Aeroflot has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350, which features new fully-flat business class seats with a sliding privacy door.
At an event in Toulouse, the Russian flag carrier confirmed to Business Traveller that the seats – as well as a subtly refreshed livery – will be unique to the A350, as a way to “differentiate the experience”. The airline will retrofit its B777 aircraft with a different seat product, but did not confirm what this will be.
Aeroflot will receive 22 of the A350-900 variant, and plans for as many as 10 to arrive this year.
The first routes are set to be London, Miami, New York, Dubai, Delhi and Beijing, as well as Osaka when the route launches in June, and Singapore when it launches in October.
The airline said it is still confirming introduction dates for each destination. However it said reports that London had been delayed till the autumn were untrue.
Aeroflot has currently reduced service on some China routes amid the coronavirus outbreak, but has not suspended flights.
The A350 livery
The livery on other aircraft
The A350s are set to replace Aeroflot’s 20 A330s.
Airbus recently delivered its 350th A350. Aeroflot will be the aircraft’s 35th operator, and its first in Eastern Europe. Another 15 carriers have it on order.
Airbus said 45 per cent of operators are Asian carriers, while many others fly it to Asia.
Business Traveller took a walk through the newly-delivered aircraft, which features a new business class seat product by Collins Aerospace called Horizon.
There are 28 fully-flat seats configured 1-2-1, with a 48-inch pitch.
The seats have a blue fabric body with an orange leather headrest, two side lights, a side table and a shoulder strap for take-off.
One significant feature is the sliding door, which blocks the seat off from the aisle completely.
A small gap is left, which prevents the door from rattling.
The Panasonic screen is 21 inches and the IFE includes the popular tail cam chosen by airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and Air France, for their A350s.
Middle seats have a sliding screen to allow privacy or a window to the passenger in the next seat.
The tray table pops out from below the screen and can be extended forward or pushed away – see it in action here.
The seat can be reclined to fully-flat using buttons.
Storage includes a side pocket with a mirror, and a water bottle/magazine holder next to the seat.
Next to the screen there is space to hang coats.
Business Traveller‘s verdict? While we’re yet to try it in-flight, this seems like an excellent new business class offering. The door is high enough to give total privacy, but the seat is spacious enough to stop it feeling cramped.
The footwell offered lots of space, and it seemed like there would be sufficient storage for most people. The tray table could be easily pushed in and out, though it was a little small and seemed like it could be wobbly if used for work.
The screen has a high-quality display and stylish black surround.
There is also a bar at the back of the cabin.
Also by Collins Aerospace (its popular MiQ type), they have 38 inches of pitch and a 13-inch screen.
The tray table includes a small stand that folds up to allow passengers to prop up their phone (not pictured).
Economy begins with one row of ‘Space+’, with extra legroom.
Behind this are 264 seats configured 3-3-3 with 31 inches of pitch.
These continue in the blue body and orange leather headrest style.
They are also Collins Aerospace (the Aspire seat) and have an 11-inch screen.
Aeroflot recently announced it will introduce ‘Base’ fares in business class and premium economy, offering cheaper rates in exchange for a non-refundable ticket.