Sichuan Airlines Will Fly A350 To LAX

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Sichuan Airlines is in the process of refreshing their longhaul fleet, as the airline is in the process of taking delivery of 16 Airbus A350-900 aircraft. They took delivery of their first A350 in August 2018, which is in a pretty epic panda livery.

These A350s complement their current widebody fleet of 12 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Sichuan Airlines’ only US routes are to Los Angeles, which they launched in October 2016. The airline flies from Chengdu to Los Angeles, though the flight routes via Jinan and Hangzhou on alternating days.

Up until now the route has been operated by an A330. I flew Sichuan Airlines from Chengdu to Jinan to Los Angeles a couple of years ago, and had a… not great flight. The soft product wasn’t great, and on top of that Sichuan Airlines has angled business class seats on their A330s, which aren’t ideal for such a long flight.

I imagined that at some point Sichuan Airlines would put their A350 on this route, and it looks like that’s finally happening.

Sichuan Airlines will fly the A350-900 on their routes to Los Angeles as of May 2, 2019. The airline operates 6x weekly flights, with 3x weekly flights via Hangzhou, and 3x weekly flights via Jinan.

In business class, the A350 features 28 Cirrus Zodiac reverse herringbone business class seats. These are similar to the seats you’ll find in business class on American, Cathay Pacific, etc. While the finishes don’t look that inspiring, this is a massive upgrade over their old business class hard product.

Zodiac Cirrus reverse herringbone seat on American Airlines

Sichuan Airlines doesn’t belong to any of the global alliances and doesn’t have any terribly useful airline partnerships, though they do often have attractive business class fares. So this airline goes from one to avoid even on cheap fares, to one that’s worth flying if the price is right, in my opinion.

  1. I flew Sichuan intra-China (PVG-CTU, I think) a few months back and was shocked and excited when I realized we were on their A350. I flew in economy for such a short flight, but service was surprisingly decent, and of course it was as comfortable as possible being an A350.

  2. @Dominicus, I agree – I’ve flown Sichuan Airlines in F on several domestic segments, and the catering is head-and-shoulders above F catering on any other Chinese carrier. Portions are really generous and the food is actually quite good, unlike the dire “mystery” dishes you get in the front cabin on the Chinese “big three.”

  3. Unfortunately the interior product leaves a lot to be desired. The IFE for example is the old Thales system, which is pretty bad in my opinion. Also the cabin design was likely made by a 3 year old

  4. I do miss being on the west coast though I’m from New York City. When I was in Santa Barbara, California back in the day for the 1st time in my life, I hated that it was time to leave. Being in such a beautiful environment like Santa Barbara and then driving through the mountains for a little over 2 hours from SB to Los Angeles was peaceful. California is such a beautiful place. 🙂

  5. @Aaron I second your appreciation of the A350. While the A380 has been (rightfully) lauded as a most comfortable airplane, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort level of the A350 which in my opinion is a significant improvement over its direct competitors such as the B777 and B787.

  6. It is strange when they have a350 which have enough range to go to China to LA, they still make stops in between.

  7. Their tickets are always priced below those major Chinese airlines, but just don’t know where to credit the mileage to?

  8. Does it stop in Jinan or Hangzhou in each direction? I ask because I have to go to Hangzhou in October and may give them a try.

  9. @bsp They need to make stops to pick up the subsidies offered by local governments for providing international diret flights.

  10. @Lu, ask for Chengdu government to give subsidies is a way to get rid of stopover, but since Hainan offer CTU-LAX and got subsidies already, maybe Sichuan has to continue to make the stop

  11. I thought it’s also worth noting that the Sichuan A350 has done a few Melbourne flights too. Hopefully this will become more permanent.

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