Xinyi Liang-Pholsena was one of the lucky few to experience Thai Airways’ newest Airbus A350-900 XWB during its delivery flight from Toulouse to Bangkok
Thai Airways International (THAI) was taking delivery of its third A350-900 aircraft and invited the media to join the ferry flight THA8904 from the Airbus base in Toulouse to Bangkok in April.
This aircraft has gone into service on May 1 on the Bangkok-Frankfurt route. The two earlier A350-900s delivered last year have already been deployed on the Rome and Milan routes. The carrier has a total of 12 A350s on order, with five coming this year and another five next year.
Everyone was visibly excited when we spotted the new THAI aircraft – with its signature curved wings and shades-like cockpit windshield – sitting on the tarmac at the Airbus Delivery Center.
Coming straight from the Airbus manufacturer, the cabin interior still carries a whiff of the brand-new smell and had a protective plastic covering lining the aisles. There was no in-flight entertainment and the two meals served on board were catered by Airbus, instead of THAI.
THAI’s A350 XWB offers two classes – royal silk (business class) and economy. The 32 business class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a width of 21 inches and convertible to fully flat beds. The 289 economy class seats boast a 3-3-3 configuration, with an 18-inch width and 32-inch pitch.
The customisable cabin mood lighting that the A350 is known for certainly worked to great effect by THAI. Upon stepping into the brand-new aircraft, I was greeted with the signature carriers of purple and amber, which blend in perfectly well with the seat cushions of either purple or amber tones.
When it was time for breakfast, the dark cabin slowly took on deep purple and orange tones before progressing into a lighter shade and finally all bright to cajole passengers to wake up.
My window seat (12K) was easy to operate, with various modes from upright to relax to flat. There was plenty of room to store my handbag, laptop and rest my feet. Each suite also comes with a big 16-inch touchscreen, with a handheld remote tucked beneath the armrest, plus a power point and USB input.
After dinner was served, I chose the flat mode and made a couple of adjustments to find the perfect position to curl up and sleep for the night. Being four months pregnant, I fully appreciate the fully reclined seat as it allows me to rest my wreary and increasingly bulging body for the overnight 11-hour flight.
The extended overhead area, larger overhead luggage compartment and wider windows also gave a more spacious feel, whether in business or economy class.
Despite not experiencing the full THAI experience due to the lack of in-flight services and entertainment on this ferry flight, the technical crew doubled up in their temporary service roles with all smiles.
The A350 clearly met expectations for a longhaul route with its smoother take-off and landing, quieter cabin and eye-friendly ambient lighting. I’m already looking forward to my next A350 flight with THAI.