Emirates Takes A380 Off US Route For The First Time

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates’ growth the past several years has been explosive, in particular in the US. They’ve added service to many new destinations, including Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Seattle, and more. On top of that they’ve added additional frequencies on US routes, and in many cases upgraded routes from 777s to A380s. Emirates might have 99 problems, but too little capacity on US routes ain’t one of them. šŸ˜‰

There has been no sign of the growth stopping, despite the fact that many of their existing US A380 routes are far from consistently full. Nonetheless we haven’t seen any planes downgraded from A380s to 777s, and we also haven’t seen any routes be cut.

Well, for the first time it looks like Emirates will be downgrading the aircraft operating a US route.

As of July 1, 2016, Emirates will be downgrading the Dubai to Houston route from an Airbus A380 to a Boeing 777-300ER.

Emirates A380

EmiratesĀ 777-300ER

This is a pretty big downgrade for business class passengers. On the A380, Emirates has fully flat seats in business class.

Emirates A380 business class

Meanwhile on the 777 they have angled seats with seven seats per row, meaning there’s a middle seat in business class.

Emirates 777 business class

Meanwhile in first class the product is more or less the same. If anything, the service is more personalized on the 777, as there are only eight seats, rather than 14.

Emirates A380 first class cabin

Emirates 777Ā first class cabin

The major difference is that 777 first class doesn’t have a shower suite, and also doesn’t have an onboard bar (which both first & business class passengers have access to)

Emirates A380 first class showerĀ suite

Emirates A380 bar

EmiratesĀ downgrading this route makes perfect sense (at least from a profit maximization standpoint, if that is in fact what they’re after). I don’t think you can get much more of an oil route than Houston to Dubai, and given the state of the oil industry, it’s no surprise this flight isn’t doing especially well (after all, both Delta and United are cutting their routes to Dubai, and SAS recently cut their Houston to Stavanger oil route).

For a long time HoustonĀ was at least on “paper” one of Emirates’Ā more premium US destinations. When they had a wine promotion late last year, they served Dom Rose 2003Ā on select routes, and the only US destinationsĀ participating were Houston and San Francisco.

Bottom line

Ultimately this is just a downgrade on a single US route, which makes perfect sense. I still think it’s worth pointing out, because as far as I know it’s the first time EmiratesĀ downgraded a US route from an A380 to a 777, given their huge growth lately.

This is perhaps worst news for those looking to redeem miles on Emirates, given that Houston to Dubai isĀ one of the most readily available routes for first class award seats. I’m sure I’m not alone in planning my Emirates first class redemptions around the number of showers I can get. šŸ˜‰

  1. “Houston to Dubai is one of the most readily available routes for first class award seats. Iā€™m sure Iā€™m not alone in planning my Emirates first class redemptions around the number of showers I can get.”

    Indeed, I’ve got IAH-DXB-BKK booked for a few weeks from now [and dodged a bullet that my DXB-BKK flight isn’t going to be on the new high density A380 without F!].

  2. Wrong, EK took the A380 off JFK for a little while when they first began back in 08/09 to use it on other routes, but brought it back after taking delivery of more Aircraft. So its not the first time.

  3. EK-Flyer is right, the 380 did leave the JFK route shortly after it was launched in 2008 and I believe the 380 was sent to YYYZ.

    Also interesting IAH was EKs second US destination after JFK.

  4. Not surprised at all. We flew this route in April en route to India and Business Class was 20% full (probably mostly others also on awards).

    The oil business sucks right now and none of those companies are spending big bucks. Plus such a heavily gauged capacity isn’t logical for what is essentially a thin route. (Hardcore Texans aren’t typically the Exotic vacation type).

  5. Took Emirates 380 F from sfo to Dubai and on to Hong Kong.

    Lucky has said it before, but the 3am flights out of dxb are a big step down. No caviar service, only food offered was breakfast.

    Really? On a 7 hour first class flight from a huge connecting hub, I can only eat breakfast???

    Lucky has said it before, but definitely consider the flight time. Makes a huge difference.

  6. You made my heart stop for a moment. I am flying this route in two weeks. I choose it over a direct to Chicago for the shower and the bar.

  7. Hopefully DFW doesn’t follow. After IAH-DXB, that is the route that seems to always have good availability. Plus, even though I’m based on the east coast, I’ll take 4 hour positioning flight to DFW over JFK just so, like Jennifer Aniston, I can fly the A380 around a little bit longer.

    I agree with Lucky though that this is likely related to the state of the oil industry and DFW is a much less business oriented market.

  8. I walked by the gate for this flight prior to boarding last Friday and saw about as many people waiting as for my 737-800.

  9. Flew from dfw to fra on nov 4 , 2015 on LH. Sat in 1a which was a former 1st class seat but business service. M looking to make a flight from IAH in early jan 2016 what dates are the cheapest for a 10 day trip. Has to be non stop because i travel with an oxygen concentrator and have to schlepp batteries with me. Any tips?

  10. “Iā€™m sure Iā€™m not alone in planning my Emirates first class redemptions around the number of showers I can get.”

    When the polar ice caps completely melt in 20 years and your mom’s house in Florida is underwater, make sure to tell her it’s partly due to shallow, self-centered people who think bragging rights to a mile-high shower is more important than saving the planet.

  11. Price of oil had seen job losses in excess of 250,000 within the O+G market
    This would explain a heck of a lot

  12. @Bob I believe SEA can not take the A380

    I think Emirates has found its limits on US routes, which they may be adding more 380s to the Asia routes…? (maybe to KIX, TPE, or so?)

  13. Any chance IAD becomes a A380 candiate now that they’re no longer competing with United on that route and they’ve got the GSA business?

