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Finnair A350 Gallery

Dario has flown over 3 million miles, mostly for business and in the greater part of Asia Pacific. He used to be a travel agent and than a manager for Star Alliance. He still flies every week. Even if he’s no longer in the airline industry, airlines and planes are still his greatest passion. He feels home on a plane, better if first or business class


Dario has previously reviewed the A350 product on Qatar, and today he’s sharing some insights from his Finnair A350 trip! By the way, if you look at SQ’s homepage they’ve done a little microsite in anticipation of their first A350 flights.

  • The return flight (HEL-BKK) had a 4 hours delay due to technical problem.
  • Amenity kit on the BKK-HEL was not updated, still with the old headphone and amenity box.
  • On the HEL-BKK they had totally brand new Bose headphone, smells really new and also Marimekko amenity kit.
  • Service is in general less attentive than Asian and Gulf carriers
  • Seat is comfortable, very similar to Qatar A350 BUT almost no space for your personal items.
  • Windows don’t have a famous semi-transparent and full-darkening double curtains controlled electronically.  Instead just a standard plastic shatter.
  • Finnair A350 is famous for the LED Aurora Borealis lights but honestly was nothing amazing, actually a bit annoying
  • Free wifi for Business Class and only 15 euro for economy class. The fastest wifi I ever experienced on a flight
  • Food is “ok lah” and selection of wines is poor.
  • IFE is cool for tracking your flight, touch screen and can move the map in all direction using your finger, like using an iPad.
  • Selection of movies and music was below average.

All in all, a simplier version of Qatar A350, I will fly with them again if they keep the promotional business class fare.

Click on images for full version

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Trip Report: SIN-DOH (Qatar A350 Business)

This trip report was contributed by Dario, a reader. Dario has flown over 3 million miles, mostly for business and in the greater part of Asia Pacific. He used to be a travel agent and than a manager for Lufthansa and Star Alliance. He still flies every week. Even if he’s no longer in the airline industry, airlines and planes are still his greatest passion. He feels home on a plane, better if first or business class

Date: 30 AUG 15 / 03 SEP 15

Carrier: Qatar Airways

Flight No.: QR943 / QR944

Route: SIN-DOH / DOH-SIN

Aircraft: A350

Class: Business Class

Seat No.: 3A / 7K

 Intro to the A350

Recently I’ve tried Qatar Airways B787 Business product 6 times and I’ve been looking very forward to the A350.

This flight report is based on 2 flights: SIN-DOH (QR943) and DOH-SIN (QR944)

Today Qatar Airways has a total of 4 Airbus 350 and I was flying on my first leg on registration “7A-ALA” that is the first A350 ever made! You can imagine the excitement. This is of course the aircraft that QR used to the inaugural flight DOH-FRA on Jan 15th as a launch partner for A350.

First impression

As soon I entered the cabin I was impressed by the ceiling’s height and how spacious is the cabin. The central part of the cabin has no overhead compartment and the ceiling is really flat, first time something like this is seen on an airplane, it really makes a difference.

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I checked so many photos of this cabin in the past months but nothing it’s like when you are physically here, difficult to understand from picture, therefore I suggest you to go book your SIN-DOH and find out yourself :-)

The interiors are super elegant, dark bordeaux, brown, ivory and grey, who chose the colours is a genius.

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Nice and gentle use of LED mood-lights, not too many Pinky/Carnival/Flashy colours (I’m talking of 787 of course), A350 interiors are minimal, classy.

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If you want to compare the A350 with B787, and you will, most probably the A350 will be your favourite. I can go through a list of many differences between the two aircraft but basically A350 it’s more spacious and the windows are nicer.

I appreciated the manual air vents for each seat, old school stuff and still the best way to regulate the temperature in your seat.

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Temperature on board was just perfect on both flights, I often have to ask the stewardess to increase/reduce temperature, not on these 2 flights, they keep it at 24c and then you can cool down your seat with your manual air vents.

