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July 29, 2008

Qantas Sets A380 Schedule for U.S. Routes

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Australian airline Qantas will launch its A380 service to Los Angeles from Melbourne beginning October 20, according to Wally R. Mariani, Senior Executive Vice President. The world’s largest airplane will initially fly the route two times per week moving to four times per week in November. Qantas will start A380 flights between Sydney and London via Singapore in January.

Mariani noted that while the A380 can hold over 800 passengers, Qantas’ configuration with only 450 seats is the fewest seats in any configuration that has been announced by an operator of the plane. Qantas will offer 14 seats in First Class, each individual seat offering a full variety of amenities such as massagers, large video screens and a buddy seat for companion dining. In Busines Class, Qantas will have 72 seats which for the first time recline into a fully flat and horizontal position. While pricing varies, a random check of flights for travel in December show Business Class priced at approximately $19,000 roundtrip and First Class at $25,000 for Los Angeles to Melbourne return.

Mariani told Elite Traveler the airline is continuing to fight the battle for premium passengers on the ground with the launch recently of its new First Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne that offer curbside porters, escorts through security and passport control and a lounge that has a full spa, restaurant and other high-end amenities. First Class passengers in Los Angeles now get escorts on departure through priority security and arrivals assistance as well.

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