Photos from inside the A350-XWB and a small giveaway

Most days I love my job. Today I really, really, really love it. I was one of a handful of journalists invited on board the A350-XWB test aircraft (MSN002) to explore the cabin as fitted with passenger features. This means there were seats, galleys and overhead bins installed, along with lots of test equipment.


I was able to sit in the seats and try things out to get a feel for how the plane will be when real passengers get to fly it. Sure, it was only for a few minutes, but it was still awesome.


Airbus is sticking to their guns that the ideal cabin layout in economy is 3-3-3. And I completely agree with that sentiment. It keeps seat width at 18″ and sufficient room in the aisles. But they’re also willing to sell it as a 3-4-3 layout. Boeing is doing the same with their 777s which are 10 inches wider in the cabin and that’s not much fun. Doing it on the A350 would be worse as I see the numbers. Interestingly there are only 4 seat options for economy class; airlines MUST buy one of the Airbus-approved options for that cabin. The framer says it is about ensuring delivery timelines and reliability and that’s not too hard to believe. Recaro, B/E Aerospace and Zodiac all have options in the catalog so most airlines should do just fine with those choices.


In business class airlines can choose one of the five stock options (the much loved Zodiac Cirrus is on the list) or choose another vendor coordinated with Airbus. The demo plane we were on had the Sogerma Solstys seats in business. They were pretty comfy, as expected from the product which is in a number of other aircraft already.


Remember how I said it was still a test aircraft? They took out a few rows in the back and had a full monitoring and testing kit set up.


As for the pipes, they’re on board to simulate passengers. The test hardware heats them to body temperatures during the test flights.


And, of course, a #laviator selfie. Not great, but also not much time to work with there.


The overhead bins are quite large, but I don’t think I’ll fit.


Overall I think the plane shows a lot of promise. There are definitely some nice features vis a vis space and cabin layout options. Now we just have to hope that the airlines don’t screw it up by jamming too many seats in.

As for the giveaway, the tour came with a small bundle of goodies from Airbus that I’m passing on. A nice luggage tag is the main bit, plus an A350 lanyard and pen. Want it??


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Nice. I’m jealous that you were able to get on board. Id love to get my hands on some airbus gear!

  2. Hi. Loved the article. Do you still have those goodies? I’d love having them πŸ™‚

  3. Love the pic of the wingtip! Will be interesting to see how airlines paint it up.

    And yea, of course, want it! πŸ™‚

  4. Nice post! Would love the luggage tag for an upcoming trip to Kyrgyzstan.

  5. I don’t care for the luggage tag, 10 across on a 777 is miserable enough, but I’m sure they will find a way to increase the misery.

  6. Nice review! You’re offering a timely prize as my luggage tag just broke after years and years of service.

  7. I would love to have it! Thanks for the pics. Really interesting to see the plane in pre-delivery mode!

  8. Journalist?

    Is that really how you think of yourself?

    And, no thank you, I do not want any swag.


    PS I am not trying to be too insulting here, I read much of what you create and appreciate it. I just don’t put you in the same category as a journalist.

    1. More than not. I actually research stories, have sources inside companies and otherwise create content. Most of it doesn’t show up here (I write for a bunch of other outlets, too) but, yes, I’m a journalist.

      As for not trying to be insulting, I think you missed. πŸ˜‰

    2. Yeah, I thought so.

      Have you been nominated for the Pulitzer prize yet? πŸ™‚

      As I said in my OP, I do like your work and you are my go to blogger, right after Lucky, gleff, TPG, and MommyPoints.

      And that thread you started on FT about UA fare classes is invaluable.

  9. I think you generate great content. Your information is accurate and timely. Great inside info on the new Airbus. Thank you

  10. Seth,

    The pic of you sitting in the A350’s coach seats (you know, the thin tight one’s that most airline’s have adopted to squeeze more of us into!), seems to have your shoulders almost extended to the middle seat’s edge, thus impinging on that person’s comfort. You mentioned that the seat area is 18″ for the 3-3-3 seating, but that’s for the seat cushion, it’ll be brutal for 3-4-3 on those slimline seats with no shoulder room.

  11. I agree with Jeff F’s comments – shoulder width is really tight anymore…. not comfy at all. I routinely make long-haul flights, and they are NOT my favorite thing! Now, aircraft swag? One of my favorite things….

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