Starlux reveals first A350 routes

The chic Taiwanese challenger pulls back the curtains on the new shape of premium travel on its first Airbus A350.

By David Flynn, January 17 2023
Starlux reveals first A350 routes

Starlux Airlines will launch its first Airbus A350 flights this week, with the all-new jets bound for a trio of regional destinations as promotional and crew familiarisation flights before moving across to the US market later this year, beginning with Los Angeles.

The Taiwanese start-up has scheduled its A350s on flights to Bangkok and Macau from Friday January 20, with Tokyo following on March 1.

The Starlux A350 will first be seen on regional routes around Asia.
The Starlux A350 will first be seen on regional routes around Asia.

These short hops of 2-4 hours will not only give the A350 plenty of time to stretch its legs but will also let local travellers on these key routes experience the Starlux A350 including its business class suites.

However, the four first class suites are unavailable to book on the Starlux website, and a spokesperson for the airline tells Executive Traveller the suites will remain empty, rather than being treated as conventional business class seats which happen to be located in the first row of the seat selection map.

The advanced A350 twin-jet will spearhead Starlux’s entry into the US and help Starlux level up against local rivals China Airlines and EVA Air – as could Starlux’s possible entry in to the Oneworld alliance – while also making good on the promise to bring a new style of premium travel to Asia and beyond.

Starlux A350 first class.
Starlux A350 first class.

A startup led by longterm Taiwanese aviation executive and former EVA Air chairman Chang Kuo-wei, scion of one of the island-nation’s richest families with an estimated net worth exceeding US$1 billion, Starlux has been touted by Chang as becoming the “Emirates of Taiwan.”.

This is based in part on Taipei’s geographical location: “you can reach major Asian cities within five hours,” Chang has observed.

“Located in a central position connecting North America, North Asia, and Southeast Asia, Taiwan has the best foundation to develop as an aviation hub.”

Chang cited the A350 as a perfect complement to the carrier’s existing A321neo and A330neo jets, saying “ the Starlux fleet fleet now can cover short, mid, and long range flights, providing service to passengers outside Asia.”

Other North American cities will follow Los Angeles – and Starlux isn’t stopping there, with plans to extend its A350 network into Europe.

Starlux A350 first class

Starlux’s decision to include first class on its A350s is intended to give it a premium travel advantage over local rivals China Airlines and Eva Air, both of which phased out first class in recent years.

Starlux A350 first class.
Starlux A350 first class.

Indeed, it will be one of the few airlines with first class on an A350-900, alongside Lufthansa and Malaysia Airlines (which later rebranded first class as more of a ‘business plus' offering).

Starlux A350 first class.
Starlux A350 first class.

There’s a single row of four high-walled suites “built with a 60-inch door wall, allowing the passengers to have a personal suite on the aircraft.”

Starlux A350 first class.
Starlux A350 first class.

Each suite includes a 32" HD video screen and personal mini-bar, while “a personal wardrobe is provided to store luggage.”

Starlux A350 first class.
Starlux A350 first class.

The seat can of course convert into a lie-flat bed but also “comes with a zero-gravity feature to offer extra comfort and relaxation.”

Starlux A350 business class

Starlux is also aiming to elevate its A350 business class above that of China Airlines and Eva Air.

Starlux A350 business class.
Starlux A350 business class.

All 26 business class suites are framed by “a 48-inch door and a cozy lamp to provide warmth,” the airline says; and like first class, there are both lie-flat bed and zero-gravity modes.

Starlux A350 business class.
Starlux A350 business class.

The 24" HD screen features Bluetooth audio streaming to the passenger’s own headphones or earbuds – this high-tech trait also appears in first class, premium economy and economy – while the materials and trim of the business suites shows fine attention to detail.

Starlux A350 business class.
Starlux A350 business class.

Starlux A350 seat map

The Starlux A350 seating chart reveals all four travel classes:

  • four first class suites
  • 26 business class seats
  • 36 premium economy seats
  • 240 economy seats
Starlux's A350 premium economy seats.
Starlux's A350 premium economy seats.

As expected, the Starlux A350 cabin offers a refined, warm and calming design embracing a palette of natural colours, similar to that of the Starlux A330neo and in keeping with Starlux’s positioning as a self-declared “detail-oriented luxury airline”, especially in the premium cabins.

Starlux believe this approach is paramount to unlocking the duopoly of China Airlines and EVA Air in the highly competitive Asian market.

Starlux A350 delivery

The first two Starlux A350s have already joined its A321neo and A330neo siblings in the airline’s hangars, with two more due in 2023 and another four in 2024 – then come the final 10 deliveries streaming through to the end of 2027.

Starlux will take delivery of its first two Airbus A350s this year.
Starlux will take delivery of its first two Airbus A350s this year.

All 18 will be the popular A350-900 model, with Starlux having cancelled its original plans for a mix of the versatile A350-900 variant and the longer-range A350-1000.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 109

It will be interesting to see whether the food and beverage product in F and J can match the hard product, the former, historically a negative in the region, perhaps with the exception of the (old) Cathay.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 309

Recently just completed a regional flight (TPE-BKK return) on their new A330Neo.  J class meals were up there with the competition, with an good selection of alcohol and tailored cocktails, along with normal soft drinks and cold press juices. A good selections for a regional flight.  There are still a few details that i think need polishing and tweaking, but overall, i think a good start for a "new" operation.  It will be interesting to see how they differentiate their A350 long haul operation, and the introduction of their First Class product.

25 Oct 2010

Total posts 26

General and specific question - can a full service carrier, especially one targeting high end like this  - make it without being part of an alliance and carrying the benefits of top tier status?  Put another way - is quality product at the right price enough to shift people away from a Star Alliance or Sky team (or in other places oneworld) competitor?

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 11

I am top tier member of Starlux and for some reason they dont allow you pre book your seat without paying for it. I also have to say on a few occassions when something has gone wrong , the level of arrogance is disturbing. They seem to put more effort into make you feel its youor fault your luggage is missing than theirs.

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 2

Just flew Starlux regional to/ fro Taipei on Y & C. Overall a very good product but they need to address some teething issues before it gets uncontrollable. 1) tried to modify my full C ticket but found no option to do so online. ( even for not full C fares) Contacted their office in Taipei ( open Saturday but closed Sundays) and it was a long excruciating wait - made 3 attempts and eventually got through after an hour or so. Currently this is the only method to change/ modify tickets Starlux need to make this service 24/7 until their online function is working ( agent said they were aware if it)  2)  Food at galactic lounge taipei was disappointing and made worse because the soup noodle was lukewarm , as was the soya milk. The lobster burger was not edible. Similarly the food on board C ( regional) was impressive when it’s clear they try to be different but the congee was lukewarm which is not acceptable. Even Air Asia can get their food piping hot. These are small but important details. Overall service was excellent on both ground & inflight plus lounge. I hope they can maintain this level of “ freshness”. Wish they would fly overnight flights from places like Kuala Lumpur and not end up flying roughly at the same times like CI and BR. Early morning arrival into Taipei is preferred to the 9/10 pm arrivals. Will certainly see how things progress with JX with interest.


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