Re: This underlines one more thing
"It really only works in tight usage scenarios (Emirates with its customer demand for long-haul lines)."
Emirates and friends make money from freight. There's more money in that than in passengers (which is why they don't fully stuff them upstairs, it makes more room in the hold.)
A380s have considerably longer range at MTOW than 777s do, whilst carrying more than twice the cargo mass. The logistics of that frequently mean that it works out cheaper overall (ground crew, passenger facilities and refuelling at an intermediate stop) even if the overall fuel burn is higher.
This all changes with Next Gen aircraft of course but it's always been like that - and the proliferation of smaller airliners flying point to point is predicated on aviation fuel remaining cheap, which it won't. Remember there was a price war most of the last decade in an attempt to put frackers and other tight oil producers out of business and costs are now snapping back to where they should be.