The very best part of the aircraft to me? The windows curtains, feels like First Class. Each window has 2 curtains behind the glass: first a semi-transparent white curtain and then a darkening curtain, it gets totally dark if you bring both down. They are electrically controlled. You can really adjust your cabin light with these blinds, I spent some time playing with my window curtains just to find the perfect light for lunch time.

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If you ask me, no, I don’t like the electronic windows on B787, it can’t get fully dark, just a silly dark blue-green and it looks like you are in a submarine not in an airplane.

Materials, Colours and Light quality are very  important factors in a cabin, Qatar Airways new A350 is reaching perfection.

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Hard product

QR is using the same seat they have on B787 and A380, the seat on A350 are 2,5inch wider and slightly different on the side-table area and footstool, slightly more comfortable and spacious.

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Business cabin is made by 9 rows, divided by the bar/entrance, between row 6 and 7.

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The ceiling over the bar is featuring a beautiful metal ring décor but the bar itself is quite useless (not like on the A380), it is actually the aircraft entrance with 2 medium-height walls.

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It is worth notice that row 7 has a unique feature, the walls in front the seats have a wooden finish instead of grey plastic, making the look of those seats more exclusive.  I was on 7K on my return flight and this turned to be my favourite seat as the wall in front give you more privacy than any other seats, same for 7A obviously. Even if closer to economy it was a very quiet seat, highly recommended.

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As many say about the new Biz Class of QR the main downside of this seat is the “lack of privacy”, you actually  are quite exposed and there is no shade on your side to protect you. I had the same feeling the first two times I boarded in 787 but then I get used to it and I didn’t notice anymore.

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Same as in B787 and A380 the IFL remote control is very close to the armrest so it will happen that you involuntarily change channel with your arm, I usually place it on the side table and no problem.

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I’m not a fan of touch-screen remote controls, they just don’t work properly, I know I sound like your uncle but it’s true, ask any frequent flyer (ED note: Agreed- I dislike the new touchscreen controller on SQ’s latest cabin products. I get that they’re trying to make it like a tablet but it’s so unresponsive and hangs too often to be useful. I often have to tap it many times for it to recognise an input. Physical buttons anyday, please)

What I never get used to is the fact that you cannot place your feet over the footstool when in working position, because you cannot just move forward the seat without going down in sleep position. I found this to be a silly feature.

On the positive side this Reverse Herringbone seat has:

  • a huge TV

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  • mega dining table to pull-out below the TV

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  • soft padding and decent space for your feet (the most important thing in business class)

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  • very good seat for sleeping and watching TV

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Soft product

The service is always great on Qatar Airways and food is VERY good.

Service started 30mins after take-off and I will skip the food report as I usually find them very boring, I mean reporting about food is boring not the food itself. Just you know that Qatar Airways has one of the best catering in the industry so you better eat next time on board J My photos wouldn’t help you or make you hungry, trust me here. Try the Krug at the lounge in Doha and Tomato juice on board is smooth as silk (that is also Thai slogan). IMG_4643 IMG_4637 IMG_4647  IMG_4635

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Minor Problems

We had a technical issue with the IFL, being this the first aircraft this problem happens often and apparently only on this machine, the others A350 have no IFL issues. To make it short the entire IFL shout-down twice and Captain came out to check if  IFL was working and apparently to help the crew restarting the system. Nobody complained as I guess we all understand it’s a new machine and on top of that the crew was super kind and professional.

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I guess it will take some more time before A350 become a perfect machine like a B777.

The only really annoying problem is about the terrible quality of their Business Class headphones, I had to change them 6 times in total on 3 flights out of 4, that was ridiculous. And this is not the first time, it really happens almost all flights.

If some from Qatar Airways is reading this, please do something with your headphones.IMG_4632 IMG_4633 IMG_4631 IMG_4627 IMG_4629 IMG_4628

 

Final Conclusion

All in all two fantastic flights and two lovely crew, I’m officially in love with A350.

