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Inside the Plane: Qatar Airways’ A350XWB Economy

Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB: the beauty is in the details

Step inside Qatar Airway’s new Airbus A350XWB aircraft! The Airbus A350XWB itself is a great aircraft with loads of passenger experience enhancements, and Qatar Airways has made theirs a pleasure for all passengers on board.

Before Christmas, I joined other press members at the Airbus facility in Toulouse for a unique ride inside the Qatar Airways’ A350XWB aircraft. It was quick test flight to the Pyrenees, over the Mediterranean, and back again. Though short, the flight was pleasant. It was long enough for me to appreciate all the little details which make this particular A350XWB first-class from nose to tail.

Inside the Qatar Airways Economy Cabin (Airbus A350XWB)

I flew inside the Qatar Airways’ A350XWB Economy cabin, which was nicely appointed with comfortable B/E Aerospace seating. Through the clever application of simple color changes on the dress covers, the airline generates a sense of space, breaking up the crowded visual impact of many rows of identical seats. No design tricks were required, though.

Inside the Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB, passengers will find plenty of headroom, and large windows, which make the cabin feel like a much more open space. We enjoyed fine weather on the day of our tour, but I suspect it would have felt open even if the sun weren’t so bright. The cabin also features LED lighting to set a mood throughout the journey.

Qatar Airways A350XWB Economy Class: a comfortable 3-3-3 Configuration

The comfort of Qatar’s A350XWB Economy class is also due to its 9-abreast 3-3-3 configuration. The seats are 18” wide, which is the “standard” Airbus has been promoting for a while. I’m not entirely convinced that an extra half-inch or full-inch (depending on alternate cabin configurations) of seat width is a noticeable difference. But I believe the airline’s choice of triple seats helps. The B/E Aerospace seat is designed to make the most of the room available.

The beauty truly is in the details onboard the Qatar Airways A350XWB Economy cabin

Adjustable headrests are a nice detail. I confess I’m too short to get the full benefits of these, but most people will. Leg room wasn’t a problem for me (it never is), but I really appreciated having enough space for my sizeable backpack under the seat in front of me. Traveling to and from the event, I had to stuff the thing under the seats of various aircraft. On the planes, I took to get to Toulouse and back, tucking my practical but large backpack under the seat in front of me took a lot of pushing. Even with effort, it didn’t quite fit. However, once inside the Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB, my bag and my feet had room to spare.

Plenty of legroom and room under the seat in front of you for storage in Economy class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic
Plenty of legroom and room under the seat in front of you for storage in Economy class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic

Roomy overhead bins make traveling easier on the Qatar Airways A350XWB

If I’d been packing anything larger than my old reliable yellow knapsack (the only bag I carried on this overnight journey), I could easily fit larger luggage in the pivoting overhead bin on the Airbus A350XWB. There’s lots of room for a standard roller bag. There’s also lots of headroom. If you are taller, you won’t feel crushed entering the cabin.

Plenty of headroom and roomy overhead bins inside the Qatar Airways Airbus A350 XWB. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic
Plenty of headroom and roomy overhead bins inside the Qatar Airways Airbus A350 XWB. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic

Qatar Airways proudly displays its logo on hardware and amenities inside the Airbus A350XWB

Even the pillows and the seat belt buckle made the most of the airline’s iconic Oryx emblem. Qatar Airways could have saved a lot of money by using standard white pillows and leaving out the buckle detail, but it didn’t. This convinces me Qatar Airways doesn’t cut corners on other passenger comfort considerations.

And there’s a coat hook! I don’t mean to be too particular, but I dislike folding my coat in the overhead bin.  Finding a simple button to hang it from on the seat back is a treat.

Handy coat hook on the seat back in Economy class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic
Handy coat hook on the seat back in Economy class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic

What about the Qatar Airways A350XWB In-Flight Entertainment?

On any long flight, the IFE is really a make-or-break feature for me. I travel with my own PED loaded with my favorite movies, just in case, but it’s nice to find early window movies on high-quality screens. Qatar Airways selected the Thales Avant IFE, running its Oryx IFE platform. It comes with a 10.6” screen and a neat touch-screen handset controller. This was not a long-haul trip. The window view was the biggest selling point for me in terms of entertainment. But a quality IFE system makes a huge difference on a long-haul flight.

In-Flight Connectivity and In-Seat Power

Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB features the double benefit of OnAir Ka-Band Satellite High-Speed Wi-Fi and OnAir mobile services for those fond of staying connected with the ground while in the air. Whatever your needs for voice and data, you’re covered. And the USB power outlets on the IFE keep your devices fully charged.

USB power and other plugs on the seat back of the Qatar Airways A350XWB Economy class seat. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic
USB power and other plugs on the seat back of the Qatar Airways A350XWB Economy class seat. © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the large windows really enhanced the view, leaving plenty of space to frame the shot however you like it.

Business class inside the Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB

And yes, in case you’re wondering, there is a premium cabin inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. Qatar’s Business class features lay-flat beds in a 1-2-1 seating configuration, with all the features you’d expect, including a 17” flat screen for your entertainment.

Business class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic
Business class inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic
Business class in-flight entertainment screen inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic
Business class in-flight entertainment screen inside the Qatar Airways A350XWB. © FCMedia | FlightChic

You expect the Business class to be special and much more comfortable than when I started working in the interiors industry 20 years ago. But very few passengers enjoy that experience. This aircraft has 36 seats in Business class and 247 seats in Economy. It’s good to see the airline invest in comfort for all of its customers in all cabins.

The most essential contribution to passenger comfort and safety, Qatar Airway’s flight attendants were professional and pleasant. That’s an unbeatable asset for any airline.

Qatar Airways friendly flight attendant inside the Airbus A350XWB plane. © 2015 FlightChic
Qatar Airways friendly flight attendant inside the Airbus A350XWB plane. © 2015 FlightChic
Though I was eager to fly back home in time for Christmas, I confess I wouldn’t have minded a longer flight. Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB aircraft is perfectly suited for the long haul.
Logo on the sharklets of the Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic
Logo on the sharklets of the Qatar Airways Airbus A350XWB © 2015 FCMedia | FlightChic

More Inside the Plane

Qatar Airways’ Qsuite Oryx IFE (in-flight entertainment), explained. FlightChic at the reveal of Qsuite | ITB Berlin
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