Yesterday Qantas arrived at Dallas Fort Worth with an Airbus A380 for the first time, three years after they began service with a 747. They’re going from 7 day a week service down to 6 (dropping Tuesdays), but in the process:
- Adding 10% more capacity to the market
- Bringing a better in-flight product
- Eliminating the required stop in Brisbane in one direction
This is the longest flight in the world.
Tomorrow, Emirates brings an Airbus A380 to Dallas for the 12th longest flight in the world.
The Emirates flight brings a first class shower and great award availabiltiy this winter. (Not entirely surprising as they weren’t filling premium cabins on the 777 they’ve had running the route.)
To book Qantas A380 first class awards, certainly to get two seats, you nearly always have to book more than 331 days out which means parking the seats with points from a program like British Airways. (You don’t actually want to spend the exorbitant mileage and cash cost to fly on a BA-issued Qantas award like that, in all likelihood.)
Seeing the very first scheduled service Airbus A380 at Dallas was a big deal, with tons of fanfare. Qantas and the airport put on a big show. And media came out to see it:
I joined them, we were bused out to the tarmac to wait for the flight’s arrival. The airport was getting ready too — here they are practicing the water cannon salute.
Everyone’s pulse raced as the plane could be seen off in the distance.
The plane touched down slowly, it looked like slow motion, received its water salute and taxied towards the modified gate set up to take the superjumbo.
I had heard but thought folks were joking — Qantas painted a cowboy hat on the tail for the occasion!
After the plane had parked, everyone retired to a conference room landside upstairs in the D (international) terminal.
There we heard remarks from the airport’s President and from Qantas Airways Senior Executive Vice President for The Americas, Vanessa Hudson. And John Travolta, Qantas’ spokesman.
He came across as warm and genuine, more than I would have expected. He clearly loves flying (he was one of the first non-test pilots to fly the Airbus A380 with Qantas) and loves Australia and the Qantas brand.
Not the best quality, I took this by hand, but I grabbed a video of Travolta telling the story of how he came to work with Qantas.
I’ll be in Australia a couple of times in the coming months, with one trip on an award with a Qantas A380 in first class which is always exciting.