  14. I agree with EK-Flyer and Josh G. I flew EK a lot from 2008-2012 and JFK-DXB flight did have the A380, but due to the recession (and lack of passengers) the route was downgraded to 77W. I have a photo back in 2009 showing rear section of economy class lower deck empty on an EK A380. Crazy times!!! I understand you really got into Emirates after it started its partnership with AS but just an FYI that it’s not the first time Emirates downgraded the aircraft on a US route.
    Here’s URL showing 77W replacing A380 in JFK-DXB route EK201/202 back in 2009. http://airlineroute.net/2009/04/28/emirates-new-york-aircraft-changes-in-may-2009/

  15. Guess Jennifer Aniston better not fly IAH-DXB or she’ll wake up with a nightmare even on EK! Seriously though, I suppose the oil barons of Houston are feeling the pain because the Gulf emirates are continuing to put the squeeze on oil prices…pretty much destroying the economic viability of the US shale-based, fracking oil play. Or maybe this is another shot at them personally too. Not only have the Gulf emirates undermined the US airlines, they’ve made serious wounds in the domestic US oil industry. So think before you fly, who the real “terrorists” attacking the US are.

  16. No, the MAJOR difference between EK’s A380s and B777s lies with the passenger comfort in economy. Or have you forgotten such cabins still exist?

  17. Having just returned from DXB I find it interesting that EK has downgraded their fleet to accommodate a lesser amount of PAX travelers to DXB.
    aside from business travelers and bucket list wannabes, there is no attraction in Dubai that warrants a revisit….I found no attraction in staring at the Burj Khalifa nor the shopping malls, despite feeling almost at home due to the fast food chains and major retailers that I can also find at home…
    It is fortunate that the UAE has the perfect dry humid less climate, in which to park these behemoths ….

  18. EK is having retaining their crew, due to bad management.
    They have now given their pilots an average of 100 flying hrs per month.
    Cabin crew average with the company is 7 months!
    They are having problems.āœˆļøā˜¹

  19. The A380 is the Flag Ship of Emirates Airlines. Most of the A380 flights into the USA has an average passenger loads of 90%, which is great considering the number of passengers, both business and tourist fly on EK to the Middle East, especially Dubai. Huston and Dallas has a large population of Asian citizens, and the best way to reach the Far East, China and India, including Australia is by flying with Emirates. With just one extremely pleasant stop at DXB, (on the A380), the passenger gets their connection within 2 to 3 hours to their final destination on an A380 or a B777-300.

    Considering the low oil prices, presently at $37 per barrel instead of $137 per barrel, it is obvious that most companies have cut down on International flights for their staff. This also has effected the Emirates (UAE) and the whole of the Gulf Region. World wide rescission has set in, lets face it, this is going to directly effect the holiday makers, so also the business travelers.

    In any case the switch from the A380 to a B777 on the Huston route is 7 months away, much can change in the next 7 months. Lets all wait and see.

  20. Everyone is always surprised Houston is a choice for airlines when expanding into the USA. It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country. Although the cracks from oil are beginning to show, our economy is significantly more diverse than just oil. H-Town home of the candy paint and purple drank.

    RIP DJ Screw.

  21. Having just moved to Houston I was sad to read this post. I just flew this route last month and had such a great time at the bar and in the shower and was looking forward to flying it again from Houston. Had a great conversation with someone at the bar. I was in F and all seats were taken. Walking through J, I didn’t see an empty seat. Not sure about Y but the flight appeared to be full. So I was happy that the flight was doing so well. Although I guess I was flying on an off day. Sad to hear this but hopefully it’s only temporary plus it’s still 7 months away and things may still change.

  22. Looks like EK has downgraded the DFW-DXB route as well. Just checked and saw that they now have a 777 on that route instead of A380.

  23. Yeah… My DFW-DXB flight has now been downgraded to a B777-300ER a week before the flight. I paid extra specifically to fly on the A380 and I’m pissed. I’m also a Pilot that was planning to interview with Emirates. After this and reading several forums it doesn’t look like they are in as good of shape as we thought.

  24. I am very disappointed to be paying about the same fare in Business class in 777 versus A380. I am going to switch from EK to other European airline starting in the fall.

  25. Emirates decreased also the flight from Dubai to Dallas from a A380 to a B777. But I believe that they gonna continue with the A380 on that route later this year.

  26. ā€¦ My DXB-DFW flight has now been downgraded to a B777-300ER about two weeks before the flight. I paid extra specifically to fly on the A380 and Iā€™m pissed. I am not sure how airlines are getting away with this kind of fraud… They advertise A380 flight on 1st of Sept2016 from Dubai to Dallas. I have a ticket booked showing A380 aircraft and now they no longer flying A380 on that route..

    I called them and was expecting a courtesy to refund, change or upgrade my flight experience at least on B777-300 ER by offering business class upgrade or some kind of compensation. They out right rejected it.

    I want to see if this qualifies for a class action lawsuit in US, if they have violated any US consumer laws by advertising A380 purposefully and than not flying A380 aircraft.

    At least they should offer either a refund or some kind of compensation for all flights booked before they announced change related to permanently shutting off A380 flight..

    emirates – are you listening ?

  27. The A380 is rapidly becoming a dinosaur. Virtually zero new orders as everyone goes for the far more sensible and flexible A350 and B787 options.

  28. My SEP 2 flight DFW-DXB was downgraded also. Our whole reason for making the trip was to fly the A380 for our anniversary. Called EK rez 3 times and also sales offices, but got no sympathy. Even offered to pay my own way to LAX if they would make the change. Of course now we were within 30 days of travel and they wanted to re-write the whole ticket and asked for a $3,000 up-charge, but waived the change fee. I’m making the trip on the 777, as couldn’t get refund without $500 fee. If I’m in business to Middle East, I prefer Qatar. I’ve never flown Etihad, so don’t know about them.

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