Malaysia Airlines aims for the suite spot with A350 first class

By David Flynn, October 5 2017
Malaysia Airlines aims for the suite spot with A350 first class

Malaysia Airlines will outfit its Airbus A350 first class cabin with privacy doors with the aim of turning the seats into suites.

CEO Peter Bellew confirmed the design to Australian Business Traveller, detailing that the seats "will have sliding doors for privacy," adding to the seclusion of the single-row cabin of just four seats.

Those seats will be "a very highly customised version" of the Vantage XL design from Thompson Aero Seating, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed, including a massive 24" video screen

This all sounds more like Thompson Aero's Vantage Suite concept (show below) which is an evolved Vantage XL design.

However, the spokesperson affirmed that the Oneworld airline's Airbus A350 first class is a Vantage XL rather than the Vantage Suite, and has "been customised for Malaysia Airlines to include a privacy door."

The Vantage XL is already familiar to most Australians as Qantas' latest business class seat for the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and will also be fitted to the Airbus A380 superjumbos from 2019.

Malaysia Airlines hopes to the Vantage XL's attributes such as direct aisle access and more detailed fitout will create a strongly appealing first class environment which is seen as warranting the extra cost over the A350's business class, which will use the base-model Vantage seat already flying on its A330 fleet.

Read: Up close with Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A330 business class seat

So how will Malaysia Airlines differentiate its first class experience in a seat that most travellers would expect to find further back in business class?

“We’ll also be doing a lot with the food, a lot with the experience on board and a lot with the experience on the ground at London and Kuala Lumpur, and that will give a lot of added benefit to our customers," Bellew previously shared with Australian Business Traveller.

Malaysia Airlines' first Airbus A350 is due for delivery in November, with a second to follow in December, in order to allow the advanced jets to take over the daily Kuala Lumpur-London Airbus A380 flights MH3/MH4 by mid-January 2018.

Australian Business Traveller understands that two more A350s will arrive by March 2018, at which time the flagship MH1/MH2 flight would also be swapped from the double-decker superjumbo to the fuel-efficient A350.

A second European route for the final pair of A350s remains under consideration, with Bellew previously telling Australian Business Traveller that this would hinge on a joint venture agreement with another airline.

"If we can form a joint venture with another airline it might make sense, because it's the ideal way to get another European destination. The only way I can see it succeeding would be to work closely with another carrier."

Failing that, "we’ll use them for something like services to Shanghai and Tokyo."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 588

so in other words they'll provide the equivalent food that SQ offer in J

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 622

Always amazing to see how bias/preference FOR 1 airline can turn some folks here to make baseless claims AGAINST another airline....cheer-leading has no bound in this comment section.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 178

It's interesting to hear that MH apparently didn't go for the Vantage Suite design, as Thompson Aero was promising a 'launch customer' in Q4 and everyone expected MH would be 'the one', but seems they have just heavily modified the Vantage XL and even made it like a suite. Ah well, those solo 'throne' seats in MH's A350 business class still look pretty good to me!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2015

Total posts 10

For day flights the "throne" seats are great. The foot-well however is a lot smaller. For sleeping the single seats closer to the window are the best.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Feb 2012

Total posts 29

Recently flew SIN/BNE on the QF A330. What impressed me most about the seat was the width of the foot well. Was definitely wider than those on SQ/AY etc. and therefore a more comfortable sleep.

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