I’ve recently reviewed both the A350 and A380 in first class on Malaysia Airlines. Which product is better?
My answer: it depends upon what you are looking for in first class. I’ll compare and contrast both aircraft in six categories:
- Cabin Size
- IFE + Wi-Fi
The A350 seat features a glorified business class with closing doors. It is narrower than the A380: the same seat seen on carriers like Korean Air and Oman Air in business class. Even so, it seemed softer to me, and I slept very well.
That said, the A380 simply felt more spacious and it was nice to have the few extra inches of width in the lie-flat mode.
The A380 first class cabin features open suites with limited privacy. You still must consciously turn to see your neighbors, but the seat does not afford total privacy.
On the other hand, the A350 doors can be closed, enclosing every suite.
On both the A380 and A350, privacy dividers can be raised in the center section.
The A380 has eight seats in first class arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. The A350 has a single-row of four seats in first class arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. I prefer the more intimate cabin size on the A350.
IFE + Wi-Fi
Both aircraft have a comprehensive library of movies, TV shows, games, and audio. The interface on the A350 is newer and easier to use than the A380. The A350 also has wi-fi available for purchase.
While the A380 does not have the huge lavatory that some carriers like Lufthansa and Emirates offer to first class passengers aboard the A380, it large enough to change clothes in without feeling cramped. The lavatory on the A350 is virtually identical, though it was missing flowers.
Both the A380 and A350 are very quiet aircraft. Since Malaysian chose to place the first class cabin downstairs, there is more noise than would be present on the upper deck. Even so, I’d give the A380 a slight edge. But ever so slight…noise is not a problem on either aircraft.
I find it very difficult to say one product is better than the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages compared to the other. The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with either option.