It was ~40 minutes of flying time, heading south towards the splendid snow capped Pyrenees along the French/Spanish border.
The aircraft was spotless – quite likely the cleanest aircraft the trade media has seen.
Apologies for the unsteady amateur video.
A few thoughts on the aircraft and airline:
- The video was shot mostly from seat 39D – using the seat-back screen to provide the viewer with a sense of what it looked like outside. Window seats were snapped up in a flash. Given the human traffic in the aisles it was difficult to move around holding a camera.
- 39D is an aisle seat on the left center and is behind the wing and therefore is likely in a noisier location than seats next to or ahead of the wing.
- The tail mounted camera on the aircraft is HD and the clarity is amazing. There was a second scene from the aircraft chin. The seat back screens are excellent.
- The A350 is quiet – this was noticed by everyone on the flight. Viewers will notice the sound of people speaking is distinct over cabin noise. The A350 seems to be as quiet as the A380, even though it has larger engines closer to the cabin. Airbus did a good job on this feature. The cabin is very light because the windows are big and at shoulder height. No craning down to look out.
- The crew was immaculately turned out. If any of them noticed a lens panning their way, their smiles intensified; in the video you can see this. Their training for this flight must have been drilled into them. Many were asked repeatedly to pose for cameras. The crew handled a load of people who did not stay seated or return to seats until the last second with dignity.
- Somehow the cabin crew managed to feed and supply champagne from what seemed like an endless supply. Some media tried, vainly, to see if there was a limit to this supply.
- The muzak was the only annoying feature of an otherwise delightful experience.
- Qatar Airways is differentiating from Etihad and Emirates by being focused on the cabin experience. It plans to serve far flung places over its Doha hub. For this the A350 is a great tool – the aircraft has the range to go almost anywhere. The excellent cabin noise levels, large windows and fancy IFE should ensure a positive passenger experience. So with good economics and a cabin that feels like it makes long hauls as comfortable as possible (yes you can feel the difference in 18 inch seats) Qatar looks to have the right tool for the job.