was enough to fill up on with the salad, cheese, and dessert bars. I also figured I could eat a proper main course on the plane.

Luckily, there was enough to fill up on with the salad, cheese, and dessert bars. I also figured I could eat a proper main course on the plane.

When boarding, passengers on the upper deck went into one gateway, and passengers on the lower deck went into another. Being in business class, we waltzed right in with no line.

When boarding, passengers on the upper deck went into one gateway, and passengers on the lower deck went into another. Being in business class, we waltzed right in with no line.

Here's what an Air France Airbus A380 looks like in daylight.

Here's what an Air France Airbus A380 looks like in daylight.

Time for the flight! Here were our seats. I was by the window. Air France A380s boasts 80 business class seats, all of which are on the upper deck. In total, there are 516 seats on the plane including nine first-class suites.

Time for the flight! Here were our seats. I was by the window. Air France A380s boasts 80 business class seats, all of which are on the upper deck. In total, there are 516 seats on the plane including nine first-class suites.

The business class cabin had six seats per row in a 2-2-2 configuration so everyone had ample space. I would suggest choosing one of the two window bays if you're traveling with someone and choosing the middle bay if you're alone. The middle bay has two aisle seats, so you don't have to climb over someone you don't know (or have them climb over you).

The business class cabin had six seats per row in a 2-2-2 configuration so everyone had ample space. I would suggest choosing one of the two window bays if you're traveling with someone and choosing the middle bay if you're alone. The middle bay has two aisle seats, so you don't have to climb over someone you don't know (or have them climb over you).

Source: SeatGuru

One of my favorite features was that they left a labeled hanger at every seat. It avoided the awkward moments when you're holding your coat wondering if a flight attendant will take it.

One of my favorite features was that they left a labeled hanger at every seat. It avoided the awkward moments when you're holding your coat wondering if a flight attendant will take it.

I could not believe the bin by the window fit my entire giant travel purse, which I originally got for an old 24" laptop.

I could not believe the bin by the window fit my entire giant travel purse, which I originally got for an old 24" laptop.

In total, each seat had five bins, plus a footrest — two in between the seats, one under the footrest, one next to/behind the seat, and one by the windows.

In total, each seat had five bins, plus a footrest — two in between the seats, one under the footrest, one next to/behind the seat, and one by the windows.

I was kind of bummed by how small the tray was, and that it was the kind that came out of the armrest. But the flight attendants put a tablecloth over each one for meal service, which classed it up.

I was kind of bummed by how small the tray was, and that it was the kind that came out of the armrest. But the flight attendants put a tablecloth over each one for meal service, which classed it up.

While I remembered the seats being advertised as "lie flat", I found that it was partially true. We decided that the seats do reach 180 degrees, but it's canted at an angle. Looking back at Air France's website, they call them "angle flat" seats.

While I remembered the seats being advertised as "lie flat", I found that it was partially true. We decided that the seats do reach 180 degrees, but it's canted at an angle. Looking back at Air France's website, they call them "angle flat" seats.

Source: Air France

You can lie almost flat. During the night, I found myself slipping down toward the footrest a few times. That and the turbulence interrupted my sleep a few times.

You can lie almost flat. During the night, I found myself slipping down toward the footrest a few times. That and the turbulence interrupted my sleep a few times.

But I love the cocoon-style seats. Anything that makes it so the person reclining their seat in front of you doesn't impede your space is a win in my book.

But I love the cocoon-style seats. Anything that makes it so the person reclining their seat in front of you doesn't impede your space is a win in my book.

I always find airplane seat material scratchy. Since Air France doesn't offer sheets, I scored an extra blanket to line the bottom of the seat so I could lay on it for extra softness and cushion. I also got an extra pillow to make lying down feel more like a bed.

I always find airplane seat material scratchy. Since Air France doesn't offer sheets, I scored an extra blanket to line the bottom of the seat so I could lay on it for extra softness and cushion. I also got an extra pillow to make lying down feel more like a bed.

The amenities were of good quality. Each business class passenger got a set of socks and slippers for the flight.

The amenities were of good quality. Each business class passenger got a set of socks and slippers for the flight.

Inside the amenity kits were a sleep mask (thank God since I forgot mine!), a pen, earplugs, a floss pick, a mini hairbrush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and Clarins lotions.

Inside the amenity kits were a sleep mask (thank God since I forgot mine!), a pen, earplugs, a floss pick, a mini hairbrush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and Clarins lotions.

Source: Business Traveler

The TV screen was a good size — here's a magazine for scale. While the entertainment options weren't nearly as varied as Delta's, they still had a handful of new releases in English that I wanted to watch.

