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Los Angeles International Airport had a week like no other last week: a new terminal, a Hello Kitty invasion, a new Star Alliance flagship lounge, and inaugural flights of the British Airways Airbus A380. We’ve been giving you all the details from the front line, now with everything you need to know onboard during a regular long-haul flight.
LAX-LHR may be the only British Airways A380 route to North America right now, but we’re pretty sure that Miami will be the second US destination, beginning some time in 2014. Let’s hope so, because in every aspect the A380 is an improved flying experience, no matter which cabin you are in.
Once the A380 touched down in Los Angeles and received her water cannon salute from the LAX fire brigade, it was our turn to try her out. We waved goodbye to the Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra impersonators at the gate's red carpet and went up the air bridge to an upper deck Club World (Business Class) seat for the overnight flight to London.
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As the 14 lucky First Class passengers on the new British Airways Airbus A380 were working their way through The Langham London’s afternoon tea and five-course tasting menu en route to Los Angeles, we were already on the ground in California for a proper welcome following its maiden long-haul flight.
There was a water cannon salute made over the aircraft by the LAX fire brigade, and champagne, cupcakes, and little A380 models at the gate. Passengers were even treated to a red carpet and step-and-repeat complete with Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin impersonators.
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This is a big week for Los Angeles International Airport. First it debuted the $1.7 billion dollar makeover of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and then it welcomed a Hello Kitty-themed 777. Naturally they've saved the best for last, as British Airways today celebrates inaugural long-haul flights of their spanking new Airbus A380, nonstop from LAX to London-Heathrow.
In fact, while we type this, there are 469 travelers up in the sky in this plane, enjoying a memorable first meal service. Only 14 of those 469 will be privy to the most unique British Airways menu currently flying, however; it's one created specifically for this aircraft and route by The Langham Hotel, London. Sure, the 97 seated a little further back in the Club World/Business Class cabin will also enjoy a Langham menu, but that's a three-course affair while First gets a full, five-course tasting menu and afternoon tea withshockerthree premium champagne options.
Let's have a look!
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9,500 miles on one fell swoop. Welcome to the longest commercial flight in the world, Singapore Airlines non-stop between Singapore and Newark. As much as we hate the word "bucketlist," that's what this isa superlative experience with an entry in the history books and, sadly, an expiration date.
The planned distance of flight number SQ 22 is 9,525 miles with a scheduled flight time of 18:55h. The return, SQ 21 from Newark to Singapore, is a tad longer depending on winds, but we count them together. Even the aircraft is special; it's an Airbus A340-500 arranged with only 100 seats, all Business Class. The 1-2-1 configuration means comfort and relative privacy for both solo travelers and couples.
November 23, 2013 is the final flight of SQ 22, and Singapore's route from Los Angeles (the second longest flight in the world) is also due to end, on October 20, 2013. You have been warned. This season is the last chance to get onboard the world's longest flights, but a white glove experience comes with a premium price; a roundtrip starts from $7,500 during these finale months (but they do accept Star Alliance miles for award bookings).
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Ignore the fact that it's Monday and put on a smile, because we've got good news and great news!
First, the good news: the rumored JetBlue premium lie-flat "suite" seats are very real, very adjustable, and coming to the airline's brand new Airbus A321s in May 2014, for the JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO routes. In fact, we've seen them with our own eyes and sat in them with, well, our own butt.
Keep in mind that these seats are only samples, and until the finalized versions are in place within aircraft, details can be changed. It's a bit like viewing wedding cakes "for display only," but still having to wait until the big day to taste the real thing. That said, JetBlue employees have been sitting and taking selfies in these seats for weeks now, and it's only a matter of time before it's your turn.
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Here's another chance to haul out those giant markers and brush up on your airplane designing skills. The scarlet low-cost airline, AirAsia, is giving fans a chance to paint one of seven new aircraft. And while it's super cool to be able to walk through an airport and say, "see that plane, I designed that!," the grand prize is even better than just having your art taking to the skies.
