You tend to remember your first. Err, first A380 flight that is. Mine was on Emirates, in First Class no less, on the fifth-freedom route between Hong Kong and Bangkok. I was mesmerized with the First Class suite, the onboard shower, fully premium upper deck, and the bar lounge at the back of the upper deck.
I remember listening to an interview with Tim Clark, the airline’s president, on the IFE during the flight, stating that he wanted to fly the Emirates A380 to Los Angeles sometime soon. As soon as I heard that, I almost choked on my Dom Perignon.
Los Angeles is the longest route in the Emirates route network, weighing in at 8,339 miles on a polar route and clocking in at 16 hours and 20 minutes coming out of Dubai. By the time the A380 begins service on this route, it will be the 3rd-longest active commercial airline route in the world. The route really only makes sense if you are trying to fly from the American southwest to the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, or southern Africa.
Not only that, but Emirates’ A380 is packed to the gills with all sorts of goodies, including enough potable water for up to 14 First Class passengers to take a 5-minute shower. Airlines nowadays are cutting down their ultra-long-haul services due to fuel costs, simply due to the fact that you have to burn extra fuel at the beginning of the flight to carry the fuel you’ll eventually need at the end of the flight. Of course, Emirates has access to some relatively cheap Middle Eastern oil.
I thought the A380 to LAX was but a pipe dream, and thought nothing of it except that it would be cool if they pulled it off (I live in Los Angeles and travel to the Indian subcontinent fairly frequently).
Color me pleasantly surprised. Emirates has announced that starting December 2nd, 2013, their Dubai-Los Angeles service will be upgraded from the Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380-800. It will be the 7th airline to have the A380 come to LAX, after Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Air France, China Southern, and (soon) British Airways. The airline used to offer 2 Boeing 777-300ER services per day, but that was cut to one. It’s good to see they are adding capacity to Los Angeles.
The following is the proposed schedule:
EK215 Dubai – Los Angeles 8:20am-12:50pm
EK216 Los Angeles – Dubai 4:00pm-7:50pm (+1)
If you’re an AvGeek, lunch at the Westchester In’n’Out is about to be a lot more interesting. Within a 45-minute window, you’ll see three A380 arrivals and one Boeing 747-8i arrival.
This news is great for points aficionados, as well. Just today, Lucky posted about booking one-way awards with stopovers on Emirates using Alaska miles online! I hope Emirates opens up award space on the A380 out of LAX, even if it is close-in.
A couple of days ago, Point Me To The Plane pointed out another interview with Tim Clark that hinted at Emirates starting trans-pacific service from the United States. Los Angeles would be a perfectly placed spot for that, though there is a lot of competition out of LAX. There’s already 3 A380s across the Pacific Ocean with Singapore Airlines to Tokyo/Singapore, Korean Air to Seoul, and China Southern to Guangzhou, not to mention the daily and double-daily flights with American, United, ANA, JAL, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, and the Chinese airlines.
I did notice that the new Tom Bradley International Terminal is going to have a brand-new Emirates-branded lounge. I found it odd that Emirates would have a lounge if they were only going to fly one Boeing 777-300ER to Dubai per day. With the A380 upgrade, and possibilities of trans-pacific flights, it’s starting to make a lot more sense.