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In-flight spas, showers and ‘suites’

Times Staff Writer

If Ritz-Carlton Hotels put a commercial jetliner into service, it would be like the Airbus A380-800 that Emirates Airline displayed Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport.

The giant passenger aircraft, one of the largest and most luxurious ever built, was flown into LAX to promote Emirates’ new A380 service between Dubai and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Emirates held the event at LAX’s Flight Path Museum, where hundreds of guests from the travel and airline industry, as well as local business leaders, toured the gleaming white jumbo jet and went for a two-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean.

The $327-million double-decker Airbus is about 240 feet long and 80 feet high, with 489 seats.

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It is equipped with two shower-spas, two lounges and 14 first-class “suites” fitted with vanities, mini-bars, widescreen video displays and seats that convert to beds.

The showers and adjoining spas -- the first to be installed on a commercial aircraft -- are available to first-class passengers, who pay about $18,000 for a round-trip ticket from Dubai to New York.

The 76 business-class seats are almost as roomy as those in first class and have some of the same amenities, including individual video screens -- though smaller -- and seats that convert to beds.

Seating for 399 coach passengers is comfortable, and their cabin on the lower deck is open and airy. Each seat has its own video screen.

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“That’s the most impressive business-class section I’ve seen in 20 years of flying and selling business travel. Everything is clean, new, plush and comfortable,” said Eve White, past president of the Los Angeles Business Travel Assn., a trade organization.

Emirates, which is owned by the government of Dubai, is set to begin nonstop daily service between Los Angeles and Dubai on Oct. 26, and between San Francisco and Dubai on Dec. 15. These routes, however, will use Boeing 777-200LRs, with 266 seats.

Airline officials say they would like to add A380 service at LAX by 2011 if a market develops in Southern California.

“We need to walk before we can run. The smaller aircraft must be filled first,” said Nigel L. Page, a senior vice president of the airline’s commercial operations in the United States.

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dan.weikel@latimes.com

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Times staff writer Molly Hennessey-Fiske contributed to this report.

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