Air China received its first Airbus A350-941 (A359), which has registration number, B-1086 on August 8, 2018, which also is the day Sichuan Airlines received their first Airbus A359. After receiving their first A359, both Air China and Sichuan Airlines sent their crews and pilots to be trained with their planes in Ordos (DSN/ZBDS) and Zhuhai (ZUH/ZGSD) respectively for a few days.

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Air China’s first A359 flew its first commercial flight from Beijing Capital Airport (PEK/ZBAA) to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA/ZSSS) as flight CA1557. Since this is a special and meaningful flight for Air China. The airline began a “Press Conference” in Beijing Capital Airport before the flight. After boarding, every passenger on that flight received special gifts from Air China.

Memorial postcards from Air China. Image by Li Khan
Memorial stuffed toy of Air China. Image by Li Khan

Image by Li Kan

During the flight, crew members held a short celebration for the special flight.

In this brand new A359, we can see some significant improvements to the cabin. Let’s see the overall Economy cabin first.

Image by Li Khan
Image by Li Khan

The arrangement of the main cabin is 3-3-3, which is the same as most of widebody aircraft that Air China has. In Economy class, each seat has an 11-inch HD capacitive touch screens, unlike old resistive touch screen in some old aircraft. Every seat also has a USB port and outlets for passengers to use.

Image by Li Khan

The space between each line is 18 inches in Economy class. As you can see from the image shown above, the seat has improved a lot over the previous product.

Image by Li Khan
Image by Li Khan

The back side of the seat has become more simple and tidy. The tray table is totally different from the old style, which can’t be folded. As the image shows above, you can also notice that the safety card has also updated to the folding version. Air China has also updated its safety cards on other aircraft besides the A359.

Air China’s new A350 safety card. Image by Li Khan

In the video below, after landing in Shanghai, the airport prepared a water cannon salute to welcome the aircraft.

Video by Royal.M

Some Feedback from passengers who flew on the inaugural flight:

  • The environment inside the cabin is very quiet, even beside the engines
  • Seats have improved a lot, and they are much more comfortable and convenient, especially the adjustable back cushion
  • Restrooms are wider than before
  • Every passenger got a package of gifts which include an Air China stuffed toy, a bag of postcards which have the memorial stamp, an Airbus A350-900 memorial cap, and a memorial white T-shirt. All boarding cards are intact and all cards got memorial stamps before boarding
  • The WI-FI wasn’t as good as expected; would be improved in the future

Featured image by Wang Yichen