Last weekend I joined the first AF A380 service from LHR to CDG. Billed as a limited crew training exercise for the summer this could prove to be a turning point for the A380. It is becoming a modern day Concorde, turning heads and getting ordinary people's attention not seen for a while. People want to fly in it, but not necessarily long distances.
Airbus need to look at this and build a basic $250m short haul version and offer to lease them in large numbers. It needs to have a cabin layout with no IFE or options for airlines to change, other than the number of classes available. The daft airline customisation of the A380 has nearly killed it and Airbus, as has Hamburg.
If handled correctly the A380 could become the B747 of 1970s. A plane for everyone rather than just the long haul elite. Airports need to be less worried about the A380 and it's size too. AF this week proved it is as agile as an A320 by starting the take-off roll on 27L just 300m from the gate; from the S4 intersection with 538 passengers on board! We climbed out of London like an excited puppy and even on arrival at CDG it cornered like it was on rails. The French are fearless creatures.
You can rely on Air France for an experience.