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Qantas A380 approaches inaugural touchdown in Los Angeles
THE first Qantas A380 is about two and a half hours out of Los Angeles, en route to the Australian carrier’s first commercial arrival with the big Airbus.
The aircraft left Melbourne earlier today and is scheduled to touch down at LAX at 3.30pm UK time. There it will be met by Qantas ambassador-at-large John Travolta, an accomplished aviator as well as a film star, and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Amenities aboard the aircraft include OnAir connectivity and Panasonic eX2-supported IFE. The carrier has outfitted it with four classes masterminded by eminent Australian industrial designer Marc Newson. “We have been working with Marc on the A380 design for more than five years, and the result, we believe, is the most innovative, functional and intelligent of any aircraft flying today,” chief executive Geoff Dixon said recently. “He has designed almost everything onboard, from the seats and fabrics through to the coat hooks, achieving a look of understated luxury through the use of custom-designed fabrics, innovative materials and premium finishes.”
The 450 seats are located in four cabins – 14 in first-class, 72 in business, 32 in premium economy and 332 in economy. The first-class suites each feature a widescreen 17in LCD screen for IFE, a touchscreen passenger control unit, and a B/E Aerospace seat that transforms from comfortable armchair to fully flat bed. The business seat is the latest generation of Qantas’ Skybed, now offering an extra-long and fully flat bed, a larger in-arm screen, extra storage and more privacy.
The premium economy and economy seats are supplied by Recaro (Inflight Online, September 19). The former features a fully adjustable in-arm widescreen IFE screen, the latter a sliding base that moves with the seatback to yield a more comfortable sleeping position.
Qantas’ A380 passengers will not want for opportunities to socialise. The upper-deck business-class cabin has its own private lounge with leather sofas, a self-service bar, and a large video screen. Premium economy also has a bar, while the masses of economy have no fewer than four.
Laptop power and OnAir connectivity are available in all classes, as is an on-demand IFE service offering more than a hundred films, 350 television programmes, 500 audio CDs, 30 PC-style games, and a selection of audio books, language tutorials, destination information, business education and radio channels.
Qantas plans to follow today’s inaugural with its first Sydney-Los Angeles A380 service on Friday. First services to London, via Singapore, are scheduled to start this January. The airline is due to take delivery of two more A380s by the end of the year and to have a total of eight in service by the end of 2009. The last of the 20 currently on order is due to arrive by the end of 2013.
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