China Eastern Schedules First A350 Service To North America


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China Eastern took delivery of its first Airbus A350 in December last year but so far we’ve only seen the airline operate the aircraft on 4 of its long-haul international routes. Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, and Sydney all now get A350 service from China Eastern but, up until now, there’s been no sign of the aircraft coming across the Pacific to North America.

That situation has just changed.

From 28 June 2019 China Eastern will operate an Airbus A350 on its daily service between Shanghai and Vancouver replacing one of the two Airbus A330-200s which currently operate the route.

MU581 PVG 13:20 – 09:10 YVR (Daily)*
MU597 PVG 23:40 – 19:50 YVR (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat)

MU598 YVR 02:30 – 05:40+1 PVG (Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun)
MU582 YVR 13:20 – 16:35+1 day PVG (Daily)*

*A350 service

One disappointment here is that the A350 is replacing an Airbus A330-200 which already offers a pretty good reverse herringbone Business Class cabin while the remaining A330-200 continues to offer an older style Business Class cabin with a 2-2-2 layout.

China Eastern Business Class

The main reason to be excited about the fact that China Eastern’s A350 is finally coming to North America is that it sports a very nice Business Class cabin built around the Thompson Vantage XL seat which Delta uses for its Delta One suites.

And, just like Delta, Chain Eastern has given its A350 Business Class seats a door.

China Eastern A350 Business Class – Image Courtesy of Airbus

Qantas has installed a very similar seat on its latest aircraft only the Australian carrier hasn’t turned its seats into a suite.

Qantas 787 Business Class
Qantas 787 Business Class

China Eastern has taken the concept of an improved Business Class cabin a step further by introducing a row of seats at the front of the cabin which offers more room than the other seats in the cabin (the ‘Vantage First’ model).

China Eastern A350 Business Class - Image courtesy of Airbus
China Eastern A350 Business Class – Image courtesy of Airbus

 

China Eastern A350 Business Class - Image courtesy of Airbus
China Eastern A350 Business Class – Image courtesy of Airbus

These seats feature amenities such as a mini bar and a 32″ IFE touchscreen and are very similar to what we’ve seen Malaysia Airlines introduce as its First Class product (now sold as enhanced Business Class) on its A350 aircraft.

I’ve seen these front row seats being called a number of different things since China Eastern first unveiled them but the airline appears to have settled for ‘super premium suites’ and, when you take a look at them, the name seems appropriate – they look fantastic!

China Eastern A350 Business Class - Image courtesy of Airbus
China Eastern A350 Business Class – Image courtesy of Airbus

It’s worth noting that the middle seats in the front row are being marketed as offering an ‘air living room’ as they’re big enough for 4 passengers to share the space (and hold meetings, for example) during a flight.

Bottom Line

I’m a big fan of the Airbus A350 overall but I’m also specifically a fan of what China Eastern has done with its A350 Business Class cabin – I think it looks great.

I’ve tried the Thompson Vantage XL seats out (without a door) on the Qantas 787 and the Qantas A330 and have had great flights on each occasion so this should be a very comfortable way in which to cross the Pacific.

I should point out that China Eastern’s new 787-9 Dreamliners have also been fitted with the same Thompson Vantage XL Business Class seat as are found in its A350s and, as we should be seeing the airline schedule those aircraft on routes to North America at some point this year, there should soon be yet more opportunities to try this cabin out.

[HT: Routes Online]

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