A350-900 World Inaugural Flight
AN EVOLUTION IN AIR TRAVEL
Innovations in passenger comfort and well-being take your flying experience to a new level.
Sit back and relax into spacious seats, take in the view from panoramic windows with electromechanical shades that go from fully transparent to opaque in Business Class, and feel the difference of a wider cabin.
A model of efficiency by design, the A350 XWB is one of the lightest aircraft of its type, made from advanced composite materials and powered by two new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This also makes it kinder to the earth, with 25% lower CO2 emissions than with current generation aircraft in its category.
Now, you can travel at a fast cruise speed of Mach 0.85 while leaving the lowest carbon emissions. You can experience state-of-the-art technology while enjoying superior comfort.
It is air travel that is truly ahead of the curve. Introducing the Qatar Airways A350 XWB.
15 January 2015 QR67 DOHA - FRANKFURT
The inaugural of A350 is the last major widebody aircraft type entering commercial service in this decade so it is a significant event that I am very lucky and privileged to attend. Most of us have flown the Boeing 787 so now it is time to see what Airbus has to offer to be competitive.
Many would argue this plane would fly for the next 20 years or so and have plenty of chance to fly and sample. However an inaugural maiden voyage has its own significant meaning and it only happen once!
I arrived on the day from Abu Dhabi with a short connection in Doha. The boarding gate A3 has been specially decored for the occasion of the inaugural A350 flight. Qatar Airways is very proud of this.
I must say about 60%-70% of the passenger were not aware of the A350 inaugural flight; they booked on as per usual flight and only became aware how lucky they were at the gate when a full ceremony took place.
Gift pack for every guest travelling on A350 flight. Inside the gift pack, it includes an A350 plane model and a Flight Certificate.
Many aviation enthusiasts understood the significance of the flight and joined together in Doha. Many of them belong to the “First to Fly” group, which some of them have flown all 13 A380 inaugurals!
CNN’s Richard Quest would not miss such an importance event for interviewing the passengers!
Me and Richard Quest.
After first flight group photo, we boarded the flight with 2 aerobridge separating Business and Economy passengers. As my usual custom, a photo with the welcoming crew at the door, Ms Jelly from Serbia.
Reg: A7-ALA, A350-941
The doors closed and we pushed back pretty much ontime. “This flight is bound for Frankfurt”.
With a short taxi, we were at the threshold of Runway 34 of the new Doha Hamed International. With a Northerly runway heading, we were airborne at around 08:05am. Literally every passenger in the window seat was photographing, videoing the historical airborne moment.
It was such a smooth takeoff and riding out a clear, almost haze free sky of Doha in the morning. The noise level is so quiet you can hardly notice anything. Smooth and Quiet. The first impression was excellent! It is much quieter than the B777 and B787.
Over the harbor.
Over Doha Skyline
The curved wing!
TOUR AND ONBOARD CELEBRATION
I was originally assigned in 36C and there were no window seat available at the time of booking. (guess you know the reason). Business Class was booked solid and I knew I have little chance when I booked at rather late stage. A window seat, 35A came up when I use online check-in so I immediately switched and I was very lucky as it was just after the wing and have a great view with the sun behind during the course of the flight.
After take-off, I went up to Business Class to join a few lucky enthusiasts there. The ambience was perfect, a wide cabin with no overhead bins in the middle, luxurious all aisle seating. There is a self service bar in the middle separating two section of Business Class. The first section located door 1 to door 2 has 6 rows with 24 seats. A smaller second section immediately after door 2 adds another 12 seats (3 rows) makes it total 36 seats. The same seat can be found on Qatar Airways A380 and B787.
You can see my latest book is on offer at the A350 bar table.
Meeting up and chat away during the flight
With famous “One Mile At A Time” blogger, Mr. Ben Schlappig
With Airbus CEO Mr Fabrice Bergier onboard
With Mr Thomas Lee, the only person who has flown the B747, A380, B787 and now A350 inaugural.
A Japanese enthusiast, wearing a custom made Qatar Airways white jacket, proudly displaying it.
After about 1.5 hours in-flight, we were treated with amazing beautiful and clear view of Northwest part of Iran and Turkey. Snow capped mountain, crystal clear volcano crater lake, your world is an amazing place from 39,000 feet!
Huge window from every seat, well done Airbus, a huge improvement over previous product.
Breakfast is served with choice of Omelet or chocolate/banana pancake in Economy Class. I have the pancake, despite the dark brown look, they’re delicious. Others complainted the omelet being too plain.
Almost full economy class. The overhead bins are curved like the Boeing Signature cabin design provided much better headroom than previous Airbus models.
Guess who is the man getting all the attention of fellow Avgeeks? Yes, he is the Qatar Airways group CEO, His Excellency, Mr Akbar Al Baker.
We spent almost an hour chatting aviation topics with Mr Al Baker, his depth of knowledge is really admirable and he has a quick wit and always come back with a smart comment! Unlike most Western media portrayed him, he is approachable, warm and single handly managed the airline from meeting new recruit, closely manage day-to-day operation and even calling customer replying their complaint personally over the phone! He is a real cult-figure. Couldn’t possibly think of another airline CEO nearly with this cult of personality.
A photo with Qatar Airways excellent cabin crew is a must. We have over 10 different nationalities crew onboard from Poland, Serbia, Romania, Morocco, India, Singapore, Philippines and more. I think I am qualified to say Qatar Airways crew have best grooming and looks polished over other Middle Eastern peers as I fly a lot in the region and internationally with the Middle East big 3. The service and soft product from Qatar is the best.
The crews were happy to show us the crew rest located near the rear galley in the middle. It can accommodate 6 crew at a time with 3 bunk beds behind, 2 in the front and 1 behind (not in this picture)
After all the tour and socializing, we were almost landing in Frankfurt as the excellent IFE shows.
The IFE came with high definition camera from the tail provide much clearer image.
We flew over Frankfurt airport during approach to new runway 25R which give us a great view of activity of FRAPORT from above. After a good and hard rubber kissing on the runway with strong cross wind, the world’s inaugural A350 flight landed 25 minutes ahead of schedule. We spent considerable amount of time taxiing to our gate provided good opportunity for every FRAPORT staff to photograph our shiny new plane.
After landing before deplane, I was allowed to see the cockpit.
Captain Konstantinos from Greece have the honor to fly the world first A350 commercial flight.
I was truly impressed and wowed by the A350. It is much wider and technological advance which makes flying a real pleasure. Innovations in passenger comfort and well-being take the flying experience to a new level. The economy seat is wider, have more legroom than average. QR is the first airline that fully integrated the in-flight entertainment box into the frame of the seat and no longer blocking your feet. Business seat is as comfortable as a First Class seat with all aisle access. Onboard Wifi is also available. Qatar successfully created a great onboard ambience other airline couldn’t match. My flight with Qatar A350 is a real winner. 15 Jan 2015, a new aviation milestone has been set in the history of aviation. Congratulations Airbus and Qatar Airways.
Feedback and comment always welcome