AY A350 HEL to HKGBack to Forum
Anonymous19 Apr 2016
Another week, another flight out from blighty to HKG, this time my erstwhile TMC, Tim gave me 2 well priced options. EK out of BHX which is a normal one for me but this time on the new A380 service or AY’s brand new 350…decision decisions. I am a big fan of EK’s 380 seats and service converting over from QR as my Me3 carrier of choice since QR decided being in OW meant charging OW prices. However, I have never flown in the A350 so at similar pricing I decided to give it a go, that and it lands at 2.30 in the afternoon so I can be in a car across the border to the mainland and propping up the bar by 7pm where as Ek get in around 9pm so meaning a night stay in HK`
LHR to HEL, there are enough reviews around on this leg so no need to add to it except to say the BA lounge was enjoyable and had some very nice belly pork in some apple Jus stuff on offer, was good enough for a second helping
HEL, I will say it now, I like HEL and always have. Since my last flight here about 18 months ago it has changed, much better F&B facilities, more shops if you like that sort of thing and a new lounge, or at least a remodeled one. I had a 2.5-hour layover so plenty of time to explore this small but relaxing terminal. At 9.30 at night it is a ghost town with from what I could see just 2 flights due out, mine to HKG and a later SNG one. I am fairly sure if I wanted to play hide and seek only the CCTV would see me. After a quick smoke I wandered into the Finnair lounge. Its bright, airy, comfortable seating and there were only about 6 other passengers in there from I would guess a capacity of 80. Unfortunately, the lack of customers meant that AY must then have economized on the food as all that was on offer were some jacket potatoes that were dried out and a soup that was tepid at best. So, no food for me which was disappointing. There was a good drink selection, too good in some ways! Help yourself beer on draft is nice, but only if you actually know how to pour a pint which judging from the mess around the taps most customers do not. Having a wee establishment myself I do know how to pull one, but even for me it was a gentle affair as the flows were not set correctly. And wine should never be on tap either
Boarding came around quickly after catching up on my mail and was a controlled smooth affair. So let’s see what the A350 is like. In décor I would say underwhelming, all white and grey tones. Reading the in-flight article, I understand this is to that the fancy LED lighting system that can show the 10 million or so tones in the spectrum they have for mood lighting. This does work, however its more of a gimmick than any comfort aid as, let’s face it, not sure about you but tend to sleep on an overnight flight with my eyes closed, and sleep I did! The seats all have isle access angled approx. 30 degrees towards the bulkhead. It is a true lie flat and comfortable without the hard edges where the seat changes that you find on some similar ones, maybe they will develop over time. Bose headphones are provided so I saved the battery power on mine and the IFE is sharp quality android based system, quick and responsive if a little lacking in content for the frequent flyer. Storage space is a little tight and I can imagine on a full flight there will be issues as there are no overheads in the middle and the seats only have a small side bin and area under the foot cushion.
Despite the small niggles that may be of personal choice I have to say the A350 is the quietest aircraft I have ever flown in, I have heard more road notice driving some cars that inside the cabin. If quietness is your thing you will love, it. The down side is you can hear every single burp, fart, cough and snore from your fellow travelers!
Service was good, I would not say exceptional but was much improved on this flight compared to the last AY I took. This I would give a KLM level, the previous was China southern level. I can see they have put more training into the predominately Asia crew. Food, perfectly ok, nothing special and perfectly edible as you expect from a European flag carrier.
Would I recommend, yes at the price point they had which was just under 2K.
EK or Finnair next time? I do like the departure time and arrival of AY, meaning I can get a mornings work done in UK and be at my place in china to sleep and get into the office at 8am the next day. So if the prices were the same I would choose the AY for convenience…unless of course the return next week is a disaster!19 Apr 2016
Flew back from HKG on the A350 last week. The flight leaves at midnight so used my OW Emerald to get into The Pier (CX First) lounge and ate there.
It was a full J flight and there is limited overhead space given there are no bins in the middle. There is a lack of storage space with the seats (which are essentially a cut down version of the CX seat) – one problem is that the small cupboard which holds the headphones does not have a door (CX does) – and so the crew come round, and put anything stored there either in the already full overhead or in a small compartment by the retractable arm rest. The foot space for sleeping is also smaller than CX – I assume due either to the width of plane or the angle of the seating. It is interesting to note that the essentially same seat on the CX A330 seems less confining
Crew took meal orders and specifically asked if you wanted to be woken for breakfast. Having eaten in the CX lounge, I went to sleep and had the best 8 hour sleep I have ever had on a plane – quiet engines and better pressurisation. I woke just as the hot towels and breakfast was coming round. End result was that I had hardly time to sample the IFE. It was a beautifully clear day arriving at 0600hrs. There was still some snow on the hills around Helsinki and ice on the lakes.
