Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 7:46 am

In August I will be flying on a Virgin Atlantic A340-300 from JFK to LHR and I was wondering if anyone has ever flown on them. What are the takeoffs like on an A340-300? Are they slow climbing like alot of people have been said in other forums?
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:07 am

TEDSKI,I flew with a A340-300 from Sabena
from Bussels to NY. Maybe slow (we have to think about another word) is not the right word for a takeoff in a A340!!! My friend was sitting next to the window and he is also a AC fanatic as I am but I can tell you, he was very affraid during the takeoff because the plane felt as it has no acceleration!!! There was nothing to feel about power or pushing back into your seat, nothing at all. But the flight was one of the best flights I ever had before because the plane was sooooo quit ahhh it was great and I was sleeping almost during
the hole trip!

Have a nice flight
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:08 am

Yes, they are slow climbing, but for me it was a superb airliner. I flew on VS10 JFK-LHR A343 and I really like the whole flight.


RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:38 am

I did not find the A340 a slow climber, I flew VS24 LAX-LHR in early Jan. I was up in the jumpseat on the climb, the take off roll was not very fast however I would not say it was a slo climber, I thought it did pretty good with a full load.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:40 am


A close friend of mine commutes between YYZ and LHR. He flies either BA (B747 or B777) or AC (A340, B747 or B767). In the last year he has flown on all of these an equal number of times and he feels that the A340 is by far and away the quietest, smoothest of them all. He says that how you feel after an overnight flight from YYZ when you are going directly from the airport to work is important. When he arrives on an A340, he has had sufficient sleep to get him through the day (that is, unless you end up beside a crying baby in the next seat)!. BTW he rates the B767 as the worst of the bunch as far as conmfort is concerned.
I have no memory of this place.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Wed Feb 14, 2001 11:11 am

Well on the way to LHR, with the winds in your favour, you wont even feel the lack of power on the A340.And if it all you do feel the lack of power on the plane it wont be unless you are paying alot of attention to the Navigation system onboard. There is no way that someone just sitting on board can feel that they are going any slow ...... i find some of the accounts quite ridiculous here as people are suggesting that they could actually feel "No acceleration"! He makes me laugh for being pushed back in the seat .... with the exception of take off ..... i cant think of any plane that "pushes back" .....
Drive a BMW M5 and then you would know what "Push Back" is ...... !
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 1:16 am

If you're sitting in seat 45B, what difference does it make if you feel the acceleration or not? And why the fear of no acceleration? These birds have flown a gazillion times with full payloads and no casualties, so whats to be afraid of? This is a passenger airliner for crying out loud, not an F-16. You're not supposed to be pushed back into your seat at Super-G forces upon takeoff. The contention that the A340 is an inferior aircraft because you don't feel the plane rocket off the runaway is absurd.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 1:31 am

Tedski flying on a GE- powered ( okay- cfm ) aircraft???
what has the world come to ?
just kidding...

Stick & Rudder
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 1:52 am

Good one Raggi, I was thinking the same thing. No offence to you Tedski, but it's widely known how much you hate those GE's. Do ya feel safe?
At Pope, where not happy, until you're not happy!
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 2:14 am

I've flown on VS's Lady in Red A340 and I did not notice any difference in its takeoff and that of the B747-100 they ordinarily were using between BOS and LGW at that time (the late, great Spirit of Sir Freddie). Sure, the A340 does not have the takeoff kick that a B757, B747-400, or even a B727 has. But does that mean that the A340 is underpowered, or that the others have a little extra ooomph for getting off shorter runways? The A340 was very comfortable though, and the only complaint I had with it was that the toilets were on the outside wall, and because of the A340's circular cross section, I would whack my head on the ceiling when peeing (I am 6'2" tall). I posted a joke about banging my head in an online forum (think it was on AOL), and the next day received an email from someone at VS apologizing, and saying that they would probably move the toilets at the next major overhaul...hehe
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 2:30 am

KHI747, don't be so arrogant!!! We are not talking
about M5's here. Maybe you are in the wrong forum boy and 2nd read my post first and than make your
smart comments!  Angry Just for the guys here who can't wait to post their f***** comments until they read the end of mine, the A340 is my perferred long-haul plane.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 2:49 am

I flew an LH A340 6 years ago, and was impressed how quite it is on the inside. I was seated just aft of the wing. Climb was slow and even the captain admitted this. The plane is powered by CF56, which are A320 uprated engines !! That explains why it is so underpowered. Airbus had to trade power for fuel consumption. Remember their selling point was it's range. The short rollout was also impressive. I remember I was video taping the takeoff and had the winglet in view. In the playback the winglet simply disappeared just before rotation. I did not notice that while shooting, but it struck me watching the playback at home on a large TV screen. Watch out for that !
The 340 is one of the favorites with me, second only to the B744 .
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 3:33 am

I flew on Virgin A340-300 from LAX-HWR and I thought we were going to end up in the Santa Monica Bay. We were probibly a little heavier than you will be and I wan't expecting the long roll, it was pretty weird. Now I'm used to it after a couple more a340 flights under my belt. Its a lovely plane to fly in, very smooth and comfortable, You will enjoy it, especially for only 6 or 7 hours.

