These days, it’s rare for economy-class travelers to feel like they’re getting more instead of less, but Airbus’s new A350 XWB (“extra wide body”) promises to change that. Because it has a carbon-composite fuselage—like its main competitor, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—the plane is lighter and more fuel efficient than older planes. Perhaps more important for long-haul passengers, it offers a more comfortable ride. Some 40 airlines have ordered nearly 800 aircraft; the first few are already crossing the skies for Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines. Here’s a closer look at how people in coach will get to live a little larger.
Quieter Flight: The new Rolls-Royce Trent engines are some of the quietest operating today, creating less noise in the cabin.
Better Air: The corrosion-resistant skin of the A350 XWB allows for higher moisture levels and air pressure inside the plane, which means a less dehydrating journey. The air is also cleaner, thanks to the advanced filtering systems.
Roomier Rows: The A350 XWB’s fuselage is five inches wider than the 787’s. While it can fit 10 seats across in economy, every carrier has so far put in only nine. Plus, the interior walls are vertical rather than deeply curved, so there’s more shoulder space in the window seats.
Bigger Bins: There’s no need to scramble for bag space—Airbus says there’s enough room in the overhead compartments for every passenger to stash a standard-size carry-on.
Larger Windows: Shooting cloudstagrams has never been easier. The windows are some of the largest flying—approximately 10 percent more viewrevealing than those on a Boeing 777, though slightly smaller than those on a Dreamliner.
Sharper Entertainment: All of the carriers that have ordered planes have installed high-definition on-demand video/audio systems at every seat.