Lufthansa has chosen the name it will use on its A380 double-decker Airbuses: “Lady Bee”.
Yup, that’s right.
In a competition to give the aircraft a name that would do for the A380 what the name “Jumbo Jet” did for the Boeing 747 back in the ’70s, Lufthansa was flooded with 150 000 suggestions. Fifty made the shortlist and of those “Lady Bee” won, earning its originator 1 million air miles.
Somehow, I don’t see people flocking to fly the Lady Bee. Jumbo Jet suggested awe and excitement and a bit of majesty. The name gave the world, as Jack Parow might have said, a plane “with the fresh new look”. Lady Bee, on the other hand, lacks, well, gravitas.
When the 747 appeared, it revolutionised air transport. Part of that revolution lay in its looks with that top-deck hump. The top deck was supposed to be a cocktail lounge – a bit like the cocktail lounge mock-ups for the A380 that Airbus used to show-off to visiting journos in Toulouse – but the airlines soon got wise to the fact that they could stuff the hump with fare-paying self-loading cargo and improve the aircraft’s operating margins even more.
The 70s marked the end of the Golden Age of air travel and it’s hard these days to enchant a bored and cynical public. (Not to say my suggestions for the A380 were any good, either. There can never be another Jumbo Jet so what do you call the Airbus SuperHeavy?).
Maybe the French will do better.
PHOTOS: (top) A German Airbus employee is halted in his tracks by the spectacle of one of the first A380s at the factory in Toulouse, France. PICTURE: Paul Ash
(below) Lufthansa publicity shot from the early 70s shows what purports to be passengers chilling in the cocktail lounge in the “bubble” of a Boeing 747.
You’ve got to be kidding… Lady Bee?!! LOL!
I can just see it now – I’m heading to OR Tambo to ride the Lady to Frankfurt.
It does look like a Lady Bee — or Lady Bug — so that’s not so bad after all. The original Jumbo Jet still looks sharper – and flies faster than anything that seats more than 50 people…