Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Emirates begins A380 service to LAX

Emirates airlines began non-stop service using the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, between Dubai (DXB) and Los Angeles (LAX) December 2.

The 489-seat A380 that was welcomed to LAX with a water cannon salute following its first landing (at right) replaces the Boeing 777-300ER, which previously served the route. Emirates has been flying to LAX since 2008.

Water cannon salute welcomes Emirates A 380
“Bringing the glamorous A380 set of wings to the City of Angels seemed like a natural fit as this aircraft mirrors the luxury of the Hollywood lifestyle,” Hubert Frach, Emirates' divisional SVP for commercial operations west, said. Frach was among the passengers who arrived in LA aboard EK 216, Emirates’ inaugural A380 flight from Dubai.

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

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. To help make the long flight more comfortable, first class passengers can take advantage of one of two onboard shower spas. There is also an onboard lounge with beverages and snacks for premium passengers on the plane’s upper deck.

Emirates memorialized the first flight in this video:



All passengers can enjoy WiFi, the industry-leading ice digital widescreen offering up to 1,500 channels of on-demand in-flight entertainment, and gourmet-chef prepared meals, served by international and multi-lingual cabin crew. Food and beverages are complimentary for passengers in all classes.

A380 on-board lounge
The A380 also gives passengers the ability to use their cell phones at every seat.

While 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, Emirates officials say it hasn't been an issue thus far.

“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.”

To use the service, a passenger's own mobile phone or mobile data provider must have a roaming agreement in place with OnAir or AeroMobile, Emirates’ service providers. Charges for the service are “in line with international roaming rates,” which can be $2 a minute or more, an Emirates spokesperson told me in an e-mail. That may means that the cost will keep the calls down, and the flight attendants keep the passengers’ voices down.

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.

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

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). The carrier also began flying a new trans-Atlantic route from New York to Milan, Italy on October 2.

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Photos and video courtesy Emirates
Click on photos to view larger images

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