British Airways A380 set for first long haul flight

The British Airways A380 is set to take off on its inaugural long haul flight today (September 24) with the 4.15pm BA269 to Los Angeles.

Dubbed the ‘red carpet route’ due to its destination’s glitz and glamour, the A380 aircraft is the first and only to operate between London and Los Angeles. While more than 318,000 British citizens travel to Los Angeles every year, the launch of the new route is reportedly facilitated by frequent flying celebrities, including Hollywood actress Thandie Newton, actress Gemma Arterton, and South African rugby player, Bryan Habana, to name a few.

The A380 is the world’s largest commercial jet and 16 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor, the Boeing 747. British Airways’ A380 will have a total of 469 seats over two decks, with four cabins.

Passengers on the inaugural flight will be treated to music from Melanie C and Matt Cardle performing live in Terminal 5, ahead of the flight’s departure. VIP guests on the A380 inaugural flight will be presented with exclusive goodies including luxurious Sunspel pyjamas and a leather Dunhill case. A five-course tasting menu by The Langham is available to First Class customers, including poached lobster, chicken tea and seared scallops.

Thandie Newton, who posed for pictures aboard the aircraft, said earlier: ‘British Airways’ A380 aircraft is like a grand hotel in the sky. It’s luxurious and ultra modern. I feel particularly lucky because I make frequent trips to Los Angeles, and now even a long weekend to LA seems appealing, because the holiday begins as soon as you get on the superjumbo. Who thought travelling could get any more exciting?’

Ernest Wooden Jr, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, said: ‘The home of endless entertainment, Los Angeles is a plethora of exciting and hip new trends from food to fashion, arts to architecture. After reaching a record 41.4 million visitors last year, we’re prepared to reach new heights and with the help of the new A380 route we’re now setting our sights on the 50 million visitors milestone by 2020.’

Return fares to Los Angeles on the A380 start from £508 in World Traveller (economy), £888 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), £2,092 in Club World (business class) and £5,904 return in First.

Twelve A380s will join the British Airways fleet over the next four years as part of the airline’s £5bn investment in products and services for customers. The aircraft is due to fly to Hong Kong from October 22 and Johannesburg from February next year.