Emirates has launched the world's longest A380 superjumbo flight, from Dubai to Los Angeles, on a route that crosses Russia, the Arctic and northern Canada.
The journey of 16 hours and 20 minutes covers 13,420 kilometres. The first flight touched down on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Previously Emirates had flown the long-range Boeing 777-200LR jet, which it began flying to Los Angeles in 2008. The airline said the introduction of the 489-seat Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet, was a response to increased demand for travel between the two cities.
The time difference means the daily flights will depart Dubai at 8.20am and arrive in Los Angeles at 12.50pm on the same day. Conversely, the return flight departs LA at 4pm and arrives at 7.50pm the next day.
Although Airbus has suffered this year from slow sales of its flagship aircraft, Emirates recently said it viewed the superjumbo as the future of air travel and ordered 50 more of the jets on top of its existing order of 90 – 41 of which have been delivered.
"For us the A380 is the future. And we don't like anyone talking about it not being around," president Tim Clark said.
Clark recently indicated that the airline was looking at the possibility of increasing the number of economy class seats by up to 40.
Like Singapore Airlines, Emirates has used the enormous size of the A380 to deliver unique features for passengers, especially at the pointy end. The airline's first-class cabin has bathrooms with showers – a world first when introduced in 2008.
While Emirates now lays claim to the world's longest A380 non-stop flight, the title for the longest non-stop flight by distance, is held by Qantas. The longest flight time is Delta Air Lines' Johannesburg to Atlanta flights which take 17 hours. The Emirates flight is the world's third longest by distance.
Qantas flights from Sydney to Dallas, with a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, cover a whopping 13,800 kilometres and take a little more than 15 hours.
Qantas took the title last month after Singapore Airlines ended its non-stop flights from Singapore to New York, a 19-hour slog that covered 16,700 kilometres on a four-engine Airbus A340-500. The flights, which were business class only, had struggled to maintain profitability because of rising oil prices.