Air China Introduces New Business Class On A350

Filed Under: Air China

While the A350 has been flying globally for a few years, up until now China hasn’t certified the plane. That changed today (is it a coincidence that this happened on 8/8?), so it was a big day for Airbus and aviation in China.

Air China and Sichuan Airlines are the first two mainland Chinese customers for the A350, and after months of delays, both airlines took delivery of the plane today.

Sichuan Airlines’ A350 has a panda livery!

Sichuan Airlines deserves credit for having the coolest looking airplane in the history of the universe. The A350 is a sleek plane to begin with, and SICHUAN AIRLINES PAINTED PANDAS ALL OVER IT!!

This isn’t the first plane to feature a panda livery, though it is the coolest, in my opinion. These are cut pandas, not like “Captain Panda,” which Air China has used in their promotional videos (why does he sound like Gilbert Gottfried?).

I still haven’t seen any pictures of Sichuan Airlines’ A350 interiors, though I’m very curious to see what interiors they chose. I flew a Sichuan A330 from Chengdu to Los Angeles last year, and found the angled seats to be disappointing, so hopefully they’ve improved since.

Air China’s A350 has new business class seats

There is something exciting though when it comes to Air China’s new A350 interiors. Overall Chinese airlines have really been upping their game when it comes to business class. Nowadays we have direct aisle access business class seats on China Eastern, Hainan, Xiamen, and more.

Meanwhile Air China has, at best, B/E Aerospace Diamond seats. It’s unfortunate that they keep taking delivery of planes with these seats, including new 787s and 747-8s.

It looks like that’s finally changing. Air China’s A350s will feature a total of 312 seats, including 32 reverse herringbone seats in business class, which is a massive product upgrade for the airline.

The airline will also have 24 premium economy seats on their A350s, in a 2-4-2 configuration.

Then there will be 256 economy seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration.

It’s great to finally see Air China improving their business class product, starting with the A350. Here’s to hoping they take delivery of other planes with the new seats going forward, and hopefully eventually reconfigure their existing fleet as well.

(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean, featured image courtesy of Air China)

  1. Pro: Great, love reverse herringbone
    Cons: Is this the beginning of the end of uber cheap Air China J class flights through PEK and PVG? Those have been really appealing.

  2. Nice to know Ben and YASSS, that’s the coolest Panda livery ‘in the history of the universe’!!!

    Any routing info in for these airline’s new A350s???

  3. @Gertude, @Bill, @Aptraveler
    Air China will fly the A350 on Beijing to Chengdu twice daily from August 15,. Beijing to Guangzhou once daily from September 3, and Beijing to Shanghai Hongqiao with two round trip flights on August 14 and followed by one daily flight on September 3. No words on international routes

  4. @Lucky I saw on DoC that there are rumors that the prestige card is going to be discontinued and that the CEO was saying Citi is moving away from awards. Wondering what all this means for the future of the TY Points program, because they had seemed to be working on expanding it.

  5. Reverse Herringbone seats are far to hard to sleep in, especially as a tall person because of the tiny-ass foot space.

  6. Looks like a great place to smoke for 10 hours. I’m sure we are all looking forward to that!!!

  7. @Terence In that tweet, they have the words “True Long Range Capability” yet the only long routes are from China to Europe. They should put it on routes from China to US East coast — those are much longer distance-wise.

  8. Yup, Sichuan’s A350s will have blue reverse herringbone seats similar to what SriLankan has as they took the A350s that SriLankan rejected — James is right.

    On another note, Sichuan is also upgrading their A330s with a business class product similar to Qatar’s new A330/A340.

  9. @Alvin

    When? I am excited for the new Sichuan Business soon, Asia – the US for only 1400USD frequently

  10. CA usually uses it’s Airbus widebodies for European long hauls (including the PEK-MAD-GRU one), Asia mid/long hauls, and HNL, while Boeing widebodies fly to North America/PTY/HAV (haven’t checked AU/NZ but I have heard both planes fly there before).

    3U ordered the 350s that AV cancelled, so it’s reverse herringbone for biz, definitely an improvement over the current non lie-flats on their 330s. I think the reason behind 3U’s 350 got delayed might be political pressure from CA, as they always want to be No.1 in China when it doesn’t take them much effort (so we likely won’t see major improvements over their soft products and services).

  11. I can’t believe Airbus use that same nasty canned CG animation at the end of every A350 delivery video, it’s godawful. If I was paying hundreds of millions of dollars for a new aircraft to enter my fleet I’d be expecting a bit more.

  12. @Jim Air China flies daily between Beijing & Melbourne (Australia), which is in excess of 9,100 kms (5,550 miles)

  13. I flew 8 segments within 3 months of each other on China Eastern. I was prepared for the smell of cigarette smoke, but smelled none. I was in business class, so close enough to pick up on the smell if it existed. I have read horror stories about it, so I bought some nose plugs/guards in preparation for the worst. And it never happened. I actually forgot about it until I started reading about it on this blog again. I don’t know about other Chinese airlines, but I had no trouble with China Eastern and would fly them again in a heartbeat.

  14. Can you update the title, if possible? ‘Sichuan Airlines and Air China Take Delivery of A350’, since the article is not just about CA’s new J class but also about 3U’s panda livery.

  15. Just flew Air China’s A350 from Beijing to Chengdu today. No overhead compartments in the centre, so cabin feels airy. I’ve flown reverse herringbone on CX 777, A330, A350, and AA A321. Air China has by far the worst product. There is no headrest and you have to wear a shoulder harness. The armrest has storage for a headset inside which means it makes the seat quite cramped. Also the seat is definitely the tightest and most cramped reverse herringbone seat I’ve ever experienced. Turning or stretching your legs while lying down is nearly impossible.

    The colour scheme of the cabin is a blend of vomit which is common amongst Mainland Chinese carriers, so I don’t particularly hold this against them. Service and attitude is actually above average. However there is a shortage of business class lavatories which made it very busy and the cabin was only half full.

    I didn’t have the courage to try the food. Mainland Chinese carriers serve some of the worst food known to man. It’s not even a matter of taste so much as the food does not even appear edible.

    Air China did not disappoint in disappointing. If you thought the reverse herringbone product would be exciting and game changing, think again. While this is an adequate product for domestic flights, I would cringe flying in Air China’s new A350 J for long haul trips.

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