A 747 in the age of A380s: how can Cochrane learn from the past and compete 20 years on?

Jonathan Craig, Jeremy Grimshaw, David Tovey

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


As Cochrane's 20th anniversary year comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on what we have learnt and to consider how well the organisation will overcome the challenges ahead. Recently, as a passenger with a well‐known commercial airline, one of us (JC) experienced the stark difference between an ageing Boeing 747 and one of the new state‐of‐the‐art, double‐decker Airbus A380s. On the outbound leg, after about 45 minutes, when typically one is starting to flick through the in‐flight entertainment while pretending to work, and contemplating how to negotiate the joys of in‐flight dining, the whole plane was jolted and dropped. People who weren't belted in ended up on the floor, and flight attendants were sent flying. Concerned, we looked out of the window, expecting to see the sea come up to greet us. It might have been OK if it wasn't for one flight attendant who was busy crawling up the aisle crying out helpfully, “Oh my god, this is it, this is it! Crash positions!”. At this point I (JC) sent a plaintive text to my wife indicating that my best times might have come and gone. A few minutes went by, and the pilot's voice on the speaker system confirmed our creeping realisation that it was actually OK and it was just unexpected turbulence. The rest of the flight was relatively uneventful, and spent patching up four passengers and crew with minor injuries in difficult and cramped conditions, with equipment that wasn't really fit for purpose. 36 hours later, the return journey was undertaken on an A380 and couldn't have been more different. Quiet, effortless, spacious travel as it should be. Of course, such a comparison was confounded by the turbulence, which can affect any flight and is dependent on the weather rather than airliner type, but the overall comparison in passenger experience between travel on a 747 and an A380 is pretty clear. No need for randomised comparisons here.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberED000074
Number of pages2
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochrane
  • Cochrane reviews


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