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Starlux Unveils New A350 First And Business Class Cabins

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Tom Goward | 05/11/2022

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Taiwan’s luxury start-up Starlux Airlines has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A350, which features brand new First and Business Class seating, plus the launch of electro-dimmable windows on the type. The airline promises to be the benchmark in premium travel to Asia and beyond, and its latest purchase appears to deliver on that.

The passenger favourite A350 is key to Starlux’s planned entry into the US market from early 2023, and also key to levelling up against its Taiwanese rivals EVA Air and China Airlines, which both offer fantastic premium cabins.

Despite significant setbacks with their launch, which was coincidently at the start of the pandemic, the airline is powering on to expand its services within Asia and initiate the future long-haul flagship of its fleet.

Glenn Chai, CEO at Starlux Airlines said the advanced jet’s delivery was a key milestone for the group.

“The A350-900 is our first large widebody aircraft, which will allow Starlux to open markets for longer routes, and this also marks the next step for our partnership with Airbus, as there will be 17 more A350 deliveries in the future,” said Mr Chai.

Starlux plans to operate the A350 on long-haul flights linking Taipei to Los Angeles from April 2023, but before that, the type can be seen on intra-Asia routes.

Starlux Airlines A350-900

The Starlux Airbus A350

Starlux Airlines is an all-Airbus operation, with A321neo and A330neo jets already in service. While Starlux had originally purchased eight of the largest Airbus A350 variant, the group quietly downgraded their order in favour of taking on the smaller A350-900. A total of 18 Airbus A350s are due to the airline, all of which will accommodate 306 passengers in a four-class layout, as follows;

  • 4 First Class Suites
  • 26 Business Class seats
  • 36 Premium Economy Class seats
  • 240 Economy Class seats

Starlux has ambitious plans for its A350 fleet in coming years, with approval already granted to operate flights to 15 destinations throughout the United States, including San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Honolulu. While the link between Taipei and Los Angeles has been confirmed for April 2023, there are no firm plans for the remaining destinations, including A350 operations to Europe in the coming years.

Starlux A350 First Class

With the launch of its A350 aircraft, Starlux will become the only Taiwanese carrier to offer First Class seating. Popular among the airlines that operate the type, Starlux has fitted a single row of just four seats in First Class.

Starlux Airlines First Class

Of course, the cabin takes its place at the pointy end, with a beautiful new seat concept by BMW Designworks. Every individual suite comes with 60-inch tall closing doors for privacy, an enormous 32-inch 4K in-flight entertainment screen, and a personal wardrobe for your belongings.

Starlux Airlines First Class

Starlux A350 Business Class

Guests who fly on the Starlux modern widebody will also find closing privacy doors in Business Class, albeit not quite as high as found in row one. Every seat will have direct aisle access, with seats angled towards the windows.

Starlux Airlines Business Class

Inflight entertainment can be viewed on a 24-inch 4K in-flight entertainment screen, bigger than many competing Business Class products. Of course, the seat also converts to a fully-flat bed.

Starlux Airlines Business Class

Starlux A350 Premium Economy Class

The Starlux A350 comes delivered with 36 Premium Economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. This is the only aircraft in the Starlux fleet that includes a Premium Economy cabin, with A321neos and A330neos favouring short to medium-haul routes with two cabin classes.

Starlux Airlines Premium Economy

Starlux A350 Economy Class

The 240-seat Economy Class cabin is set out in a 3-3-3 layout and looks to be a competitive product. Guests can enjoy inflight entertainment on a 13.3-inch 4K Ultra-HD screen.

Starlux Airlines Economy Starlux Airlines Economy

A350 New Cabin Standard A First On Starlux

Beyond Starlux Airlines’ customised seating options, the airline is also the launch customer for two major Airbus A350 innovations. Most importantly, Starlux will be the first airline to boast Airbus’ slightly larger A350 cabin.

Specifically, the reworked cabin is 4-inches wider and 35-inches longer, and as we know, an extra four inches can make all the difference. For passengers travelling with Starlux and other full-service airlines, this is fantastic news. Of course, the added width will no doubt yield 10-abreast seating on some budget airlines.

New Airbus A350 Cabin Standard

In addition to added space, Starlux is the launch customer for Airbus’ electro-dimmable windows (EDW). Many of us are already familiar with these when flying on the Boeing 787, but the EDW is still a first for Airbus. The European aircraft manufacturer claims that its windows will transition twice as fast and become 100 times darker than the previous generation, which are fitted to Boeing 787 aircraft. Plus, they’ll block more than 99.999% of visible light as well as infrared energy from the sun.

Say what you will, but I can’t stand electro-dimmable windows. As someone who lives for the window seat, it is always irritating when the crew dim these windows when it is light outside. Additionally, it is often harder to get a nice photo from EDWs, with the gel layer creating a cool blue effect. Hopefully, the second-generation Gentex windows solve this issue.

Summing Up: My Take

Starlux has been on my radar for quite some time, and these mock-up images of its new Airbus A350 cabins only heighten my excitement. On first impression, I am very keen to put Starlux to the test, especially onboard the airline’s latest long-haul cabin product.

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Tom Goward

Chief Operating Officer & Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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