Photos: inside Vietnam Airlines' Airbus A350

By James Fordham, June 30 2015
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


James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

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

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

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 

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

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.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 338

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


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 735

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 705

they could not care about brand standardisation

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

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

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

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

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

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

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


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 600

Totaly different seats, so not comparable what so ever. 



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

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

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

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


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 140

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 360

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

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 33

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 43

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 414

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.

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...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 414

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2014

Total posts 25

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

02 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

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

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

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 229

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.

Fonga's called contemporary ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 363

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

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


Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

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.

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

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. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 130

I don,t understand why every 2nd middle J class seat isn't in the closer config? Don,t couples travel VA Business ?? Other than that stupid oversight from VA management Im looking forward to travelling with both 787/A350 shortly.

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