It's been a while since I last posted here, and I thought I'd return with a rather different trip report. Well ok, maybe not a trip report…
A flight to nowhere - A tour of Airbus' A350-1000XWB in Hong Kong
A few weeks back, an email from the local aviation society titled "A350-1000 visit" appeared in my mailbox. Apparently Airbus had rather secretly restarted its round the world tour of their A350 aircraft - but this time promoting its newest variant, the -1000. Understandably, Hong Kong was made one of the twelve cities the new jet was to visit over January and February. I signed up without thinking much about it, knowing that these kinds of events would be immensely popular amongst local avgeeks and hence a very slim chance of myself being selected.
But a couple of days later another email from the society arrived - this time titled "Congratulations". The rest is history…
Day of the tour
After a few clicks on the almighty internet I learnt that the aircraft chosen to perform the tour was to be MSN065, the second production A350-1000 (which I shall conveniently call the A35K) distinctive as it carries the much loved Carbon livery first seen on MSN002 (F-WWCF). The aircraft would call at Doha and Muscat after departing from Toulouse, arriving into Hong Kong in the wee hours of January 29. We were to visit the bird as part of the Cathay allocation, and would have around 45 mins to snap away.
I arrived at Cathay City in the early hours of the 29th as instructed to meet up with other participants, and to pick up our airport permits.
We were then bused straight from CX City into the HAECO hangers, where the star of our tour was parked.
I originally expected the aircraft to be quite tightly guarded. It turns out there were only a handful of Airbus/HAECO staff around the plane and we were able to get rather close to the fuselage.
Confirmation that I was getting on a dash 1000:
F-WLXV, registration for the aircraft. Coincidentally LXV is also 65 in Roman numbers, which is the same as the aircraft's MSN. Whether that's deliberate is anyone's guess.
We were led up the staircase into the aircraft through door L4. A few customary shots on the way up:
The now iconic A350 winglet. An enlarged version is currently being tested on one of the A359 test planes.
Despite MSN065 being a test aircraft, Airbus have installed fully functional seats in a typical three class layout:
Economy Class is arranged in a typical 9-abreast configuration.
Airbus on a mission to educate the most ignorant of layperson
The flight engineer's work station. We were given a short lecture by the man in charge - Christophe Bertrand
Not your every day wing view - a winglet in Airbus house colour with a maintenance hanger in the background.
Premium Economy Class (?)
It was rather surprising to see Airbus fit 10+ rows in PEY since it is supposed to be a niche sub-class from Economy (for context - Cathay has 4 rows installed in their A350-900). The seats were also in 9-abreast and not noticeably thicker/wider than the other seat type. It makes wonder whether this was just another type of Economy seat off their catalog.
Nothing to really write home about:
An INOP seat on a promotion flight?! Not the best promotion material:
The much loved seat 1A:
And yes - the brainwashing continues in the front cabins:
The Business Class wing/engine view:
A nespresso machine for 40,000ft. Don't recall seeing a George Clooney advert promoting this - but I might be mistaken:
Beyond Business Class
Airbus installed a revised version of the Cirrus Seat for this all exclusive cabin - housing a grand total of three. . . . No they didn't - still the same old chair that doesn't look entirely comfy:
The man in the co-pilot seat is Airbus test pilot Jean-Michel Roy. Massive kudos to him for posing for the photos and giving me a quick run through of the panels.
Some Airbus memorabilia on the way out - including the Cathay themed A350-1000 stickers. I wonder if Airbus does one for each customer:
Some external pics for hardcore A350 fans before I was bused away:
And that is it! Apologies where they're due - this wasn't much of a report nor a review of the stock Airbus seats, mainly due to the limited amount of time we get to spend inside the aircraft. But I nonetheless hope you enjoyed the photo walk-through.
Thanks for reading!!
Hong Kong - HKG
Hong Kong - HKG
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