Introducing the A 350 – BA & Virgin, differing styles

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  esselle 3 Sep 2019
at 21:57
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  • MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Ms. S managed to bag a couple of airmile tickets on VS (upper) to JFK in 4 weeks time and checking her reservation noticed A350. It made me wonder, about the different styles our 2 major airlines have in introducing both a new aircraft and seat.

    BA – continual rumours over the past few years about the seat then in a blaze of glory an A350 arrives and it along with the new seats have the great reveal. The 350 goes into practice mode, i.e. LHR to MAD in order for crew familiarisation on shorter flights then sometime soon into the long haul routes it was designed to serve. Mind you Israel is not exactly long haul (for either airline)

    VS – quite the opposite, the aircraft arrives, the seats revealed and virtually straight into long haul service. From what I have seen the seat is a vast improvement and I am looking forward to seeing which of the 2 new seats (BA or VS) get the bigger thumbs up.

    Not ignoring the bl**ding obvious, that VS do not fly short haul, why do BA need the short haul familiarisation flights, before going into full service? The 2 hour rushed flight does not represent a long haul. I thought one of the features of Airbus is the similarity between aircraft both for pilots and cabin crew.

    Just seems strange how VS and BA are introducing their new state of the art aircraft and seats. Is it a case that BA do not have the confidence in operating a new aircraft without practice runs…


    openfly
    Participant

    The BA way is the most professional and safe way to introduce a new aircraft…lots of short sectors to introduce the aircraft to the flight and cabin crew. Of course, Virgin do not have the luxury of short-haul training sectors, so, unless they use the facilities of another airline, their flight training will naturally take longer.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    I’m not sure how a 2 hour short haul could replicate a LH flight, however maybe some familiarisation is wise.

    Mind you it’s quite an achievement to go tech on the first day leaving the airline with an EC261 compensation bill (which it is reported – perhaps inevitably – that BA has tried to cheat on).


    Poshgirl58
    Participant

    Finnair provided training for VS crews, due to operating the A350 for over three years.

    VS pilots were also conducting familiarisation flights last week. Glasgow was one of the airports visited.


    SGJNI1961
    Participant

    I flew the BA A350 to MAD and back last Sunday. The crew were lovely but keek apologising that they couldn’t find things so the service was a little slow. What really made it slow was that each person starting at the front were served individually from the forward galley. The crew were back and forth an awful lot. If sitting past row 6 or 7 the waiting times must have been very long. Also very slow to clear away. The isles on the A 350 are very narrow, surprisingly so. The smaller business cabin looked like a good choice except on a full flight the service would have taken hours.
    While the seat is a vast improvement for BA, the door didn’t really seem needed as the seat was fairly private without it and I would still prefer CX or QR.


    rodders
    Participant

    Martyn
    I think Va received their first A350 on Aug 10th, and from Aug 17-25 spent anywhere from 6-12 flights a day doing circuits from Glasgow and Gatwick….
    Am hoping to try the BA 350 on the Dubai run next week…feedback to follow.


    mkcol74
    Participant

    I flew the BA A350 to MAD and back last Sunday. The crew were lovely but keek apologising that they couldn’t find things so the service was a little slow. What really made it slow was that each person starting at the front were served individually from the forward galley. The crew were back and forth an awful lot. If sitting past row 6 or 7 the waiting times must have been very long. Also very slow to clear away. The isles on the A 350 are very narrow, surprisingly so. The smaller business cabin looked like a good choice except on a full flight the service would have taken hours.

    While the seat is a vast improvement for BA, the door didn’t really seem needed as the seat was fairly private without it and I would still prefer CX or QR.

    I was on the A350 MAD-LHR & had opportunity for good conversations with 3 of the crew a fortnight ago.

    They had 20 cabin crew on board, 10 to operate each sector. Their biggest issue was getting familiar with what was where in the galley, which is understandable – when you’ve worked with something for a while it becomes second nature but you have to get that learning opportunity. They didn’t have the benefit of a full mock-up like the VS cabin crew did.

    They also explained that the service would work from the 4 corners inwards to meet each other, being hand run from the forward galley as there is no galley midships, just the Club Kitchen with the stowage below it. There wouldn’t be a dedicated crew member monitoring the Club Kitchen so there were some concerns about how to manage it on the “party” flights eg: Las Vegas

    It was interesting to hear how things had been developed during the couple of weeks the training flights had been operating eg: how to safely close the overhead lockers which are quite weighty. And that service standards dictate that the crew member is not to step into the Club Suite at all, even during boarding, as it would encroach on the customer’s space. Bearing in mind the aisle is fairly slim this would create as issue for pax boarding with wheelies…or ample saddlebags 😉


    esselle
    Participant

    Can’t they do all this stuff whilst the aircraft is on the ground?…………

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