Singapore Airlines has taken an "evolutionary, not revolutionary" approach to its new Airbus A350, and that's not a bad thing. Not a whole lot was broke, so not a whole lot needed fixing.
The advanced fuel-efficient jet is currently flying between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, with Singapore-Jakarta also expected to see the A350 until the start of Singapore-Amsterdam services on May 9, to be followed by Düsseldorf from July 21.
And right now it feels shiny, new and sleek. The A350 looks like it was meant not just to fly but to scythe through the wind, whereas the Airbus 380 looks like it was designed to bludgeon its way through the sky.
Passengers will immediately notice how spacious the A350's cabin feels, especially in a 'vertical' sense...
... and, once in the air, how quiet the plane is. I'd say the noise levels are on par with the Boeing 787.
Singapore Airlines has fitted the A350 with the same familiar and world-leading business class seat as its latest Boeing 777-300ER jets.
This version of the seat reclines a lot further in seat mode than the Boeing 777 iteration, however, with the footrest coming up to vertical if you so wished.
Something else that's new: the large HD video screen lets you browse content and control volume, playback and so on with your iOS or Android tablet using a companion Singapore Airlines app which is wirelessly linked to your individual screen.
A smartphone version of the app is due out by the middle of the year.
Something that hasn't changed is the amount of storage space in and around the seat – there are several usable cubby holes which will be handy on the long international flights.
Overhead bin space is very generous...
... to the point that in business class you really don't need the centre bins which Airbus has removed to enhance the high-ceilinged room-like feel of the A350.
The tray table has a good range of up and down movement (some 10-13cm) and is also able to pivot in an arc, making it more adjustable than anything else I've ever tried.
But despite the A350 being an 'extra wide-body' jet the aisles seem somewhat narrower than on the Boeing 777-300ER. I noticed a lot of people banging their rollaboards on the sides of seats as they boarded.
If you're travelling on Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 I would suggest seats 19A and 19K are the pick, although unfortunately they're also bassinet seats.
Regular SQ flyers will know that the first bulkhead row (11) is the plum choice on the Boeing 777-300ERs, but on the A350 row 11 is placed where the fuselage is only starting to widen.
As a result, 11F is a tad too close to 11K, and 11D similarly too cosy with 11A.
They're not bad seats, but the full width bench you might have been used to on the Boeing 777s is quite a bit narrower in 11 now.
More Airbus A350 stories on Australian Business Traveller
- Revealed: Airbus' innovative A350 first class cabin concept
- Singapore Airlines confirms Airbus A350 'medium-range' config
- Singapore Airlines: 'all-new' business class for ultra long-range A350
- Inside the Airbus A350's secret loft where pilots and cabin crew sleep
- Review: Finnair Airbus A350 business class
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