Iberia is the first airline to take delivery of the new A350 cabins that feature ever-so-slightly wider cabins and new technologies that make the aircraft lighter and more advanced (such as greater flap settings and faster retracting landing gear), even though they look identical on the outside. However, on the inside, Iberia has opted to enhance the passenger experience, further aligning it with sister airline British Airways to create a more consistent passenger experience across the group.
The ‘quantum leap’ as the airline describes it in passenger experience might be a little over the top, but it will certainly be noticeable to frequent fliers of the airline. The airline has also opted to enhance every single cabin, with the most noticeable difference up front, thanks to brand new (what appear to be) Recaro seats with sliding doors for additional privacy.
The seats themselves might look familiar because they are similar to the Solstys seats currently across the rest of the fleet, but there’s a couple of enhancements, such as offering a 5cms longer bed, closing privacy doors and upgraded touches such as projected seat numbers on the floor for ease of navigation during night flights.
Across the entire fleet, every TV screen which is powered by Panasonic’s IFE Next, allows for bluetooth pairing for passengers travelling with their own headphones.
In Premium Economy, passengers will notice that there a sense of more privacy thanks to fixed wings on either side of the seat, although this doesn’t add much privacy, it does add a fixed point for passengers’ heads to rest against on overnight flights.
In both Premium Economy and Economy, passengers are also benefitting from additional inches in TV screen size, with an additional inch at 13″ for Premium Economy passengers and a 2″ increase in economy up to 12″, one of the largest screens found in economy class to date.
In economy, the A350’s new wider cabin comes into play, gifting every passenger an additional 1cm in seat width, which is a premium move in comparison to the feared additional seat per row which some pundits were expecting to become the norm for A350 operators in the future.
Overall, Iberia isn’t reinventing the wheel, nor creating a disparate passenger experience across the fleet. It’s simply upgrading its passenger experience to elevate it to the next level of expectations which are shaping the future cabins for the next decade.
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