Doha is such easy and nice airport and the First/Business class lounge is simply mesmerizing.

Qatar Airways is already one of the best airline in the market and with the addition of the A350 they are my first choice when flying to Middle East or Europe.

Trip Report: SIN-HKG (SQ Premium Economy)

This trip report was contributed by Dario, a reader. Dario has flown over 3 million miles, mostly for business and in the greater part of Asia Pacific. He used to be a travel agent and than a manager for Lufthansa and Star Alliance. He still flies every week. Even if he’s no longer in the airline industry, airlines and planes are still his greatest passion. He feels home on a plane, better if first or business class

Date: 04 SEP 15
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Flight No.: SQ856
Route: SIN-HKG
Aircraft: A380
Class: Premium Economy
Seat No.: 33K

Finally I’m trying this much awaited Premium Economy from Singapore Airlines, I’m flying on the A380 and I choose a window seat for this first ride on PJ class, I’m guessing this is the best you can get for this product (A380 + window seat).

I’m writing this Review “live” during my 4 hours ride to Hong Kong and, to make it easier to read, I made a list of my comments meanwhile on-board.

My first hand comments on “The Product”

  • Cabin and ambience is pretty similar to Economy cabin, not much of improvement.

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  • Seat is instead a great improvement from Economy.

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  • Generally increased personal space, especially window seats (A380).

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  • Impressive TV screen, bigger than my laptop!

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  • Far more space between you and the seat in front of you.

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  • Smart position for electrical/USB/headphone plugs.

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  • Many little compartments where to place phone, passport and all your stuff.

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  • I find the calves support to do very little for comfort improvement but… better than nothing.

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  • Good quality noise-cancelling headphone, better than some others airlines in Business class.
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editor’s note- i believe this is the same headphones SQ uses in business class
  • Nice seat design, each seat look like a “modern throne”, slim, slick and well distanced from next seat.
  • Funny orange colour, doesn’t give me a luxury feel, reminds me instead Easyjet budget airline.
  • Love the fact that seats are padded in leather, they are comfortable but not that far from SIA economy.

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  • Stable table, good for work.

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  • Not much difference with Economy class in terms of food and service in general.

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Final Conclusion

SIA Premium Economy is to me all about the seat and it is a great improvement from Economy.

It cannot be compared with Business class, it’s an economy class chair with increased space, much bigger TV and good quality headphones, service is almost same as Economy.

In my opinion it is perfect for 3 to 6 hours flight, so any Asian destinations.

I would avoid night flights and in general long-haul flights as it’s not a seat for sleeping. For a night flight I would rather book an economy seat and then try to find an empty row of 3 seats, that’s almost business class but, yes, it’s a gamble.

Armrest are fixed on Premium Economy so you cannot “invade” the seat next to you or stretch your legs sidewise. Seat configuration is 2-4-2 on A380, I would avoid first row because TV is hang a bit too high on the wall and of course I would not consider any middle seats.

Finally the price: at the present it is value for money, hopefully they will keep prices as they are.

All in all I’m happy SIA decided to finally introduce Premium Economy, hopefully they will not spoil all the excitement increasing the prices.

This week SIA announced that they will delay the installation of Premium Economy for some aircrafts, unfortunately I’m booked on 2 of those flights and they offered to downgrade me with a small money compensation and a PE upgrade voucher. I’m sorry to say but they still have to learn how to deal with problems and especially how to treat loyal-high-revenue passenger. Something that Cathay Pacific knows and manages very well. For SIA upgrades are never an option, even when they create problems and discomforts to passenger. This is the real downside of this airline, I love them and to me SQ it’s “home” but at the same time I ate their “We don’t care of you  loyal passenger” attitude, reason why many of us are switching to CX.

Why booking Premium Eco?

  1. More personal space, good for relaxing up to 6 hours flight
  2. Very BIG high resolution TV screen
  3. Lots of smart compartments, perfect for working, keeping your stuff in order
  4. Good noise cancelling headphone
  5. Good value for money product