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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).
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.
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