Flying for 15 hours nonstop fun or boring?
The world's biggest passenger plane has been placed on the world's longest airline route.
A Qantas Airbus A380 touched down Monday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, about 15 hours after leaving Sydney, Australia. The plane's journey had been 8,578 miles.
The double-deck, four-engine jet was greeted with a water-cannon salute. Then it taxied to a two-story gate that was configured just for the behemoth.
The inaugural flight carried a full load of 484 passengers, according to a Qantas airlines spokesman.
DFW is a large airport with connecting flights throughout the U.S. and Latin America. That makes it ideal for the plane and the route. But the A380's size also limits its appeal. Smaller planes such as Boeing's latest, the 787, are more economical on many routes.
Qantas previously flew the Sydney-Dallas route with the Boeing 747. That jetliner required a stopover in Brisbane, Australia.
"The 747 served us really well, but it doesn't have the range of the A380," said Qantas Senior Executive Vice President Vanessa Hudson. "The A380 is much bigger, so we can actually now provide 10 percent additional capacity."
For travelers wishing to fly the new route, it won't be cheap. Hudson said tickets are roughly $1,900 in economy. Tickets are double that for the roomier seats in premium economy. They cost $7,000 for business class and $12,000 to $13,000 for first class. In first class, the airline tosses in a set of pajamas and a sheepskin mattress.
The special A380 gate at DFW was to be used again this week. The airline Emirates is scheduled to fly the huge plane between Dallas and Dubai.
Critical thinking challenge: For Quantas, what are the advantages of the A380 over the 747?