Hainan Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 aircraft will make its international long-haul debut on Sunday, May 12, flying on the carrier’s Beijing-Boston route.
The Chinese carrier has four A350s in its fleet at the moment; however, these so far have been kept to domestic routes from Beijing to Shenzhen, Shanghai (Hongqiao), Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
Hainan Airlines flies daily between the Chinese capital and Boston. Flight HU481 departs Beijing at 1355 and lands at Boston at 1510 the same day, while the return HU482 flight leaves Boston at 1710 and arrives back in Beijing at 1900 the following day.
The carrier’s A350s are a two-class affair, with two different configurations. The aircraft that will fly to Boston is set up with 33 seats in the business class cabin and 301 seats in economy.
The good news is that this configuration for the aircraft is the one that features a staggered, 1-2-1 layout in the business class cabin (the other set up has a business class cabin laid out in a 2-2-2 formation). This means all passengers in business class get direct access to the aisle.
The seats look to be a version of Stelia Aerospace’s Solstys seat product. For an in-depth explanation of the different off-the-rack business class seat products and the airlines that operate them, take a look at our “Business class seat guide”.
The economy class cabin, meanwhile, is configured in a 3-3-3 set up; however, it also has 108 extra legroom seats located at the front of the cabin that offer an expanded seat pitch of 34 to 35 inches, and a seat width of 18 inches.
Elsewhere in its fleet, Hainan Airlines unveiled its new “Dream Feather” redesign for its Boeing 787 Dreamliners last month that has seen a new colour scheme implemented across all cabins on the aircraft.
The airline also recently began partnering with hotel brand Sofitel on its new business class bedding.
The A350 is a relative newcomer to the Chinese aviation scene. The country’s flag carrier, Air China, the first Chinese carrier to take delivery of the aircraft, only received its first A350 in August last year, followed shortly after by Sichuan Airlines.
Since then, Shanghai-based China Eastern has also taken delivery of the A350, notably equipping it with a first class cabin.