MIAMI — British Airways launched its second Airbus A380 flight to the United States between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles Thursday. The British flag carrier also used the occasion to open a new 10,000 square foot business and first class lounge at Dulles.
The A380 landed to the traditional ceremonial fire-hose welcome and media were given a tour of the new lounge, located in Concourse B. Sean Doyle, BA’s executive vice president, Americas, hosted the festivities.
“The story here is bigger than the A380 arriving at Washington Dulles. The bigger story is about British Airways’ investment in new aircraft and lounges, and our customers are loving it,” he said. “We’re already flying the A380 to Los Angeles, and have announced service from San Francisco. We have 12 A380s on order for delivery through 2016.”
BA’s A380 holds 469 customers across two decks and four cabins, including: 14 first class lie-flat suite seats, 97 lie-flat Club World seats, 55 World Traveler Plus premium economy seats, and 303 World Traveler seats.
The first class seats are on the main deck, while business class is on the main and upper deck, said Doyle. “But the seating in all four classes are broken up, so you don’t see long rows of seats. It’s actually cozy and quiet,” he said.
The airline will start service by offering five A380 flights a week between London and Dulles and by the end of October, the service will operate daily. The flight will complement BA’s existing daily Boeing 747 flight and a Boeing 777 flight that’s operated three times a week.
BA built a new, larger lounge at Dulles to accommodate the 14 first class and 97 business class passengers departing on the A380 to London Heathrow, said Doyle. “We also wanted to invest in a better experience. We want them to enjoy the lounge and relax before they get on the plane,” he said. It can accommodate 200 passengers.
The lounge, which can accommodate 200 passengers, has a mix of private spaces, plenty of open seating, a bar with great views of the airport and work areas. First class passengers can have a pre-flight meal in a private dining with waiter service and premium wines and spirits. Business class passengers have access to a full buffet with full meals and gourmet appetizers and snacks.
“We want passengers to enjoy and relax in the lounge before they get on the plane,” said Doyle. “They can dine beforehand to maximize their sleep on their flight.”