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UPDATE: The race has concluded, nearly 24 hours after it began. Check out who won, and how some twists made it a real nail-biter.
The sun has set for tonight in London, but it's already a bright new day over in Sydney. The miles and time zones between the two world capitals are many, and right now they're the focus of a new, live Top Gear race, as presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May challenge each other to be the first to zip across the globe and touch down at Sydney's Kingsford-Smith International Airport.
Both are traveling on commercial flightsJeremy's onboard Singapore Airlines SQ321 to Singapore and James is on Emirates EK6 to Dubaiand both on Airbus A380s for all legs. They're also due to share their travels on Twitter thanks to the magic of in-flight wifi, but only Jeremy seems to have gotten the hang of using the network onboard his flight, which is currently chasing James' flight across Germany.
But is this race really for BBC's Top Gear? All signs point to yes, as Jeremy notes that it is a "Top Gear race," and the video of their announcing it (posted below), was uploaded to a "Top Gear Live" channel. There's a hashtag, of course: #RacetoSydney.
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Even with all the bells, whistles, and other accessories to check out aboard an Airbus A380 there’s always the chance for a little bit of boredom—especially on a long-haul flight. Thankfully Thai Airways is aware of our limited attention span, and they just flipped the switch on their in-flight connectivity.
In-flight WiFi is now an option on some of the carrier’s long distance journeys, as their A380 fleet is now equipped with the ability to access the internet in all its social media glory. Joining the A380s with the new technology are also some of the carrier’s A330 fleet, as the necessary bits and pieces needed for this kind of connectivity should be good-to-go on these planes as well.
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Yet another exciting destination is being added to the routes the latest British Airways aircraft are flying: the Airbus A380, which premiered at LAX in September, will be starting services from London Heathrow to Singapore Changi (SIN) on October 28.
Initially operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (with the return to London the following day), the route will go daily A380 from February 9 next year. Why Singapore? Heathrow to Changi is an important route for both corporate and leisure traffic and competition is intense, with the original A380 flyer - Singapore Airlines - offering several double-decker services a day between the two cities.
How fast can you run? Faster than a domestic cat, perhaps? What about a less-than-domestic double-decker aircraft with four Rolls-Royce engines? Your answer doesn't really matter, because it's less about speed and more about winning a trip to South Africa on a British Airways A380. Of course, once you've arrived to South Africa after the airline begins nonstop flights on the jet to Johannesburg from London (starting February 12!), you'll be turned out onto the tarmac to see who's faster: you, or the aircraft that flew you.
One of the first glimpses the public had of BA's new super jumbo was last August, when the airline challenged South African rugby player Bryan Habana to beat the speed of the aircraft on a 100-meter track. They started from a dead stop, and the winner turned out the be Habana (although it's not like the A380 can stop so easily, so it made a hasty exit into the skies).
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It's always sunny in Australia, or at least right now it is, during the Southern Summer. Oz is one of those destinations that can take a little more planning and a little more money to make happen, but it's worth it the moment you set foot on Aussie soil. All this week we'll be sharing our best tips for taking that leap for a first-time trip Down Under.
14 hours, 20 minutes is the average flight time for a nonstop between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Sydney. By the time you're onboard, all the stressful packing is behind you, you've already applied for the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) a while ago, and it's time to fully focus on adventures ahead.
Still, the long distance over the Pacific between continents is a destination all its own. If you're flying in Economy Class, it's a challenge to get comfortable for even a moment, let alone enjoy the flight, but these tips will definitely help:
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2013 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready to get going into 2014, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2013 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
It was in early June that a normal Singapore Airlines flight made Instagram and, by extension, the internet, freak out. The flightnonstop on an Airbus A380 from Singapore to Londonencountered severe turbulence for only a few seconds, but it was long enough to shake the double=decker superjumbo aircraft into what looked like a junior high cafeteria food fight.
Now comes the extraordinary part of the story, as passengers managed to snap and share "before and after" photos of the scene. The photos went viral and, to the credit of Singapore Airlines' crew, the world was awestruck at the efficiency of the emergency management of the situation.
Of course it was such a chance occurrencethat this would happen to the world's largest passenger plane, that it would be on an airline most known for their prim and properness, and that it would be a story told completely through social media.
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As if the shiny British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner isn't cool enough with their service between Newark and London, new and especially exciting routes to more North American cities were just announced this morning.
Currently, British Airways only flies their 787s from Heathrow to Newark and Toronto. Beginning next year, however, two more lucky destinations will join the list: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport from March 3, and Philadelphia International Airport from June 5.
To score a seat on the 787, you'll want to book flight numbers BA 191/190 for Austin, and BA 68/69 for Philadelphia on or after the start dates mentioned above.
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If you're one of those frequent flyers who hoard miles for the ultimate trip, now is your chance to burn some of them for a once in a lifetime experience, even though you won't even leave the ground. Kinda.
Qantas is opening up something typically only reserved for their own pilots, and giving members of its frequent flyer program the opportunity to play in one of their A380 flight simulators in exchange for a substantial chunk of earned points. For those jetsetters who have at least 275,000 points, the super-jumbo simulator could be yours (and you can bring a friend).
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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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This has been a week of ups and downs on social media for British Airways. After sailing on positive press for their new A380 and 787 aircraft, a hit came in the form of a single promoted tweet bashing their luggage handling. More on that later.
For now, we return to their bright and shiny planes new to the tarmac, both of which will take to the skies on their inaugural routes within 30 days of each other. In fact, the 787 already has set up and out on its route from London to Toronto, but it's the London to Newark route inaugural on October 1 that'll be the real trophy. To prepare for this and the September 24 start of the A380's service between Los Angeles and London, BA is launching a fresh ad campaign, first debuted this morning on social media channels.