Emirates’ Airbus A380 service may be back, but U.S. is still excluded
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Note: This article was updated on September 19, 2020, with new information. It was originally published on June 23, 2020.
The world’s biggest international airline has resumed flying the biggest passenger airplane. Emirates, which carries more passengers between different countries than any other airline, restarted service with the Airbus A380 on July 15, according to a tweet on its official account. The first destination served by the A380 from the Emirates base in Dubai was London’s Heathrow airport and Paris CDG.
The entire Emirates fleet of 115 A380s was previously grounded in response to the drop in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. Still, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has made optimistic statements on the prospect of returning all of them to service.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
While New York-JFK was slated to see A380 service in August, the airline has since updated its flight schedule and will only fly 777-300ER and -200LR aircraft to its U.S. destinations. This includes Emirates’ fifth-freedom New York-JFK to Milan (MXP) route previously operated by an A380.
While the return of the Airbus super-jumbo to service via the largest operator in the world is undoubtedly a positive development for aviation, indicating a return of some of the demand lost with the pandemic, the future still looks bleak for the A380 in general. Regardless of what Emirates has done with it this summer, it remains too large an aircraft for most routes’ average year-round demand. Air France has already decided to get rid of all its A380s and Lufthansa will not resume flying it before 2022, if ever.
The onboard experience on the A380, which has been the giant airplane’s calling card since it entered commercial service in 2007, has also been seriously affected by the coronavirus. The showers for first-class passengers, and the bar for first and biz, which used to be the top differentiator of the Emirates onboard experience, are currently suspended and facing an uncertain future. And while first class on the Emirates A380 was an experience worth splurging for in pre-pandemic conditions, these days, flyers won’t get the same over-the-top service and lavish meals. In fact, the first-class suites on some Emirates Boeing 777s are now better than first class on the A380.
Emirates’ home in Dubai reopened to visitors on July 7, although with stringent conditions.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh
Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.