Finnair will be the first European airline to take delivery of the new Airbus 350xwb aircraft which is designed to rival Boeing’s carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic 787 and 777x. Finnair announces that not only will the plane receive a newly designed cabin special for this aircraft, but they plan to take this aircraft initially to the Far East, commencing service of the A350xwb to Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing in the second half of 2015 and expand service to Hong Kong and Singapore by 2016. At this time there is no plans to bring the aircraft to North America.
Routes to be launched in 2015 in red, routes to be launched in 2015 in blue
With the announcement of this planes arrival comes a new business class cabin with angled heir bone seats in a 1x2x1 industry standard design providing all business class customers access to the aisle. Unlike the A330s and the A340s the airline currently flies, each of these aircraft will have direct aisle access and lay flat seats.
The 297-seat configuration includes 46 seats in Business Class in a 1+2+1 layout, ensuring direct aisle access to all Business Class passengers. The Zodiac Cirrus III seats convert to fully flat beds, while a 16-inch touch-screen inflight entertainment system comes programmed with films, TV shows, music and other digital content on demand in numerous languages. Seats in Business Class also come equipped with AC and USB power outlets.
Sadly the warm shades are blue that are traditionally seen on Fiin are gone and Finnair is introducing a stained prone cream color livery. The seats are the Zodiac Cirrus III seats, which are the quickly becoming the industry standard seat on widebody aircraft and can be experienced on airlines such as the Delta B747, US Airways A330, Cathay Pacific B777, American Airline B77w, all which I have flown and enjoyed! Of course the US Airways design is the most dated, Finnair will bring updated features much like Cathay Pacific and American offer on their newest planes.
In the main cabin, Finnair is configuring the cabin in a 3x3x3 arrangement offering customers 31 inches of seat pitch, which actually reduces the pitch by 1 inch compared to their current long haul fleet and matches the pitch on the airlines narrow body aircraft.
The Economy Class cabin features comfortable Zodiac Z300 slim-line seats with a 31-inch seat pitch in a 3+3+3 layout…. All seats in Economy include an 11-inch touch screen inflight entertainment system and USB power outlets.
In addition to standard economy class, Finnair will also introduce a new Economy Comfort, or premium economy section of the aircraft. Per the media release these seats will have extra leg room, and upgraded headphones and headrests.
At the front of the Economy Class cabin are 43 Economy Comfort seats, with comfier headrests, high-quality headphones and four extra inches of leg room.
In another media release, the airlines defines Economy Comfort as:
On long-haul flights, product upgrades coming in the fall include the Economy Comfort package, a new offering in the front of the Economy Class cabin featuring at least four inches of extra legroom, comfy headrests, high-quality headphones and personal amenity kits. The meal service in all of Economy Class is also being updated with an additional complimentary mid-flight snack on day-time flights, a new wine selection and complimentary sparkling wine.
The additional surcharges for these seats has yet to be released, nor do we know exactly what these seats will look like.
A new aircraft and cabin configuration is always exciting news as new aircraft open up new market, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and more importantly normally bring updated and better passenger experiences (except in the case of the 10 across seating now seen on most B777 due to reduce seat widths). I am excited to find a way to fly Finnair A350xwb in the near future!
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