Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emirates to launch A380 service to LAX

Emirates airlines will begin flying the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, between Dubai (DXB) and Los Angeles (LAX) starting December 2.

The 489-seat A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER, which is currently serving the route. Emirates has been flying to LAX since 2008.

The double-deck Airbus will offer 14 private first-class suites, 76 lie-flat beds in business class, and almost 400 seats in economy.

“As Los Angeles is known for its luxury and the Hollywood lifestyle, bringing our A380 into the market was a natural fit as it allows every Emirates passenger a taste of the glamorous life at 35,000 feet,” Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ senior vice president of the Americas said in a statement announcing the addition of the A380.

While in-flight comfort is always welcome, in this case it’s absolutely vital, as the flights are between 15-1/2 and 16-1/2 hours in duration.

The A380 service will depart DXB at 8:20 a.m. local time, and arrive at LAX at 12:50 p.m. local time. The return flight will depart LAX at 4:00 p.m. LA time and arrive at DXB at 7:50 p.m. UAE time.

A380, the world's largest commercial aircraft
For those able to indulge in top-flight comfort, Emirates’ A380 will include two onboard shower spas for first-class passengers, and an onboard lounge with beverages and snacks for premium passengers on the plane’s upper deck. Food and beverages will be complimentary for passengers in all classes.

In-flight amenities will include the ice entertainment system with more than 1,400 channels of movies, TV shows, games and music. Passengers will also have WiFi access, as well as SMS, e-mail, and the ability to use their cell phones at every seat.

WHAT?!? Cell phones on an airplane? YIKES!

You can tell I’m not pleased with the prospect of sitting near someone who is on their phone, most probably talking about the most inane things, during a long flight.

“To use the service, your own mobile phone or mobile data provider must have a roaming agreement in place with OnAir or AeroMobile, Emirates’ service providers,” an Emirates spokesperson told me in an e-mail. Charges for the service are “in line with international roaming rates,” which can be $2 a minute or more.

A380 on-board lounge
That may means that the cost will keep the calls down, and the flight attendants keep the passengers’ voices down.

“Cell phone usage has not been something that passengers have complained about,” the spokesperson continued, adding that, “Flight attendants are trained to keep all passengers as happy as possible throughout their journey with Emirates.”

The announcement of the A380 on the airline’s longest route in terms of distance comes on the heels of an announcement of A380 service added to Zurich, Switzerland. The A380 to Los Angeles complements the double daily A380 flights already in place between Dubai and New York’s JFK airport and becomes the 23rd A380 destination on the Emirates global route network, the airline’s PR material said.

Emirates currently serves seven destination in the U.S.: Los Angeles, San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Washington DC (IAD) and New York (JFK). It has also announced a new trans-Atlantic route from New York to Milan, Italy, which will begin on October 2.

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Photos courtesy Emirates
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