Deplaning was quick and you walk immediately into an ultra-efficient security check – lots of lanes open. From there it is a quick stroll to the Finnair lounge. Incidentally going out to HKG from LHR I had used my OW Emerald to get into the Finnair Premium Lounge, where there was a good selection of food (hot and cold) – however did not sample the sauna either way
So can recommend AY – but they still substitute from time to time – my original flight out was due to be A350 but a week or so before was subbed to an A330. The crew appear to be all HKG based – they are essentially young and perhaps a bit over enthusiastic at present. For the DYKWIA brigade, there was no Emerald welcome either way, but can’t say I get hung up on that
I had managed to get the whole trip for £1200 in an AY sale (LHR-HEL-HKG return) – which was excellent value and certainly I’d go with them again
Finally for the TP collectors, LHR-HEL-HKG on AY gets 220 compared to 140 on CX19 Apr 2016
My recollection of Finnair from a few years ago, were bright cabin lights being kept on during a very slow dinner service on night flights. I also remember delicious food.
Have things changed?19 Apr 2016
Thanks for the reviews gentlemen.
I’ve done a few sectors on the A350, mostly QR DOH-SIN and one on SQ SIN-KUL.
I’m most impressed, it is the quietest plane I’ve ever been on. I described it to a colleague as being in a room with the aircon on high. Even on take off it’s remarkable. It’s true though, I was disturbed at one point by a snorer on the other side of the plane and I wasn’t the only one. First world problems.
The one thing that flying on the A350 has done for me is make me realise the 787 is a far inferior aircraft – not that it’s not good but the A350 is in a different league.19 Apr 2016
Martyn, you pose a very interesting question. AFAIK there is nothing totally new on the blocks at the moment rather updates of things that are already selling well like the A320neo, the 737max and the A330neo.
There must be things being planned but I’m not privy to what.19 Apr 2016
Snoring is becoming a real issue. Just done a couple of trips on BA 787 and the lack of engine noise meant the snorers got to keep the whole cabin awake. I think CC need to be charged with prodding snorers for the sake of the rest!!
Not flown on A350 yet, but 787 felt very plasticky (-8 more than -9) though not sure they are materially different. Interior was a bit underwhelming. Especially as BA haven’t opted for a high ceiling entry way and the CW cattle pens block out the additional light from the larger windows.19 Apr 2016
Thanks for the reviews, I note AY are now flying thrice a week from EDI to HEL which makes them a viable option for me to go East – albeit I still struggle to see past EK ex GLA when their 1st sales are on.
Very interested to try the A350 too, less enthralled about the snoring/farting though. 😉
AOTG.19 Apr 2016
I have flown the 787 just the once (BA club from India) and was impressed with how quiet it was. Other than that I was pretty underwhelmed too. I look forward to trying the A350 sometime in the future (nothing booked) but am now rather worried. MrsM assures me I do snore and somewhat loudly at that. Perhaps the answer is for the aircraft to carry some of the anti snoring nose thingamebobs. Crew can then give the snorers a good prod and insist they insert them……so to speak!19 Apr 2016
I flew SIN- HEL-LHR last week on a redemption Bus ticket. Like other posts there is no wow factor. That said everything worked the crew were good and we arrived on time. Only one small point when you put the bed into the flat position to sleep your feet are cocooned or rather wedged even into a rather small space but as I said not a big issue unless you have big feet and like to move the around. I would certainly look a using that route again when paying cash given the fares quoted above20 Apr 2016
I was booked on the Finnair BKK/HEL last month and on checking in at 06.30 was told that the flight had been rescheduled for 03.30 the following morning, fortunatly I managed to get on a very tired old BA 777 after jumping up and down. Have flown on the Finnair,Qatar and SIA 350’s and Singapore’s is just fabulous, BA take note for when you get yours.21 Apr 2016
I use silicon based ear plugs which shape into the ear and fit very nice and comfy.
Cuts out all of the snorers, but not the high pitched galley chitter chatter.21 Apr 2016
So it’s not just me that gets bothered by the endless discussion on last trips, rosters, allowances and rest periods. I’m now an expert on all of these, with zero desire to be such! Not that my water-cooler conversations are any more interesting but I don’t generally expect others to pay to listen to them or keep them awake in the process!
RFerguson/Handbag – what are we to do to make it stop?21 Apr 2016