I flew on Air India’s new flagship, the A350-900 inaugural flight. This is the first plane that wears the new Air India livery. It is the first of 470 planes Air India has on order. Can Air India regain its former glory? Here's my experience with the new Air India.
Air India A350 currently is doing many Indian domestic flights a day for crew training purposes. My Air India A350 flight started from Mumbai to Chennai.
At each airport the Air India A350 visit, there are photo booths for passengers to take photos to celebrate the occasion.
The Business Class cabin has 28 fully enclosed private suites. The crew on this flight wore new Air India uniforms with bright colors.
The Air India A350 came with standard amenities like a mirror, storage, shoe box, USB charger and powerpoint
Row 2, 4, and 6 are real window seats while rows 1,3,5,7 are adjacent to the aisle.
The cabin is followed by Premium Economy cabin which has 24 seats and Economy with 264 seats.
The humanities on these inaugural flights shine!
The flight was in celebration mode with many aviation enthusiasts onboard, all wishing Air India well. The new cabin on the A350 feels leaps and bounds ahead, a complete change from the old Air India.
A couple decommissioned Air India B747-400 at MumbaiWe took off from Runway 27 heading towards West then turned back towards Chennai. Flight time was 1 hour 25 minutes. We cruised at 35,000 ft.
For all the takeoff and landing, you can see it in my video here.
A 4 choice breakfast was served in Business Class. The meals in Premium Economy is also different to Economy.
A photo for the old timer with the Air India logo teapot
Upon landing in Chennai, I remained onboard for the next sector to Bengaluru. The captain has shared that the initial domestic flights were for training purposes before the A350 goes for long-haul international flights. I took more pictures to remember the inaugural flight occasion.
For all the inflight action, you can see it in my video here.
The ground crew at Chennai was extremely nice. They made a special card for me.
On the next sector from Chennai to Bengaluru, I tried out the Economy Class.
The flight was just 40 minutes but Air India served a meal onboard, it was hot vegetarian biryani. We flew at 20,000 ft.
The same cockpit and cabin crew did 3 sectors that day, from Bengaluru to Mumbai, Mumbai to Chennai and Chennai back to Bengaluru.
Air India expects to receive 5 more A350-900s by April 2024.The airline has ordered a total of 20 A350-1000s and 20 A350-900s.
Until the end of Feb, the A350 will be deployed on domestic flights flying to the cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.
The A350-900 is the first of 470 planes Air India has on order out of a massive $70 Billion order. Air India still has a long way to go. I expect the A350-900 will enter the long haul from April to relieve some of the older Air India B777 which is due for cabin refurbishment.
Going forward, how to keep all the different products consistent is an open question (ex Delta 77L, ex Etihad 77W and Aeroflot config A350 + Air India own A350 config). But one thing is for sure, Air India is investing in new cabin products.
The fare from Bengaluru via Mumbai to Chennai is cheaper than flying from Bengaluru to Mumbai. Many aviation enthusiasts have taken advantage of this. So you can get more value by flying 2 A350 sectors.
Fare from Bengaluru to Chennal via MumbaiFare from Bengaluru to Mumbai