Photos: inside Vietnam Airlines' Airbus A350

By James Fordham, June 30 2015

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_fordham
james_fordham

James Fordham

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.

Bizflyer

Bizflyer

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

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

Bizflyer

Bizflyer

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

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 

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

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.

henrus

henrus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

they could not care about brand standardisation

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

petrhsr

petrhsr

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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

Bizflyer

Bizflyer

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

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

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 501

Totaly different seats, so not comparable what so ever. 

 

 

Ross

Ross

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 91

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

petrhsr

petrhsr

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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

Shoudy Chen

Shoudy Chen

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

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

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 259

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

GoYouBlues

GoYouBlues

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Dec 2013

Total posts 27

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.

aqua

aqua

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?

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 346

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.

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

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...

OzAgent

OzAgent

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2014

Total posts 26

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

Tepper87

Tepper87

02 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

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

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

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

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 227

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.

aklrunway

aklrunway

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 332

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

RobbieNguyen

RobbieNguyen

05 Jul 2015

Total posts 2

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

074061

074061

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.

petrhsr

petrhsr

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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. 

mb68

mb68

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

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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