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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 4:50 am

The VS A340 isn't slow at all but not too fast either. I've flown in the Jumpseat a few times and I've got no problems with acceleration. I was a bit worried about the lack of acceleration at first but then the pilots told me that the acceleration is more than sufficient to perform a takeoff hauling a full payload.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:36 am

oops, I ment LHR


Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:46 am

This will not be the first time I have flown on a GE powered aircraft. I have already flown on CFM56 powered 737-300/400s with US Airways, United, and Continental and a CF-34 powered US Airways Express CRJ. Also last year I have flown on a GE CF6 powered Delta 767-300 from CVG to MCO and I am doing it again this year!

RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:39 am

I took a flight not long ago on a full A330-300 (YYZ-YUL) which is a close cousin of the A-340 and the takeoff was slow on that one too. What bothered me about that is that the takeoff is my favorite part! I love that "pushed back in your seat" feeling. I'm always really disapointed when a plane takes off and I don't feel them Gs  Sad. I was never afraid though. The plane was very nice and comfortable.

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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 6:42 am

You are one crazy f****r, tedski!!
take it easy, ok? you might end up in a GE90 powered 777 with - oh no!- composite fan blades, and not titanium.....
I`m just playing with you

Stick & Rudder


Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:36 am

What scared me about GE engines was the story a few months ago on the problem with the CF6 engines coming apart. Also the problem with the GE90 on various 777s that had problems, but I love the CFM56 on the 737-300 thru 900 models, love the takeoff power the 300 model has and how quiet it is versus the hushkitted P&W JT8D powered 200 model. The CF-34 engines on the CRJ are very quiet and smooth running.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 8:02 am

What is it with you people ? Why don't you just sit down & relax when you get on an aircraft instead of worrying whether it is a slow climber or not. Personally I can't tell whether one aircraft climbs any faster than another.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:09 pm

I don't understand why TG gets no 340s; that's an aircraft for TG! Smooth as Silk  Smile

But, TEDSKI, don't worry. Any 747 or 777 pilot can make its takeoff slower than normal 340's. Well, KE would help you; KE pilots usually make 'crazy' takeoff.

Besides, I'm almost ignorant of engines, so I don't participate this engine dual.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 5:37 pm

I ain't been on an A340 but I have noticed them take-off. They aren't the slowest of climbers but compared to the 737,747 and 757 (especially the 757) they are made out to look slow. I have also seen A330 t/o, it wasnt too bad climbing out. I have been on A300 flights and there climbrate was impressive to say the least. Maybe its something to do with the fuel consumption as someone said in an earlier post. Anyway thats my opinion.
Regards, GKirk.
PS Enjoy your flight with VS, you'll love it.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:14 pm

I have flown a lot on A340's (Air France, Air Portugal, Iberia, Lufthansa) and I do certainly agree that during the take off the plane seems to be frightenly slow... But then think about a full pay load 747-200 taking off. I had the same feeling. But the A340 is a fantastic and ultra confortable machine.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Fri Feb 16, 2001 1:27 am

I think the A340's big issue is that the plane takes its liesurely time climbing up to cruising altitude. That was a no-no for SQ because this meant the plane had to dodge around the frequently-rough weather of the Bay of Bengal on the way to Europe. The 777-200ER's with their Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines allow SQ to get the planes to smoother cruising altitudes quicker on the same route.

Generally, the A340-300 was a good plane for its time, but with ETOPS 180 it has been overtaken by the 777-200ER.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:37 am

It's so funny, in every thread about the A340 people are talking about how slow this bird is...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Do you guys mind that the B767 has an ever slower crusing speed?
Why don't you mention it while talking about the B767?

Do you know that the A340 has a lower fuel consumption per passenger mile than the B744, B777 AND B767-300?

As you see, a slower cruising speed has its advantages, especially in times where fuel prices are skyrocketing!

TEDSKI, you'll have a very pleasant flight!
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Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:58 am

WorldTraveller, do you have any more detaiiled information on that comparison between A340's and 767 / 777 fuel economy? I learned that these comparisons are very tricky. Can you at least name a source for your proposition?


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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Fri Feb 16, 2001 4:26 am

A340 does not have lower operating cost per seat mile as compare to to 777. that's one of the main reason that SQ is getting rid of their A340-313E.

