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This is the week! From January 15, the brand-spanking-new Airbus A350 begins regular commercial flights and welcomes passengers to the enjoy everything Airbus has been working on since 2004.
As far its place within the range of the newest aircraft out there, the A350-900 is larger than a 787-800, smaller than an A380, and due to replace the A330 for some of the airlines adding it to their fleets. It costs $295 million each, and there's some 700 orders on the books for the plane. With those numbers, more and more travelers will soon find themselves walking down the jetway to board a plane they've never before experienced.
And what an experience. Thanks to technology, modern materials, and a refreshing re-focus on passenger comfort, the Airbus A350 is about to silence many of the most common complaints in air travel. Here are just a few:
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It's not every day that an airline welcomes an airplane so new that no one else has it yet. That was, however, the case this week as Qatar Airways celebrated the arrival of the first Airbus A350. Come next week, anyone can fly on the plane and, with over 700 orders for the aircraft (80 just from Qatar Airways), this will hardly be the last you'll hear of it.
Why is Qatar Airways’ A350 so special? Put quite simply, the airline has it first. The A350 rolled off the runway at Airbus’ Toulouse factory to land at Doha and begin its service, as Qatar Airways is the “Global Launch Customer” for the type; they’re debuting the plane, setting the bar, and offering an experience unavailable anywhere else.
In addition to its body of advanced materials and engines that are the cleanest yet, the Airbus A350 also brings onboard humidification systems (no more dry eyes and skin!), an air management system that filters the entire cabin of air every 2-3 minutes, improved cabin temperature levels (no more “too hot” or “too cold”), and seats designed specifically for Qatar Airways and their heightened standards for both luxury and comfort.
Speaking of the seats...
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Want to ride in a flying saucer?
Me neither. Those probes are cold.
But here’s something close to it, and kind of cool. Airbus has filed a patent for a new plane design that has a UFO-style look to it. The application dubs the invention as an “Aircraft Including a Passenger Cabin Extending Around a Space Defined Outside the Cabin and Inside the Aircraft.” Shorter version: a plane where passengers are seated in concentric circles. Or as one publication put, as “flying doughnuts.”
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When it comes right down to it, all aircraft are works of art. One particular masterpiece of recent is the super-jumbo A380, with its double-decker curves and four-engine strength. British Airways is particularly enthralled with their sparkling new A380s and thus created a piece of video art in homage to it.
The British carrier has swapped canvas for fuselage to celebrate their newest non-stop route between London-Heathrow and Singapore with a stunning video that's right out of the cool 4D trend of late. You knowwhen a projection on a building gives the illusion of it coming alive right before your very eyes.
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ORD would be the last of the top 5 busiest U.S. airports to upgrade facilities for the double-decker airplane, and this is great news not only for travelers, but for a few airlines who have already pinned Chicago on their route map.
The massive airplane will head on over to Terminal 5, and the 34 airlines who call it home in Chicago have agreed to open up their wallets and cough up the $1 million for the preliminary designs for the airport upgrades. This comes after O'Hare's newest runway, (10C and 28C) along with nearby taxi route, was rated to accommodate the heavy aircraft.
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Earlier this summer we were finally able to check out FInnair and their up in the air abilities, but now it looks like we’ll have to try them out once again—we know, so difficult. That’s because the carrier is anxiously awaiting some brand new planes from the folks over at Airbus. The planes are some A350-XMBs to be specific, and in advance of their arrival the airline is showing off and sharing some images of the cabin.
The design, look, and feel of things are all thanks to the dSign Vertti Kivi & Co firm over in Helsinki. Travelers can expect a more spacious cabin, but that’s probably more the airplane than the design team—think larger windows, ambient lighting, and an improved air filtration system.
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We don’t talk too much about Skymark Airlines, but you may recognize the name—or at least the look of the airline—from recent news that they'd be outfitting their flight attendants in miniskirts. This week’s news has nothing to do with the carrier’s up in the air uniforms, but it has everything to do with their plans for some planes.
The airline was all hot and heavy over an order for a few new airplanes from the folks over at Airbus, and these included some of those super jumbo jets known as the A380. Well it looks like the Skymark checking account is a little short, and now Skymark Airlines is taking back their promise to order these Airbus A380s, which may mean their facing a penalty from the airplane manufacturer.
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Ever heard of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line? We're guessing probably not, but the Smithsonian sure has; the seaplane carrier is classified as the world's first airline, which inaugurated commercial air service in 1914 when it took off with one paying passenger. It may have been a short journey (only 23 minutes!), but the Airboat Line's impact extends to today as commercial aviation has become a $2.2 trillion dollar industry, employing over 57 million people.
In 2014, the world celebrates 100 years of commercial air travel, but that's not all.
In this last century, airlines and airplanes have evolved into a fact of everyday life for travelers, and some of the pioneering companies will mark milestones this year. Here's who to wish "happy anniversary":
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What you see above is the original Qantas “Skybed,” the angled flat seats which are still found on the airline’s Airbus A330s and which we experienced on a recent flight from Bangkok to Sydney. They wont be around for much longer though, as an improved business class seatfully flat, and all seats with aisle accessis being rolled out from the end of this year.
While we had a pretty good flight on this overnight sector, and spent most of it stretched out in our window seat trying to get some sleep, we’ll be looking forward to the refurb for a number of reasons. We’ll give you a quick rundown of what things are like today, and what you can expect going forward:
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Earlier this month, we were spending a few early morning hours at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in the (pretty fabulous) Qantas First Class Lounge, which aside from rather swank surroundings comes with great views of the apron and city.
Sitting in one of the window-facing seats, watching aircraft taxiing here and there, we spotted an Airbus A340-600 being towed away with the Sydney skyline in the distance. At first, we didn’t think much of it among the rest of the aircraft movements, only realizing when we focused on the branding that we were in fact watching something a little more significant; this was one of the very last Virgin Atlantic aircraft to touch Australian soil, as the service from London discontinued just a few days later.
As we round a week of chronicling the world's longest and shortest flights on the newest and most notable planes on the planet, it only makes sense to highlight which route is lengthiest for the whale of the skies, Airbus' A380. Some of these aircraft have showers for first class passengers, in-flight duty-free shops, and wider cabins for a bit more space to make spending multiple hours on the aircraft a whole lot more enjoyable.
Emirates is two-for-two on these top spots with their regular A380 service from Dubai to Los Angeles. EK 215 spends about 16 hours, 35 minutes making the 8,339 mile trek around the globe, which gives ample time to experience the world-class service for which Emirates is well known.
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This week we've been covering off the world's shortest and longest flights on one of the most exciting aircraft out there, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Thus, it's time to switch it up and have a look at some superlatives for the Airbus A380.
The Airbus double-decker is a superjumbo which can fly up to 853 passengers in an all-economy class configuration. Usually these planes are outfitted with several classes, and carry around 525 passengers, but airlines like Korean Air only pack in 407 travelers. With these kind of seat numbers, the A380 is usually reserved for long-haul flights to increase efficiency, but there are a few short hops for the massive plane.