Breath Easy, You Can…

Let’s start this discussion by saying that you’re already very lucky. Durable, composite materials have  revolutionized the air travel experience for the better. The reason your ears, nose, eyes, ankles and mind no longer feel as if they are under attack, is thanks to a magical transformation in cabin pressure, humidity and building materials. But despite all enhancements – one aircraft, the Airbus A350 stands above it all.

Highest Pressure

This sounds bad, but it isn’t. The higher the pressure a plane can pump, the more natural (earth like) it feels. The Airbus A350 can take a higher pressure than other aircraft in the sky, up to 6,000 feet of atmospheric pressure – making it the most natural environment for all the ligaments, parts and appendages mentioned above. Less swelling, and other pains. You’ll notice instantly.

Wide, Wide

The direct competitor of the Airbus A350 is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. While both are fantastic aircraft, the A350 exceeds the 787 in width. This allows for more spacious seats in the economy cabin, and also in first and business class cabins. More space, higher ceilings less problems.

Blinds

In the art of politics and business you may have heard of the “double blind”, where the are two layers of maneuver in play. The A350 is very similar. The A350 features a sheer curtain, which provides a lovely soft lighting to cabins – but also has a full “black out” blind capability. It’s direct competitor has nifty dimming windows, which are more fun to watch, but it’s hard to argue with these.

Humidity

People think of humidity as a bad thing – until they get onto airplanes. The reason most people get sick after air travel is due to the dryness of a cabin making their throat and nose raw, exposed to the bad stuff. The A350, thanks to it’s pressure capabilities is able to keep a higher cabin humidity, 5% better than competitors. This feels far more like something pleasant down on earth than any other airplane.

Noise

The first thing you’ll notice (after reading this) is that the Airbus A350 is whisper quiet, beaten only by the A380 in this department. Even during take off, much like it’s predecessor the A380 – you can hold standard voice conversations. No voice raising needed, these carbon planes are the ultimate for business or personal chats. Of course, if you want to hear nothing – you can just buy some great noise cancelling headphones.

Wicked Wifi

This is not an across the board fact, but in general A350’ are newer aircraft than 787’s. More A350’s have been outfitted with state of the art wifi than 787’s giving a competitive advantage to those in need of fast service. This is entirely subjective, and determined by airline (and not plane manufacturer) but with wifi, in general, the newer the better.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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11 Comments

  1. “Up to 6000 ft of pressure” is not a correct way of describing air pressure, which is not measured in ft. The cabin is pressurized such that the interior air pressure is like the air at 6000 ft elevation. Using ft of elevation is confusing because lower numbers actually mean higher pressure (e.g., the air pressure is higher at 3000 ft elevation than at 6000). Also, it isn’t that the “A350 can take higher pressure,” it’s that its cabin air pressurization systems CREATE higher cabin air pressure.

    “You’ll notice instantly.” – No you won’t. These improvements in pressure and humidity are subtle, and even the manufacturers’ marketing tout benefits that are noticeable only after hours on board. There’s a reason they’ve invested the money into making these improvements on aircraft (A350 and B787) flying long- and ultra-long-haul routes.

    “its predecessor the A380” – the A380 is not the predecessor to the A350, other than for the fact that the A380 came first, but by that definition every plane that came onto the market before the A350 is its predecessor. The two serve completely different parts of the market. The A350’s closest predecessor is the A330.

    “This is entirely subjective” – no, wifi speed isn’t subjective. It can be measured in download/upload speed and ping, and percentage of aircraft equipped is also not subjective. I don’t have the numbers and apparently you don’t either, but that doesn’t make it subjective.

    “these carbon planes” – no, not carbon, but rather carbon fiber and other composites. Big difference …

    1. We would not get along in the real world. How is it not a predecessor if one came before the other? Next time, don’t bother.

    2. Prick……..simply measured by “how much of a prick are you”……Small, Medium, Large, Mega or Massive…..you are a Massive prick haha

  2. Just a “little” dramatic but I do agree A350 is better than the 787. You will still feel very dry and jet lagged. 99% of the public world will not notice a difference. I flew SFO-SIN on the SQ 350 in J and felt just as incredibly dry as if I were on any other aircraft. Wifi has nothing to do with aircraft type…at all. Ive been on QR 350s with ridiculously slow, useless wifi. Then Ive been on an old Delta A319 with new 2KU high speed internet. It all depends on what the carrier would like to install and nothing to do with the plane.

  3. “6000 feet of pressure”- Physics fail.

    And “double blind’ has nothing to do with business or politics, but is an experimental procedure must used in drug testing.

    Please stop embarrassing yourself.

  4. Having flown the A350 quite a few times on Lufthansa with babies that would need/want to sleep in the baby bassinet, I can assure you this is the worst plane for families.
    The Lufthansa configuration is a 3-3-3 in economy which means that where in older planes it was 2-4-2 there is now less space for the bassinets (3 seat widths instead of 4). So they just reduced the size of the bassinets…
    Adding to which for some strange reason, there is only one bulkhead that can accommodate said bassinet since the wall separator has been fitted with some kind of drop down window that stops the airline from installing bassinets.
    this is actually our least favourite plane as parents.

  5. Over the past two years, i have sat on at least 14 round trip flights on Airbus 350 and 8 round trip flights on Boeing 788 on two different airlines, each (A359 – CPA, CAL, B788 – JAL, CSN) each for over 10 hours in length. Personally, I doubt the average reader would care about humidity, air altitude pressure when flying, but are concerned cost, seats, blinds, wifi and ride.
    The best plane for passengers comes down to the ticket price, from flying on business to leisure. In my experience, cheap ticket prices do not reflect the plane type as much as the airline and routing (e.g., nonstop vs connection).
    Seats – Plane width is NOT always your friend in economy/coach, B788 is 8 across while the A359 is 9 across. This gives the B788 roughly an extra INCH of seat width over the wider A359 plane. You do tend to get a better business seat on the A359 vs B788
    Blinds – JAL and CSN have automatic blinds controlled by each seat and flight attendants, and when they are controlled – you cannot change them (there is no window shades). While on a non B787 you can always raise the window shade.
    Wifi – it really depends on the bandwidth of the system as was pointed out previously AND number of users and what users are doing – streaming vs small texts or emails. Also by the way it doesn’t work over the North Pole (due to Santa’s workshop?)
    Ride – Nothing beats a smooth ride from everyones perspective – pilots don’t have to worry about those behind them, flight attendants can serve food/drink, and passengers can visit toilets. Both B788 and A359 have the ability to quickly go from take-off to 37,000 feet (FL370) and sometimes even higher. This givens them a large lattitude of altitudes to find smooth air which is unavailable to a laden B777 which starts off at 31,000 feet or lower and many other large jets. On UAL cockpit radio years ago, I have heard many pilot complaints about turbulence at <36,000 feet when we were cruising at 40,000 feet.

  6. Rode on an A350-900 with Delta, was just OK, plane was not popular with the flight attendants for its poor ergonomics. Some of the interior was poorly fitted / were poorly designed, such as lavatory door hardware fell completely out latch or would not close properly.

  7. Response to 02nz: Thank you for your rational, scientific corrections.
    Response to gstp: Thanks for your article, but, please, learn from your constructive critics rather than slamming them. I guess you wouldn’t get along with me either, but here is your opportunity to grow!

    I have been a passenger both on the Boing Dreamliner and the A350 on long haul direct flight from LAX to Asia. And I did notice a difference. My subjective experience in terms of stress on my body (air pressure, noise, vibration, cabin climate, etc) has been very positive. I would seek either of those planes, vs, for example, an older 747, in order to repeat the more comfortable flight experience.

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