I’ve teased enough… so it’s time for a quick snapshot of so, time for a quick snapshot of the Qatar Airways A350.
Unlike is older bigger brother (the A380), this thing strikes a mix of a sleek design… and that badass sunglasses visor it has. Nice combo… and it works. That and the curvature of the wingtip looks pretty good to me.
Boarding was from the gate at Frankfurt Airport (thankfully, not a bus gate), with two jetbridges on to plane. I was going aboard the economy class one (there’s a surprise).
First impression – it’s still a very new plane, and looks… pretty stunning on the inside as a first greeting.
Seating: Business class looked good as I passed through it.
Moving onto economy class, the seat tones were grey or maroon. My seat was 1) maroon, and 2) an exit row. And the exit row has a lot of space.
Even though there’s a fair bit of curvature, the beauty is that the exit slide doesn’t jut out massively and more importantly – the window seat has a window. This is a rarity on a wide body jet having an exit row.
Sadly, as my seat was near the toilet and galley block, people used it as a gathering area/childs play area.
Whilst the seat is nice and wide, the 18″ width is a bit tight in an exit row. It looks better in other rows though. It also helped that there was no passenger in the middle seat .
The seat is pretty comfortable… well as comfortable as a slimline seat can get. The seat headrest is adjustable too for a more comfortable position (for those who are geeky enough, the seat is based on the Recaro CL 3620) .
Service. Hmmm. 5 Star? I’m unsure. Drinks were served without the can supplied… even vodka was served out of a large vodka bottle.
IFE was a Thales based system with a very modern multitouch interface. Sooth to the use and actually loaded with content – and this is so important. You can have the shiniest newest IFE system installed on a plane, but if there’s no content to support it – it’s a waste of time.
There’s also a USB Socket in the IFE Panel – and two mains sockets to each three seats. However, accessing the can be a pain even the exit row.
The biggest pain? The IFE system uses a two prong headphone socket. Is there really an excuse for a two prong IFE system these days apart from customers not removing the headphones? It was a good thing I had a converter on me (which I got with a switched power adaptor earlier that day – no, don’t ask. It’s embarrassing).
No proper second service on the 6 hour leg – A main service, and then drinks and snacks distributed through the flight.
The actual flight and cruise was pretty smooth – there were the odd bumps along the way. Noise levels in the cabin were varying from 85 to 92db… pretty tolerable.
As for the A350? I’m a fan of the A330 as a lot of you know – as airlines have trouble messing it up economy class.
Providing airlines stick to the 3-3-3 formation in the back of the A350, this going to be one comfortable plane. However, I can see airlines eyeing 3-4-3s to milk every last penny out of their frames, and this could change this plane – from a comfortable innovation to a packed shuttle plane. Pretty much what the 787 has turned into in Economy Class.
However, in this iteration – I’m liking what I’m seeing… and I’m liking this an awful lot.
More in the full review.
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