The Asian LCC is calling on its most creative passengers to come up with a new livery for its newest Airbus A330s. Each of the seven birds are already named and the paint job should reflect that theme, but with names like XKLusive, Xiao Long Bao, Xeoul Mate, Xiaolin Spirit, Xcintillating PhoeniX, Harmonious DiverXity, Xakura Blossom, the creativity will be free flowing. The winner of the best livery will not only have their design on the side of a plane, but be flown to the Airbus factory in France to see where these babies are born.
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Just over a year ago we first told you about American Airlines, and their plans to woo celebrities, business people, and other hotshots that regularly fly from coast to coast. A lot has happened since then, but the basic premise remains the same—new Airbus A321s with lie flat seats will be doing the transcontinental flights from New York to spots like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Just to remind you of what these planes are packing, each brand-y new jet will be a true three-cabin aircraft with 10 of those totally flat sleeper seats in First Class, 20 seats in Business Class, and then plenty of other seats back in Economy Class—including three dozen or so extra legroom Main Cabin Extra seats. Even with JetBlue trying to cash in on the transcontinental market, we’ll risk saying that American Airlines might just have the best up front product on cross country flights.
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They're heeeeerrrrrrrreeeee! The "First Class" seats JetBlue has been dangling in front of transcontinental flyers were finally leaked, but there's still quite a long road ahead before the private suites with lie-flat seats (yes, lie-flat seats on a JetBlue plane!) take to the skies in fresh-off-the-factory-line Airbus A321s.
A video and some details were shared yesterday at the Global Business Travel Association convention in San Diego, but it looks as though December will the be possibly earliest passengers will have the privilege to plop down and prop up their feet.
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In case you were wondering how big an Airbus A380 really is, perhaps this picture will provide some sense of perspective: it shows the brand new British Airways A380 nose-to-nose with its smallest cousin, the teensy Airbus A318. How cute is that? You can almost hear the Disney Planes dialogue: “Move over, little one”. “I ain’t going anywhere, big guy!”
This unique photo-op happened at Shannon Airport (SNN) in Ireland. Why there? The Airbus A380 is on its rounds of familiarization flights before it will start flying to and from Los Angeles on September 24, and made a trip to Shannon as part of this cycle. The A318 of course makes its daily stop on the way to New York-JFK from London’s City Airport, where it refuels, and if you’re on the magic flight number BA001, you can clear US immigration.
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Starting next February, British Airways is planing to bring one of their newest birds down to Johannesburg, so it makes sense to build some excitement around the news of a new A380 route. We're not talking about painting London cabs like safari animals or dishing up biltong on every BA flight (although that would be cool); this one involves a little man versus machine action.
The newest advertisement from the airline features South African rugby player, Bryan Habana, challenging the super jumbo to a race in the hopes that they'll discover which finely tuned machine is faster. The 100 meter race takes place on a runway (of course) and has the sportsman racing the Airbus from a dead stop. Although Habana slows to a stop, obviously the super-jumbo rotates to complete a takeoff.
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Is it a panda or an airplane? The correct answer is...it's a panda-plane! Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) may have had this special livery Boeing 767 since 2007 as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of their flying to China, but this is the year the panda look really gets a workout.
Starting October 1, 2013 ANA will increase seats from Tokyo to Chengdu, China, aka the "panda capital of the world." Instead of the 737 that once serviced this route, ANA will fly it using a 767. You can expect to see this panda plane as often as possible at Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport. Imagine being able to fly a panda plane there, stay in a panda hotel, and then visit actual pandas? Even British Airways has famously gone bonkers for Chengdu this year.
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Imagine being one of only 50 people onboard an airplane built to fly 500. This was our experience yesterday, July 4, as British Airways took delivery of its very first Airbus A380 from Airbus' HQ in Toulouse, France. Stay tuned as we explore the outside, inside, all around and even BA's other new toy, the Boeing 787, over the next few days.
Right here, right now may be your only chance to tour all four cabins of the British Airways A380. You see, once it begins regular passenger service, there's those pesky privacy curtains separating World Traveller (Economy) from World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy), and definitely keeping the riff-raff away from Club World (Business) and First Class. As we frolicked on the A380 during the delivery flight from Airbus HQ to Heathrow, there's even a cockpit peek bonus!