Photos: inside Vietnam Airlines' Airbus A350

Photos: inside Vietnam Airlines' Airbus A350

Vietnam Airlines will become the world's second airline to fly the Airbus A350, following launch customer Qatar Airways at the start of 2015.

The SkyTeam member today takes delivery of the first of 14 A350-900 jets to be delivered through to 2020.

After a series of regional 'running in' flights, the A350 will step up to international service in September/October with flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Paris.

Each A350 is configured in a three-class layout, with 29 seats business class seats which convert to fully flat beds; 45 seats in premium economy; and 231 in economy.

Australian Business Traveller joined a select group of international media for a tour of Vietnam Airlines' first A350 following its handover from Airbus at the aircraft manuafacturer's base in Toulouse, France.

Looking at the photo above, you can immediately appreciate how roomy the A350 is, especially with its high flat ceiling line. 

Vietnam Airlines A350 business class

Business class gets a familiar off-the-shelf design from seat-maker EADS...

It's the Sogerma Solstys model, which is not only a 'go-to' business class seat for dozens of airlines around the world but was also Airbus' own choice for its early A350 test aircraft (below).

Also read: Airbus A350 cabin, seats revealed and Airbus A350 flight test review, photos

That's all for good reason: it's a clever staggered design which gives each passenger direct access to the aisle...

... along with a wide bench where they can park personal items during the flight.

There's a decent amount of leg room...

... and the seat extends into a long fuly-flat bed.

The fold-down table is large enough to let you work away on most modern laptops...

... with an LED reading lamp and a water bottle recess which where you want them to be.

It's worth noting that Vietnam Airlines has chosen an entirely different (yet still off the rack) business class for its Boeing 787-9, that being the popular Zodiac Cirrus seat (seen below).

Vietnam Airlines A350 premium economy class

Behind the A350's business class sits a small premium economy cabin of 45 seats.

Again, there are no surprises here.

There's a video screen for each passenger...

... which includes a USB port for charging your smartphone or tablet in flight.

Vietnam Airlines A350 economy class

The rest of the A350 is given over to a sea of 231 economy seats.

As expected it's a 3-3-3 layout, which means Vietnam Airlines will offer those 18 inch wide seats which Airbus is so eager to spruik in the name of passenger comfort.

(That said, Airbus admits that at least one airline has ordered the A350 with a tighter-squeeze 10 across layout [3-4-3] where seat width is reduced to 17 inches.)

Even the cheap seats get a personal video screen, of course.

Finnair is next on the A350 list, with European 'familiarisation flights' slated for October ahead of long-range flights to Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Singapore Airlines expects to pick up the keys to its first Airbus A350 in January 2016, with Cathay Pacific following in February, when the new A350 will be used to launch new-design business class and premium economy seats.

Sid Raja travelled to Toulouse as a guest of Airbus.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

 

29 Comments

  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    11 Feb, 2015 02:43 am

    Why not go for the same seat on both strange choice Vietnam airlines but mabye not the worst ever time will tell I surpose.

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  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    11 Feb, 2015 08:25 am

    Regarding the a350 is roomer than the 787 I disagree the a350 has this sense of its not new its just shiny but the 787 feels completely new seeing as I got off the 787 about five hours ago it is much better 

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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    17 Feb, 2015 09:52 am

    Eh, it's Falcon vs Commodore.  I doubt that the vast majority of pax either know or care whether they're on a 350 or an '87.

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  • Jason Bird

    Jason Bird

    1 Jul, 2015 04:48 am

    People sitting in a B787 3-3-3 - 17in economy will notice the difference to the A350's 18in seating I bet you

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  • KG

    KG

    11 Feb, 2015 08:40 am

    My guess is that Vietnam Airlines has chosen to use standard off the shelf seats for both planes to keep cosst low and the Cirrus seat is probably not a standard option with Airbus and vv.

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  • henrus

    henrus

    30 Jun, 2015 09:56 pm

    they could not care about brand standardisation

    Some airlines which could not care and some who really do (Air NZ)

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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    12 Feb, 2015 07:41 pm

    So little VN goes with 4-abreast in J, yet huge BA crams 7-abreast into the same aircraft type?

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  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    16 Feb, 2015 06:37 am

    Ba dosent do passager comfort Lufthansa angled busniess class. is better than what they have now 

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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    17 Feb, 2015 09:53 am

    They don't do comfort but their fares are those of a premium carrier.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    7 Jul, 2015 12:27 am

    Totaly different seats, so not comparable what so ever. 