The TV screen was a good size — here's a magazine for scale. While the entertainment options weren't nearly as varied as Delta's, they still had a handful of new releases in English that I wanted to watch.

One cool feature was that you could add shows to your list of favorites before takeoff so your choices were all queued up by the time you were ready to watch them in the air.

One cool feature was that you could add shows to your list of favorites before takeoff so your choices were all queued up by the time you were ready to watch them in the air.

The dinner selection onboard was slightly different from the options in the lounge — Wagyu beef, chicken, and an altered vegetarian option.

The dinner selection onboard was slightly different from the options in the lounge — Wagyu beef, chicken, and an altered vegetarian option.

The wine selection, as I would expect on a French airline, was superb.

The wine selection, as I would expect on a French airline, was superb.

Once we got seated, flight attendants offered champagne. I was drinking it when they were drinking champagne on the flight in "Crazy Rich Asians", too!

Once we got seated, flight attendants offered champagne. I was drinking it when they were drinking champagne on the flight in "Crazy Rich Asians", too!

I asked if I could just have the chicken since the fish in the lounge was bad, and after first apologizing and telling me they only had enough plates for the people scheduled to eat on the plane, the flight attendants found me a plate of the chicken! Such service.

I asked if I could just have the chicken since the fish in the lounge was bad, and after first apologizing and telling me they only had enough plates for the people scheduled to eat on the plane, the flight attendants found me a plate of the chicken! Such service.

My dad had asked for just a salad, and they ended up giving him the Wagyu beef, too. Both dishes were served with expertly reduced sauces and came with the option of warm bread.

My dad had asked for just a salad, and they ended up giving him the Wagyu beef, too. Both dishes were served with expertly reduced sauces and came with the option of warm bread.

Mood lighting, which changed throughout the flight, had a calming effect. While the lights were mostly out during the night, I still was only able to get a few hours of interrupted sleep in with all the turbulence. But it's true what they say about how quiet the upper deck of the A380 is! It's noticeable.

Mood lighting, which changed throughout the flight, had a calming effect. While the lights were mostly out during the night, I still was only able to get a few hours of interrupted sleep in with all the turbulence. But it's true what they say about how quiet the upper deck of the A380 is! It's noticeable.

Before I knew it, breakfast was served. The croissant was warm while the fruit salad and juice tasted fresh. I always struggle with wanting to eat breakfast on overnight flights when my body thinks it's 3 a.m., but this was a nice snack to wake up to.

Before I knew it, breakfast was served. The croissant was warm while the fruit salad and juice tasted fresh. I always struggle with wanting to eat breakfast on overnight flights when my body thinks it's 3 a.m., but this was a nice snack to wake up to.

I snapped a shot of one of the bathrooms, which was a standard airplane bathroom. The one on the other side of the plane was much larger! You could even turn around in it without hitting the door or the toilet.

I snapped a shot of one of the bathrooms, which was a standard airplane bathroom. The one on the other side of the plane was much larger! You could even turn around in it without hitting the door or the toilet.

We asked one of the flight attendants where the stairs were, and she took me over to see them, then insisted on taking my picture. How fun!

We asked one of the flight attendants where the stairs were, and she took me over to see them, then insisted on taking my picture. How fun!

Other than the stairs and the dual jet-bridge boarding process, you couldn't really tell you were on a double-decker while you were on the plane.

Other than the stairs and the dual jet-bridge boarding process, you couldn't really tell you were on a double-decker while you were on the plane.

While Emirates and Etihad chose to fit first class showers by the top of the front stairs on their A380s, Air France decided to use the space for a weird screen area. It seemed to feature information on France. I can't imagine many people using it.

While Emirates and Etihad chose to fit first class showers by the top of the front stairs on their A380s, Air France decided to use the space for a weird screen area. It seemed to feature information on France. I can't imagine many people using it.

Read more: What it's like flying business class on the soon-to-be extinct Emirates A380

After roughly 7 hours, we reached France, and the sun was shining over its farmlands.

After roughly 7 hours, we reached France, and the sun was shining over its farmlands.

The flight attendants returned our coats to us, and we got to watch the landing on the awesome cameras they have attached to the plane's nose, tail, and bottom.

The flight attendants returned our coats to us, and we got to watch the landing on the awesome cameras they have attached to the plane's nose, tail, and bottom.

When we pulled in to Charles de Gaulle Airport, two of Air France's five A380's were parked at the gates next to us. It was awesome seeing so many in the same place.

