nothing is more modern than air travel.
As stimulating adventure, flying nowadays ranks somewhere between appearing in traffic court and going to Blockbuster with the DVD of Shrek 2 that my toddler inserted in the toaster. Thus the maiden flight, on April 27, 2005, of the Airbus A380, the world's largest airliner, did not spark the world's imagination. Or it did—with mental images of a boarding process like going from Manhattan to the Hamptons on a summer Friday, except by foot with carry-on baggage. This to get a seat more uncomfortable than an aluminum beach chair.
What a poor, dull response to a miracle of engineering. The A380 is a Lourdes apparition at the departure ramp. Consider just two of its marvels: Its takeoff weight is 1.235 million pounds. And it takes off. The A380 is the heaviest airplane ever flown—171 tons heavier than the previous record holder, the somewhat less miraculously engineered Soviet Antonov An-124.