Qantas flight QF7 has just left the ground in Sydney, on its way to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Texas. This is the outbound leg of the world's longest flight route, but from today onwards, it has another point of difference: the equipment flying that route is one of Qantas' Airbus A380s, the world's largest passenger aircraft.
QF7 departed at 1327 local time — a mere 17 minutes' delay after its 1310 time slot — and, right now, is starting its journey along the approximately 14 hour, 50 minute long route across the Pacific. This leg isn't strictly the longest flight in the world, to be fair — that's the QF8 return leg, clocking in at 15 hours and 30 minutes (thanks to headwinds).
The QF7-QF8 route, up until today, was flown by Qantas' 747-400ER, and already held the honour of being the world's longest flight, covering a full 13823km as the crow flies. The return leg QF8 had to stop in Brisbane on its way back to Sydney, though, but the increased efficiency of the significantly newer A380 negates that need and the flight will now travel directly to its termination in Sydney.
10 per cent more seats on the A388 configuration, including Qantas' first ever First Class seats — in cabins designed by recent Apple recruit Marc Newson — means Australia's national carrier can shuttle more passengers than ever to the US' largest transport hub. DFW is also the home of Qantas affiliate American Airlines.
The new A380 is decked out in Qantas' traditional flying kangaroo, but to celebrate the route change to the world's largest passenger aircraft, the kangaroo is sporting a Stetson hat and American star-print neckerchief. "G'Day Texas" is emblazoned on the forward doors. There's a special celebratory menu, too (including everyone packed into in Economy):
First: A mouth-watering 28-day Nolan dry aged cowboy rib eye complete with mac & cheese, wedge salad and a choice of mustard
Business: Chipotle pork tortillas with sour cream and roasted corn and tomato salsa
Premium Economy: Texas hot dogs with chilli black beans and chipotle mayonnaise;
Economy: A selection of old favourites including Dr Pepper, Cream Soda, Root Beer and Jolly Ranchers and pulled beef sliders as a snack option until March.