Qantas today begins flying its flagship Airbus A380 from Sydney to Dallas in place of the Boeing 747 that’s shuttled between the two cities since May 2011.
It’s touted as “the world’s largest passenger aircraft flying the world’s longest route” – a nod to both the size of the double-decker superjumbo and the 13,804km stretch from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth airport.
And it's also a long flight if you’re counting off the clock: a potentially bum-numbing 15 hours and 35 minutes on the direct QF7 Sydney-Dallas leg. (And the return leg, which is also a direct flight, takes an extra hour again).
The best way to see those hours through will be in first class, which is one way that Qantas’ A380 trumps the Boeing 747. It has 14 first class suites which feature not only superior comfort and service compared to business class, but a ten-course degustation menu designed by Neil Perry with matching wines.
The Flying Kangaroo on the tail of this DFW-bound A380 has also been dressed for the occasion, with a Stetson hat and a 'neckerchief' with American-stars print, as seen on this sneaky spy shot.
From tip to tail and across all four classes – first, business class, premium economy and economy – the Airbus A380 carries some 120 extra passengers over the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
It also packs 323,000 litres of fuel – “equivalent to eight backyard swimming pools”, Qantas says – to make each leg of the trip.
At current fuel prices that's worth a staggering A$252,632 – yes, Qantas' stateside ride costs over a quarter of a million dollars in gas alone!
"The Dallas/Fort Worth service offers direct access right into the heart of the US with over 50 connections to all US major cities all within four hours, including Orlando, Boston and Houston" said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“Since starting on the route in 2011 the feedback from our corporate customers, especially those in the resources, technology and agricultural sectors, tells us they like flying into the Dallas hub because it gets them closer to their final destination in the US and offers great onward connections.”
Sydney to DFW, DFW to lots more places...
DFW is the home port of Qantas’ partner American Airlines, so passengers arriving on QF7 can transfer to direct flights to over 50 destinations in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Qantas says the most popular cities for QF7 connections are Orlando, Boston, Houston and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
The superjumbo's additional flying range over the Boeing 747 sees the former Brisbane stopover of QF8 on the Dallas-Sydney leg axed, with the A380 flying non-stop on its return journey.
One wrinkle of the superjumbo service is that Qantas' daily flights to Dallas are being trimmed back to six days a week, with the new schedule dropping Tuesday departures from Sydney.
However, the A380 flights will return to a daily roster over the 2014-2015 summer holiday season from December 9 2014 to January 20 2015.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT