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Qantas A380 Service

Qantas, the Australian airline carrier with the cool kangaroo logo, made history yesterday as the very first airline to operate A380 service in the United States. I won’t be looking for this puppy to land in my home town of Little Rock any time soon ever. After talking with a Delta Air Lines pilot, it’s my understanding that few airport in the U.S. can actually accommodate the big, fat plane. Both because the aircraft need a sufficiently lenghty runway to land the behemoth and because the jet-bridges in the airport aren’t equipped to handle a plane of such a large size. I’m no rocket surgeon, but that seems to make sense. You can’t very well make 450 people take the stairs and walk across the runway.

Qantas is initiating regular service between Los Angeles/Melbourne and Los Angeles/Sydney on the A380. The A380 is configured with 450 seats in four cabins, including 14 in First Class, 72 in Business Class, 32 in Premium Economy and 332 in Economy Class.

The newest airplane on the block features:

  • 14 single private suites in First Class featuring a 17″ LCD wide screen video monitor with a touch screen control unit, and a seat that swivels into a comfortable armchair and a fully flat, extra long and wide bed
  • The “next generation of Qantas’ award-winning sleeper seat Skybed” in Business Class, which is longer and flatter and features “ergonomically enhanced cushioning,” as well as a larger in-arm entertainment screen, more storage space and more privacy
  • A private lounge area in the upper deck Business Class cabin, complete with leather sofas, a self-service bar, large video monitor with laptop connectivity and a feature display cabinet (how cool is that?!)
  • Premium Economy seats by Recaro, with adjustable, in-arm, digital wide screen entertainment monitors, and a self service bar just for the upper deck Premium Economy cabin
  • Recaro seats in Economy Class that contain a fancy sliding base that moves with the seat back to “create a more comfortable, ergonomically tested position to aid sleep and eliminate pressure points and a foot net to stop sliding during sleep”
  • Not one, not two, but four self-service bars in Economy Class
  • THE state-of-the-art Panasonic inflight entertainment system with more than 100 on demand movies, 500 television selections, up to 1,000 audio CDs, 30 PC style games, and a selection of audio books, language tutorials, destination information, business education and radio channels.
  • Mr. Dixon (a Qantas big shot) said the airline will take delivery of three A380 aircraft by the end of the year, and have eight in service by the end of 2009. The airline has ordered a total of 20 of the aircraft, all of which should be in service by the end of 2013.

    “By the end of 2009, when our eighth aircraft has been delivered, Qantas will offer daily A380 services to Los Angeles from Melbourne.”