Starlux Airlines Reveals New A330-900neo Cabins

Starlux Airlines Reveals New A330-900neo Cabins

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Taiwanese airline startup Starlux Airlines has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A330-900neo, and in the process we’ve gotten our first look at the onboard product.

Starlux Airlines takes delivery of A330-900neo

In September 2020, Starlux Airlines placed an order for eight Airbus A330-900neos. This complements the carrier’s existing Airbus A321neos, plus the 19 Airbus A350s on order, which include both the A350-900 and A350-1000.

Starlux Airlines also has A350s on order

The airline is taking delivery of the plane in Toulouse, France today, and the plane should arrive in Taiwan on Saturday afternoon.

The airline plans to put the first A330-900neo into service this summer, as crew training is expected to be completed in May. Three more A330-900neos will join Starlux Airlines’ fleet in 2022. Starlux doesn’t plan to use the plane for long haul flights, but rather for routes to other major cities in the Asia-Pacific region, including Macau, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Bangkok, and Tokyo.

Here’s how Starlux Airlines Chairman K.W. Chang describes the decision to buy these planes:

“My team and I had spent much time evaluating and discussing the selection of the optimal mid-range aircraft to augment our current line A321neos and A350 XWBs, expanding the range of our fleet to full strength, covering short, mid and long range flights. The efficiency of the A330neo is outstanding by bringing together enhanced technologies and highly efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. In addition, pilots can easily acquire type rating for various aircraft that make up the Airbus family. I am delighted to welcome our first A330neo, as it marks a key milestone in our growth. With the addition of the A330neo, STARLUX can deploy our fleet more flexibly and provide our service to more passengers over regional routes.”

Starlux Airlines plans to take delivery of its first Airbus A350 in the third quarter of 2022. A350s will be used for long haul flights, and the airline is expecting to launch flights to Los Angeles as of 2023.

Starlux’s A350s are even expected to feature a first class cabin, though the configuration may otherwise be pretty tight. I can’t wait to fly Starlux on a long haul flight, especially before my Starlux COSMILE Insighter status lapses (though who knows when Taiwan will reopen).

Winston is so proud that his dad is a Starlux COSMILE Insighter elite member

Starlux Airlines’ A330-900neo business & economy cabins

Starlux Airlines’ A330-900neos feature a total of 297 seats, including 28 business class seats and 269 economy class seats. The cabin is designed by BMW Designworks, and is intended to evoke the ambiance of “Home in the Air.” The cabin has a “Pure Tea” color theme, featuring natural colors, warm fabric and leather, and ceiling panels with Polaris glowing gently overhead.

Business class is in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, giving every passenger direct access to the aisle. Seats are fully flat, and each seat has a side cubby for storing personal belongings, a mirror, a reading light with three brightness levels, and wireless charging. Every seat also features a 17.3″ 4K screen.

Starlux Airlines A330-900neo business class cabin

The economy cabin features RECARO slimline seats, with six-way adjustable headrests, tablet holders, and cup holders. Every seat also features a 13.3″ 4K screen. There’s also bluetooth audio connectivity, so that passengers can use their own headphones.

Starlux Airlines A330-900neo economy class cabin

A few thoughts about the cabins:

  • While I think the finishes are nice, at least the business class cabin isn’t that impressive; I’m surprised Starlux didn’t go for a more over-the-top business class product
  • I suppose the plan is primarily for the A330 to be used for intra-Asia flights, so it’s a decent product for those routes, but at the same time I wouldn’t even say it’s industry leading within Asia
  • I’m kind of surprised there’s not a premium economy cabin, and it makes me wonder if Starlux will offer premium economy on long haul A350s; if so, it would be nice to get premium economy throughout the journey if connecting
  • I suspect the A350s will get better seats in business class, though only time will tell
  • Regardless, Starlux’s business class soft product is exceptional, so this should be an all around great experience

Bottom line

Starlux Airlines has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A330-900neo, which is the carrier’s first wide body aircraft. It’s so exciting to see Starlux expanding, as the airline has great attention to detail, and is going for a luxury model rather than a low cost model. Unfortunately it’ll be several more months before this plane is put into service.

