Yesterday, Qatar Airways revealed the interiors of its new A350 (and the first commercial version in the world) to the press in Qatar. The aircraft didn’t disappoint showcasing the extra large wide body in all its glory, offering 3 x 3 x 3 seating in economy without compromise on space, a first for a single decker Airbus aircraft. The aircraft will commence service between Doha and Frankfurt this month (January 2015)
The latest member of the leading Airbus wide-body product line, the A350 XWB “provides outstanding levels of comfort and reliability using the latest state-of-the-art technology for a totally unique passenger experience.” according to Qatar Airways. This is no lie, and whilst there are no huge product advancements to be seen, like their Gulf counterparts, one can’t help but feel this is yet another step forward for passenger comfort.
Even though the airline has hinted these new business class seats are just a stop gap, and new ones are allegedly on the horizon the wider seats in both Business and Economy classes, combined with the lowest twin engine noise level of any aircraft, advanced air conditioning technology and full LED mood lighting, all work together to enhance the comfort of passengers, while reducing fatigue after a long flight in a similar bid to the effects of the new Boeing 787 (also employed and already in service from Qatar Airways)
With an amazing 80 of these A350’s on order, this will be one of the largest workforces of Qatar Airways and as such be one of the most familiar sights in airports around the world. Compared to the 10 firm orders for the A380, this is more in-line with the passenger experience found by a majority of Qatar Airways passengers in the future.
Built with 53% of composite materials, it is the most advanced Airbus commercial aircraft on the market, and offers some 25% fuel saving compared to competing airframes.
In business class, 36 passengers will find themselves seated in a 1 x 2 x 1 seating configuration, with 7 rows of business class in front of the main entry door and a small cabin of 2 rows behind. All the seats feature a generous 80″ flat bed seat in a reverse herringbone format and benefit from all-aisle access. The seats also feature a larger than standard 17″ HD screen featuring over 1000 entertainment options on their infamous Oryx entertainment system.
In economy, passengers benefit from larger than usual 18-inch wide seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, with up to 32-inch pitch. A 10.6” in-flight entertainment screen, and due to the ergonomic design of the aircraft, more space at shoulder level for passengers in window seats, thanks to a vertical side wall panel design. In the economy cabin in particular the advanced features of the A350 should be noticeable, including wide panoramic windows that go from fully transparent to 100% light-blocking, the widest seats of any jetliner in its category and a USB and Apple iPort socket in both classes to enjoy entertainment from a passenger’s own device and for re-charging personal devices.
It seems that Qatar Airways is continually trying to improve their onboard product, and seemingly every 12 months are relaunching their product to stay ahead of their competition, whilst it’s great to see their flagship products (A380, A350 and 787) at the very height of cabin product, we look forward to seeing the airline align all their products, to make passenger experience equal no matter what route is flown. We have no doubt that will happen in time, and look forward to a bright and prosperous future for Qatar Airways.