Everything’s Bigger in Texas: Qantas and Emirates Bring A380s and John Travolta Adds to the Excitement in Dallas!

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.

    Qantas A380 Dallas

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:

    Qantas A380 Dallas

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.

    Qantas A380 Dallas

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. “everything bigger in dallas” ??

    LAX and JFK had multiple A380 operators for years. even IAH had A380 arrive earlier than DFW.

  2. The Qanras route makes sense to me, in that there’s plenty of traffic between Australia and the USA, and not many operators. At DFW, Qantas can tie into AA’s enormous network to take pax across the USA and the Americas.

    But how could Emirates possibly make money on this route? Maybe I’m living in the past, but somehow I don’t see a huge planeload of folks wanting to fly between Dallas and Dubai everyday. Oh, sure, they could continue on to India and such, but are there enough high-paying biz travelers to justify an A380 for that service? And while uber frequent flyers might know that Emirates offers good service, I would think the average traveler would still book away from a Middle Eastern airline and a Middle East transit stop. And Emirates basically has no partners at DFW for feed.

    Not a single USA airline has bought an A380. And considering the USA airlines are the most profitable in the world, they seem to know something about the business. When Middle Eastern airlines start running A380s between Texas and the Middle East, profitability is obviously not foremost in their calculations.

  3. @iahphx – the Emirates route is a business disaster. They’re not selling enough premium fares for the 777-200. But they have these A380s, plus Etihad is starting service and they have to “go bigger.”

    But… Etihad has an American partnership, so some feed. Qatar is a member of oneworld and has feed. Both are flying DFW to the Gulf. Emirates is throwing the world’s largest aircraft on the route without a US partner to provide feed. It’s just ludicrous.

    And agree, thoe Dallas – to – India passengers aren’t going to provide the revenue that makes the aircraft work. As I say, the 777-200 was marginal AT BEST.

  4. I’m flying into DFW tomorrow… anything interesting going on for the EK A380 launch that is open to the public?

  5. How reliably does Qantas F award seats go back into inventory if you book using BA avios and then cancel later in order to book with AA miles?

  6. Gary- You wrote in comment 3 above “Etihad is throwing the world’s largest aircraft on the route without a US partner to provide feed.” I think you meant to write Emirates.

  7. Alaska is a partner with Emirates, but there’s no way to feed through DFW — timing of the flights doesn’t work.

  8. That’s some dye job on revolta Travolta! There are so many Hollywood Australians that Qantas could have used. Not sure, if Travolta is the right kind of image for Qantas. Is the dye job is for a movie role, otherwise, Travolta is just scary!

  9. iahphx you said that:

    “the USA airlines are the most profitable in the world”.

    I think you might want to check your facts there. How many times are they bankruptcy? Not too mention the fact that pretty much everyone outside of the USA avoids flying a USA airline at all costs given their bad reputation for product and service.

  10. John —

    The US airlines are indeed the most profitable in the world these days:


    As to whether pax avoid flying them, perhaps they should: these airlines are profitable because they match supply to demand (few empty middle seats!) and they don’t give flyers perks they won’t pay for. Consumers are often better off buying from companies who “give away the store” — until, perhaps, they go out of business.

  11. Good morning Gary. Please clarify “parking the seats” from “… 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.)”. Thank you.

Comments are closed.