I’m curious to see what Starlux’s A350 premium products look like, including business class and first class, and whether there’s a premium economy product.

What do you make of Starlux Airlines’ A330-900neo?

(Tip of the hat to Sam Chui)

Conversations (26)
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  1. Brianair Guest

    I think these are great seats, although the cabins do look sort of dry without color, texture, or even a logo on the wall. I predict that Starlux will play a greater role in the future. They might just be able to join Oneworld after all. Cathay Pacific’s situation just looks hopelessly bleaker and bleaker with each passing day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the CCP takes it over completely (like they’re now doing...

    I think these are great seats, although the cabins do look sort of dry without color, texture, or even a logo on the wall. I predict that Starlux will play a greater role in the future. They might just be able to join Oneworld after all. Cathay Pacific’s situation just looks hopelessly bleaker and bleaker with each passing day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the CCP takes it over completely (like they’re now doing to HK), renames it Air China Xianggang, moves it to Star, and brings it to CA service levels. There will still be international routes from the future XG, a CA focus city perhaps, but I bet there won’t be as many as before and of course they’ll all be CA not CX. Starlux, being geographically located close, may just pick up where the Cathay we know left off, as more and more favor TPE over HKG as a transit point. They are surely aiming high with their onboard product, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, once they get their A350s, they reach or surpass the level of luxury Cathay provided and perhaps become neck and neck with SQ.

  2. Bo Guest

    Bluetooth transmitters built into seats is a welcomed addition. I am not sure why they would bother with 4k screens that small. I guarantee you cannot tell the difference between 4k and 1080p on that small of a screen unless you have it an inch from your face.

  3. TomV Guest

    I don’t get it why you need to be disappointed about the business class, it’s a strong 1-2-1 business class product. I know the business class can be used on flights to Australia, but still that is by far one of the best products.

  4. Alexf1 Member

    Anything more for a regional aircraft would have been over the top. The business class product looks sufficiently fit for purpose and where much of the real 'lux' will come from is the soft product. That said, nothing worse than over promising and under delivering.

  5. rtgyse Guest

    I'm a bit surprised by your reaction on the business product! The skylounge core is a pretty nice product that offers everything necessary for a top premium experience! I for one, I love it!

  6. Emily Guest

    Nice looking cabin, but I think they should drop the "lux" from their name. Then, there would be no concern.

    I have always been a fan of BMW's Design Studios, but this product is less the expresso crispness that I expect from them and more a tepid tea.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      WFT is expresso crispness?
      WTF is tepid tea?

      Hello millennials, don't make life harder than it needs to.

    2. DCharlie Guest

      @Eskimo

      It’s called a metaphor. Perhaps the only thing hard for you is your command of English.

    3. Mangiafica Guest

      It's espresso. "Expresso" sounds like a courier service.

  7. Sam Guest

    What's lacking with the business class seats?
    Lie-flat, aisle access, plenty of space, storage facilities - they have everything I'd want for a long haul flight, let alone short haul. I guess the only thing missing might be a door, but I'm not too bothered about that.

    1. KATA Member

      I reckon it has to do with the expectation they’ve been building with becoming a very luxurious airline; “the Emirates of Taiwan” or whatnot. These seats don’t quite look as impressive as the statements they had been making.

      Whilst I’d imagine they will have a different product on their A350s, it does pose the problem of inconsistency between products.

    2. Sam Guest

      Fair enough.

      I mean Emirates have middle-seats in business class - I don't care how much tacky gold they cover the cabin with, I'd consider these seats more luxurious......

  8. EBWaa Guest

    It looks like the Safran Skylounge in business. It’s not a breathtaking product but solid and more than adequate for the kinds of routes they’ll be used on. I’m intrigued to see what they do with their A350s. The finishes look very smart.

  9. MoJoe Diamond

    Was waiting for a Winston sighting. It's not proof-of-life but will suffice. :-)

    Wonder if the Recaro seats in STARLUX Economy include power outlets, and how their food, service, and fares will compare to the competition. Had plans to travel to Taiwan in 2020 that were waylaid by Covid. At least the delay may afford the opportunity to check out the new airline kid on the block.

