Airbus A380 Interior Too Quiet, Eliminates Precious Privacy

The last bastion of privacy on airplanes is their blanket of white noise, but that may soon vanish: Pilots are complaining that the Airbus A380 jumbo is so quiet, they can't get any rest.

I actually get pissed off in TV shows and movies (Jerry Friggin' Maguire comes to mind) when people in coach eavesdrop on people in first class, or vice versa, because airplane engine white noise is just too thick for that to realistically happen. But now, apparently, it's all coming horrifically true: Pilots say that when they are on breaks, they can hear "every crying baby, snoring passenger and flushing toilet," says Wired's Autopia blog.

According to a publication called Flightglobal, the Dubai-based Emirates Air is begging Airbus for some kind of solution to the problem that would not, of course, weigh things down. Emirates SVP Capt. Ed Davidson says that pilots are complaining: "On our other aircraft, the engines drown out the cabin noise. [On the A380] the pilots sleep with earplugs, but the cabin noise goes straight through them."

Wired also quotes Airbus nemesis Boeing on the subject:

In stories about the A380 passenger experience, we read that even seated by a window, you could hear conversations on the other side of the airplane, or even several rows away. In some reports, when passengers mentioned that this might be a bit disconcerting, they were told that one might have to "get used to" eavesdropping on an airplane...

Man, they didn't even get to bodily functions and I'm already sorta kinda feeling sorry for all those billionaire oil barons who fly the Emirates' skies. Small saving grace: When flying Singapore Airlines's A380s, at least they won't have to put up with assorted clumsy attempts at joining the Mile High Club. [Wired]