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  • Ross

    Ross

    13 Feb, 2015 03:04 am

    It's because a different committee would have been responsible for the interior of the A350 from the 787...

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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    17 Feb, 2015 09:49 am

    Oh, the board must be graduates of the TG school of airline management!

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  • Shoudy Chen

    Shoudy Chen

    30 Jun, 2015 10:19 pm

    This A350-900 is a beautiful aircraft to fly on and has good seating ergonomics. 

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  • Mark

    Mark

    1 Jul, 2015 09:44 am

    Passengers will notice seat width and general sense of space, not A350 or 787!!

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  • GoYouBlues

    GoYouBlues

    1 Jul, 2015 12:52 pm

    I'm flying business on Vietnam Airlines from MEL-SGN-CDG return in December. I'll give you a report on the A350 leg (SGN-CDG) whenI get back.

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  • aqua

    aqua

    17 Jan, 2016 09:06 am

    Love to see the report, including the MEL-SGN leg, is that on 777-200?

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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    1 Jul, 2015 03:57 pm

    Saw that aircraft doing test flight while doing a tour of Airbus factory in Toulouse.

    Gotta say that tour of Airbus was so disappointing. Boeing is streets ahead on the tours. Even just trying to get a booking for th Airbus tour is incredibly poor.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    2 Jul, 2015 09:38 am

    Well, have you been to Disneyland Paris and compared it to Disneyland California?

    All I can say is that the Americans excel at these types of things.

    If not for the lovely multi-lingual Dutch employees at Disneyland Paris, it too would be an utter flop.

    I think the French think its beneath them to be participating in these forms of hospitality...

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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    2 Jul, 2015 03:20 pm

    HA HA good analogy. Very true. Have done both.

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  • AgentB

    AgentB

    1 Jul, 2015 04:32 pm

    The A350 reminds me of the 757.... a more modern 757.  Beautiful aircraft!

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  • Tom

    Tom

    2 Jul, 2015 04:30 am

    Does anyone know who made the first class and main cabin seats? BE Aerospace perhaps? 

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    2 Jul, 2015 08:48 am

    Wow...and I thought Vietnam Airlines only had horribly coloured fuselage....

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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    2 Jul, 2015 02:14 pm

    I agree Babs. That green is horrendous. Maybe because I have been flying within a Marc Newson bubble for so long I have taken on his design tastes as part of my own DNA.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    2 Jul, 2015 03:22 pm

    Fonga daaarling...it's called contemporary ;)

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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    5 Jul, 2015 08:54 am

    Seeing photos of other airlines' "premium economy" I can clearly see why Qantas premium economy has won so many awards...

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  • The Vu Nguyen

    The Vu Nguyen

    5 Jul, 2015 01:53 pm

    The firm orders planes will have an entirely different Business and Deluxe Economy. Business will have the Zodiac Cirrus seat the same as the 787-9 while the Deluxe Economy will have a 2-3-2 seatinf configuration. The plane on leasing will have the same interior as on the pictures above

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  • The Vu Nguyen

    The Vu Nguyen

    5 Jul, 2015 01:55 pm

    seating*

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  • Alvin Tse

    Alvin Tse

    5 Jul, 2015 11:39 am

    I'm sure that's more along the lines of the Vantage seat. The layout in the middle is seat in the middle-seat in the middle-seat in the middle, instead of two seats-honeymoon-two seats-honeymoon, if you know what I mean.

    And if premium economy is also a 3-3-3 product, it'd be more along the lines of Chinese PE or Main Cabin Extra than anything else.

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  • petrhsr

    petrhsr

    28 Jul, 2016 10:24 am

    I flew Hanoi - HCMC in business on the A350 last Saturday - it was supposed to be a 787-9, and I was thrilled when the bus pulled-up in front of the racoon-eyed aircraft with the curved winglets!

    The fan sound on takeoff was pure Trent, so harmonic and musical, it made me smile.  The biz cabin - yeah, it's pretty OK, and generations ahead of the medieval slave-ship that is the Vietnam Airlines 777-200 business class.

    The seat is not quite wide enough, though, and I found myself putting my arms up on the tables either side of the seat, rather than on the armrests.  We both reclined back to flat, and at the bottom my partner started making MRI-scanner noises, and that's what it sort've felt like.  It felt a little clautrophobic.  The space is also too short - I am 185cm tall, and I couldn't lay flat without bending my knees.

    It is a vast improvement on the 777, though, and I think the 789 would be even roomier. 

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30 Sep, 2016 01:26 pm

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