  10. Andy Diamond

    The A330-900neo is a solid product, which I have flown on TAP Air Portugal several times. Their business class (which is still very good by European standards, e.g. direct aisle access for all pax, lie flat, excellent meals and wines) is much tighter ...

  11. magice Member

    To be completely fair, China Airlines intra-Asia business class is a meh. It's not even nice angle-flat.

    1. KATA Member

      CAL’s A330s and 737-800s does leave much to be desired, although they are replacing the 737s with flatbed A321neos, and more and more routes served by the A330 are getting A350s and the occasional 77Ws

    2. Jkjkjk Guest

      China Airline’s A350 service popular routes like SIN, NRT, ICN, PVG and even CGK

    3. KATA Member

      Precisely. Jakarta even gets an occasional 77W service from both CAL and EVA

  12. Mike O. Guest

    Industry standard would probably be the appropriate definition rather than industry leading; seems similar to what you would get on EVA, SQ, and ANA's 787. Certainly better than what CX offers on their 773s (non-ER), select A330s and even their A321neo's. You can even say it's better than their ER 773s since their business class seats are getting long in the tooth.

    If these are the seats for regional routes and choose a a more...

    Industry standard would probably be the appropriate definition rather than industry leading; seems similar to what you would get on EVA, SQ, and ANA's 787. Certainly better than what CX offers on their 773s (non-ER), select A330s and even their A321neo's. You can even say it's better than their ER 773s since their business class seats are getting long in the tooth.

    If these are the seats for regional routes and choose a a more substantial seat for long-haul, I would say it's up there with SQs regional business class product.

    Just keep in mind that they can always "misuse" their A350s just like what CX, SQ, and others do on these regional runs.

  13. Bruce Guest

    Why are you unimpressed with business class? It’s only for regional flights. It’s similar to what Singapore offers and theirs is top notch. Similar route length and Lufthansa offers a blocked middle seat. This is top of the range for the routes that the A330neo will operate and the finishes are gorgeous. It’s in line with Starlux’s luxury brand. Any more extravagant and they wouldn’t even break even on business class. Why are the expectations...

    Why are you unimpressed with business class? It’s only for regional flights. It’s similar to what Singapore offers and theirs is top notch. Similar route length and Lufthansa offers a blocked middle seat. This is top of the range for the routes that the A330neo will operate and the finishes are gorgeous. It’s in line with Starlux’s luxury brand. Any more extravagant and they wouldn’t even break even on business class. Why are the expectations so unreasonable? They’re still a company, not a charity.

    1. KATA Member

      I understand where Lucky is coming from, but you do have a great point yourself. But the fact that this was introduced before we actually know whether they’ll use the same seat (or what kind of seat they’ll use) on the A350 could easily make one less confident with their future offerings.

  14. Greg Guest

    Where are the photos of the seats with screens?

  15. pstm91 Diamond

    Don't get me wrong, it looks nice, but for an airline that has "lux" in the name and was supposed to be the new standard of premium flying, I don't see anything here that makes it stand out... Not one thing advertised would have me choose them over EVA or really any other choice.

    1. KATA Member

      I wholeheartedly agree. Their lounge not containing a bathroom/showers just makes it even less so appealing unfortunately.

  16. Andy 11235 Guest

    For what it's worth, China Airlines is the only airline I know of that (in days when one could connect in TPE) puts passengers in business when connecting off of premium economy long-haul. It would be interesting (and nice) if Starlux copied this model.

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Sam Guest

Fair enough. I mean Emirates have middle-seats in business class - I don't care how much tacky gold they cover the cabin with, I'd consider these seats more luxurious......

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Bruce Guest

Why are you unimpressed with business class? It’s only for regional flights. It’s similar to what Singapore offers and theirs is top notch. Similar route length and Lufthansa offers a blocked middle seat. This is top of the range for the routes that the A330neo will operate and the finishes are gorgeous. It’s in line with Starlux’s luxury brand. Any more extravagant and they wouldn’t even break even on business class. Why are the expectations so unreasonable? They’re still a company, not a charity.

1
pstm91 Diamond

Don't get me wrong, it looks nice, but for an airline that has "lux" in the name and was supposed to be the new standard of premium flying, I don't see anything here that makes it stand out... Not one thing advertised would have me choose them over EVA or really any other choice.

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