When we pulled in to Charles de Gaulle Airport, two of Air France's five A380's were parked at the gates next to us. It was awesome seeing so many in the same place.

On the flight home, I got to check out the massive Air France lounge at its home terminal at Charles de Gaulle. It was one of the biggest I've ever been in (Virgin's at Heathrow takes the cake in my experience).

On the flight home, I got to check out the massive Air France lounge at its home terminal at Charles de Gaulle. It was one of the biggest I've ever been in (Virgin's at Heathrow takes the cake in my experience).

But as big as it was, the place was packed. I did a loop around the entire thing before finding a good seat.

But as big as it was, the place was packed. I did a loop around the entire thing before finding a good seat.

Sadly, the food was not nearly as varied as it was at the JFK lounge. This could be because I got there between lunch and dinner. But there was still plenty of alcohol available.

Sadly, the food was not nearly as varied as it was at the JFK lounge. This could be because I got there between lunch and dinner. But there was still plenty of alcohol available.

The bathroom had sweet lighting that was very flattering.

The bathroom had sweet lighting that was very flattering.

Once I got to the boarding area, I could not have been happier to be in business class, which meant I was boarding first in Zone 1. The line was a nightmare.

Once I got to the boarding area, I could not have been happier to be in business class, which meant I was boarding first in Zone 1. The line was a nightmare.

It was immediately clear how difficult it is to get up to 516 passengers on board a plane in under an hour. Air France allotted 45 minutes to board on the way there and 55 minutes to board on the way back.

It was immediately clear how difficult it is to get up to 516 passengers on board a plane in under an hour. Air France allotted 45 minutes to board on the way there and 55 minutes to board on the way back.

I only had a few people in front of me and headed up the escalator to the upper deck within minutes. I think it's so cool seeing how mammoth the plane is when you board on three jet-bridges.

I only had a few people in front of me and headed up the escalator to the upper deck within minutes. I think it's so cool seeing how mammoth the plane is when you board on three jet-bridges.

Lunch on the flight back was delicious. After an amuse bouche of a single scallop, we started with a salad, a pea puree, and shrimp tartare with mango. Everything was flavorful and paired nicely together.

Lunch on the flight back was delicious. After an amuse bouche of a single scallop, we started with a salad, a pea puree, and shrimp tartare with mango. Everything was flavorful and paired nicely together.

The guinea fowl was tender, with another flavorful sauce, and lovely mushy potatoes. Both flights had Sancerre, my favorite wine, and the flight attendants refilled my glass multiple times.

The guinea fowl was tender, with another flavorful sauce, and lovely mushy potatoes. Both flights had Sancerre, my favorite wine, and the flight attendants refilled my glass multiple times.

Dessert featured a scrumptiously tender blueberry cake and chocolate cake. I also opted for what was hilariously translated on the menu as "very old" Calvados. It was strong and I got a huge pour! I couldn't finish it all and immediately took a nap.

Dessert featured a scrumptiously tender blueberry cake and chocolate cake. I also opted for what was hilariously translated on the menu as "very old" Calvados. It was strong and I got a huge pour! I couldn't finish it all and immediately took a nap.

The other main dish options besides the guinea fowl were veal, cod, and vegetarian lasagna. They also served a chicken tortilla with another dessert before we landed, but I wasn't' hungry then (because of the time change my body thought it was 1 a.m.).

The other main dish options besides the guinea fowl were veal, cod, and vegetarian lasagna. They also served a chicken tortilla with another dessert before we landed, but I wasn't' hungry then (because of the time change my body thought it was 1 a.m.).

Landing meant getting to watch the feat on the TVs again. I got so excited every time I got to do this. While the first landing was bumpy (and made it clear we were putting the world's heaviest passenger plane on the ground), the second one was fine.

Landing meant getting to watch the feat on the TVs again. I got so excited every time I got to do this. While the first landing was bumpy (and made it clear we were putting the world's heaviest passenger plane on the ground), the second one was fine.

Overall, my round-trip flights in business class on Air France's Airbus A380-800s were divine. The service was attentive and felt so much warmer than anything you get on any US airlines. It's like they were genuinely happy to help you. It hearkened back to the golden age of air travel when flying was a luxury instead of a chore.

Overall, my round-trip flights in business class on Air France's Airbus A380-800s were divine. The service was attentive and felt so much warmer than anything you get on any US airlines. It's like they were genuinely happy to help you. It hearkened back to the golden age of air travel when flying was a luxury instead of a chore.

Read more: Vintage photos show how glamorous flying used to be

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