Inside TAM's new Airbus A350

Inside TAM's new Airbus A350

Brazil's TAM Airlines welcomes the first Airbus A350 into its fleet this week, ahead of a year which will see the Brazilian carrier and its Chilean sibling LAN rebranded as LATAM.

The Oneworld member and Qantas partner has already begun flying Boeing 787 Dreamliners ordered by LAN, and the new A350 will sport the same seats and cabin design as LAN's 787-9 jets.

TAM's Airbus A350 'Premium Business' cabin sports 30 forward-facing business class seats.

These are arranged in a 2-2-2 layout, so the downside of enjoying the view through the A350;s over-sized windows is the need to step over your seatmate.

That's not much fun for your neighbour, which is why our preference in a 2-2-2 configuration is generally one of the two middle seats – shown here on LAN's identical Boeing 787-9).

Every business class passenger gets a personal 15.4 inch HD video screen and, as you'd expect, the seat converts into a fully-flat bed.

The common LATAM business class design comes from highly-regarded consulting firm Priestmangoode, which most recently crafted TAM's cool-but-later-canned Boeing 777 first class cabin.

Read: TAM's slick new Boeing 777 first class is a living room in the sky 

The new Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 business class cabins clearly share some of that design DNA, with Priestmangoode saying the palette of natural tones was inspired by South America’s colours and textures.

The 318 economy seats are, well, pretty much what you'd expect.

TAM has signed on the dotted line for 27 Airbus A350-900s, which will initially fly from the airline's Sao Paulo base to North America and Europe.

Mid-year should also see the first true LATAM A350, which will carry a new livery to reflect the unified brand, including a logo representing a stylised version of the South American continent.

This video profiles the new brand.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • smit0847


    17 Dec, 2015 04:25 pm

    You have to wonder why airlines pick 2-2-2 business class seats for their brand new aircraft when there are so types of many 1-2-1 seats available. Its uncompeditive right from the get-go.

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  • sgb


    17 Dec, 2015 04:29 pm

    Exactly, and trying to get over that isle sleeper is almost impossible. Have we all noticed those wafer thin economy seats, dreadful.

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  • devilish


    17 Dec, 2015 04:29 pm

    It's not uncompetitive if priced accordingly (less than competition) and if there is lack of competition on certain routes.

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  • smit0847


    17 Dec, 2015 04:53 pm

    Hardly a win for consumers: 'we've gone for an outdated product because you don't have any other choice'. There's a marketing strategy.

    I can't think of any airline that prices lower because of an outdtaed hard product. Its usually only priced lower because the whole airline is a mess.

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  • Jimmy Wang


    17 Dec, 2015 09:31 pm

    Most airlines are seeking to raise profit, and because 2-2-2 is still "tolerable", they will go for it. Here's some very simple maths AND logic.

    A 2-2-2 layout, 6 rows equals to 36 Seats.

    A 1-2-1 layout, 6 rows equals to 24 seats.

    Both are fully flat, whilst the first one is somewhat competitive, minimises cannibalisation of First Class, and have more seats to raise profit. Whilst inconvenient and annoying for passengers at night, it does make commercial sense for most airlines. I rarely am disappointed by business seats, because I expect fully flat 2-2-2, and 1-2-1 is a luxury for both passengers and the ailrine

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  • betterbub


    18 Dec, 2015 12:21 am

    If TAM had been so worried about first class cannibalization, maybe they would have kept it! Many airlines that now adopt 1-2-1 business class seating still have first class, such as Emirates, American, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, etc. If 2-2-2 seating was enough to convince me to pay for first class, I'd very much rather pay for 1-2-1 business class (which is, at this point in time, expected and common).

    Besides, to expect worse is to get worse. As a passenger, why should I care about how well the airline does financially? If anything, I should hope the airline doesn't do well in the economic sense (short-term, not long-term). Cheaper seats!

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  • loopflyer


    28 Dec, 2015 10:23 am

    Nice seats. In a 2-2-2 layout I would go for the center seats on a night flight to avoid the climbout  from a neighbor.   Also, I would pick the last (if a galley/lavatory is not in behind) or second to last row for minimal foot traffic. It's the best you can hope for.

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17 Jul, 2019 09:01 pm


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