A340 will have to remain at lower attitude much longer than 777, hence is subject to more drag caused by denser air at lower altitude that results in more fuel burn.

If SQ were to use A340 with its design cruise speed, the plane will not have enough range from Chengi to CDG, in which 777 can fly with much less effort and lower cost.

In addition there are inherent factor such as turbulence at lower altitude would also provide a less pleasant ride.

P.S. When doe A340 compete with 767.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Fri Feb 16, 2001 10:19 pm


I apologize for not posting my sources:

Here it is:


Apart from the above source, here's what SAS says about their B767/ new A340's:


"Why Airbus?

Basically, this is the best economic alternative. Factors such as aircraft size, fuel consumption, cargo capacity, and maintenance/ground handling costs were considered. The A330/340 has a break-even cabin factor of about 70% as compared with Boeing 767 which has 85%. An average cabin factor above 80% is difficult to reach, so operating with the Boeing 767 has often been unprofitable. Whereas a cabin factor of only 70% with the A340/300 will be profitable.

The Airbus planes do not have the limitations on total cargo capacity that Boeing 767 has. What sometimes happens today with the Boeing 767, if the wind conditions are poor causing higher fuel consumption, is that the aircraft cannot be take a full load (passengers, luggage and cargo) on some destinations.

Environmental demands are met with these Airbus aircraft.

Several other Star Alliance airlines have Airbus in their fleets and SAS, along with the other partners, is seeking conformity within the Alliance.

The airplane’s interior is flexible, making it easy to adapt to new service concepts and products.

This family of aircraft enables future flexibility if SAS, for example, wants to acquire larger, smaller or longer-distance versions of the Airbus.

Aircraft Versions

Both aircraft versions offer the passengers enhanced comfort and in customer surveys Airbus has received the highest score for cabin comfort. Space in the overhead bins is ample and larger than Boeing 767’s, and the seats are wider.

The A340 is purely a long-haul machine with four CFM56-5C4 engines (same supplier as the Boeing 737), which can fly the world’s longest routes without re-fueling. The aircraft is capable of flying non-stop up to 8500 nautical miles, which corresponds to a round-trip Copenhagen-Peking. In SAS they will be used primarily for Asian destinations.

The two-engine A330, which flies mid- to long-range, will operate mainly to North America.


The aircraft have low fuel consumption, lower than Boeing 767.

Airbus meets SAS’s current environmental demands and is continually working on long-term environmental compliance in its production.

The noise level is low, both outside the aircraft and in the cabin."

end quote

BTW Chiawei, I was not talking about lower operating costs, but lower fuel consumption.

And, of course, if you guys have any other sources please share them with us.

Best regards
the WorldTraveller

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Sat Feb 17, 2001 10:33 pm

Well, according to the listing on that Danish site an A340 uses app. 25% less fuel per passenger hour than a B777 at 85% thrust.

There a two points to look at:
1) How fast is the AC as 85% thrust at what FL? To judge fuel economy it is crucial to look at speed too. As is well known, A340 are operated at much lower Mach numbers than 777. That would mean a 777 makes a longer way per hour. Consequently, the fuel consumption per passenger mile for a 777 could be lower than the table would suggest.
2) How fast can the AC climb to an economical FL? Cruising altitude is crucial for fuel consumption. The denser air at low FL's leads to higher drag, thus to higher fuel consumption. As we all know from several postings stuffed with reliable evidence, A340's take much longer time to reach economical FL's. Thus, again, effective fuel consumption might be higher than the table suggests.

Taken together, I am not convinced by the data. Particularly because consumtion per passenger hour is used as a measure for fuel economy. This is critical. Think of measuring a car's fuel economy in gallons per passenger hour. It menas nothing to you because, at least, considering the speed at which the consumption is achieved would be crucial. We do measure a cars fuel economy by MPG or Litres per 100 KM, because this is the only measure that makes sense. Only then you could tell what it takes to get 4 people from a to b.

As I said, fuel economy is a tricky, though interesting thing.

Regards, Rabenschlag.

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RE: WorldTraveller

Sun Feb 18, 2001 12:31 am


The speed difference between 777 and 340 is not very large in terms of percentage - the 340 is not operated at "much lower mach number".

Similarly the climb portion of a long-haul flight constitutes only a small fraction of the whole leg, so the somewhat slower climb is not that large a factor. Keep in mind that the A340's mach numbers and climb rates were selected specifically to minimiuze fuel consumption.

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RE: Virgin Atlantic A340

Sun Feb 18, 2001 3:08 am

I was om a LH 340 from FRA to BOS once and it's a fine plane, very quiet. I had a window seat, which was not a good idea if you are 6'4", because you can't really sit upright. The cabin is not very high and it does not have a real wide-body feel to it.

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