India, May 3, 2010
Traveling in business class is different in many ways from travel in economy class - especially in the sounds of takeoff and landing in a Boeing 747-400.
Business class in Lufthansa's 747 jet airplanes is right up front, the forward portion of seating curving inward to form the nose of the aircraft. The forward business class seating, where I write this from is also just below the pilot cabin and above the forward landing gear.
Sounds during airport taxi
As forward business class is just above the nose gear, you can hear when the plane's wheels roll dangerously close to the edge of the tarmac. Like the shoulder of a highway, the tarmac edge is grooved, and you can hear the hum when the wheels roll across it.
As the pilot centers the aircraft on the runway, you can hear the wheel striking the runway lights - the bumps quickly increasing in pace as the plane accelerates towards flight. Once airborne, you hear the nose gear retract, and in this 747-400, it makes quite a racket, shacking the island in the middle of the forward business class seating space.
If the jet aircraft passes through rain during takeoff or initial accent, you can actually hear raindrops pelting the nose. For someone usually in economy class, I was surprised by the noise. I would've thought the soundproofing required for cabin pressure maintenance would muffle mere raindrops, even if hit at several hundred miles an hour.
Like in takeoff, the landing gear coming down makes quite a racket, and then the wind noise covers all sound until the landing gear is fully extended. Then it subsides to a loud whoosh - like if your window was open when you're driving a car.
Surprisingly, when the nose gear touches down, you don't really hear it. Only the tarmac noise if the pilot hits bumps or edges.