It's easy to claim this looking back. I would not agree. Even today.
We see big city growth to continue. We see Asia developing. We see India just beginning.
There IS a need for big airplanes and there will be this need. The only problem the A380 had was that twins with some newer more efficient engines could match its seat mile cost. Mount to the A380 the same 787/A350-generation engines and the bigger size will pay off immediately again. It won't work with at least half a generation older engines versus the latest twins. And quite a few A380 cabin configurations had wasted too much space. This is expensive to fix now.
Did it enter the market too early? Yes.
I think you misunderstand and undervalue the decisions made by the airlines which inroduced the A380.
Like everyone else I assume, I watched the A380 intro (finally).
Over time I noted many many operators using very modest configurations - less than 400 seats was not uncommon.
Why would an airline cripple the economics of a massive people-mover (600-850 seats) by running it below 400 seats?
Indeed, the airframe that was going to, single-handedly, fix the LHR traffic-jam?
How does running less than 400 seats into LHR fix anything?
Well, of course, it did not fix anything.
Such stupid aiirlines, no?
I suspect that you should look no further than the jibe by the EK 777 crews: "We follow the A380s to bring the bags".
We should not forget that the EK 777Ws were especially given the cattle-class "people-mover" configs - and so with unattractive business /first accomodation,
This has always been much derided here on A-net as absolute proof-positive that the 777W was horrible to travel-in.
But despite all that the 777Ws still could move the bags - and lots more besides.
To cut away - reading the thread up and down I see some merit in VV's opinon:
EG - "The A380 was not introduced too early - it was in fact introduced too late".
I admire the technical achievement of the A380.
I am quite prepared to believe that it was nice to travel-in, if you were in Business/First (Economy seemed to be a much more mixed reaction)..
But I cannot support the thinking which led to the A380.
I have read all the threads for year-in and year-out.
LHR is always instanced as the proof that the gigantic people-mover must inevitably have it's day, and sweep all before it.
Well, we have seen it for 15 years - and it didn't work.