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Old 11th January 2020, 02:59 PM   #1
yflyer
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Default SIA's Regional Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-10: What's the Difference?

On SIA's regional routes in Asia, you can now fly two of the fleet's newest aircraft types: the Airbus A350-900 (Regional config) and the Boeing 787-10.

A350-900:



787-10:



At first glance, both aircraft types are very similar in configuration: Both have two cabin classes, fitted with the latest fully-flat regional Business Class seats in 1-2-1 layout, as well as the 2017 Economy Class seat, laid out in 9-abreast 3-3-3. The Airbus A350 has 40 business class seats and 263 in economy. On the 787-10, there are 36 business and 301 economy seats.

But observant passengers will notice a few differences. For example the 787-10 has electronically dimmed window shades, whereas the A350 window shades are conventional. Although both the regional A350 and 787-10 have similar seat products in Y and J, the Boeing is fitted with the Panasonic eX3 inflight entertainment system (IFE), whereas the Airbus has the Thales Avant system.

I recently flew both these types in Economy on a trip to Manila: The A359 on SQ910 SIN-MNL, and then SQ921 MNL-SIN on the 787-10.

How did they compare? What were the differences? Let's find out!

Last edited by yflyer; 12th January 2020 at 04:42 PM..
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Old 11th January 2020, 03:06 PM   #2
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My trip began in Changi T2 in late November.



Christmas decor was up...



Airbus A350-900 registration 9V-SHI, a 6 month old aircraft first delivered in June 2019, was operating SQ910 to Manila that morning...



Earbud headphones at the aircraft door...



As usual, I didn't bother with the SQ-supplied earbud headphones -- any regular headphones would provide much better sound quality (I always carry an airline headphone adapter just in case one is needed).

Last edited by yflyer; 12th January 2020 at 04:15 PM..
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Old 11th January 2020, 03:12 PM   #3
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The latest regional J seats, laid out 1-2-1.



Economy cabin with 2017 Y laid out in standard, spacious 9-abreast 3-3-3.



Christmas decor was already up. A very attractive design this year!



My seat on this flight was 56K...a very desirable window seat, with no seat in front of it as it was just behind the 2-seater exit row.



This was a great seat, with good window views, and very generous legroom.



Recline was good...



This seat has a fixed armrest, where the IFE screen is stowed.



The IFE screen is a large widescreen touch screen.



Overall, I would rate this as one of the most desirable Y seats on the plane.



This is a preferred seat, selectable at extra charge. However as Krisflyer Gold, I was able to select this seat at no additional charge when I selected my seat 48 hours prior to departure.

Last edited by yflyer; 12th January 2020 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 11th January 2020, 09:27 PM   #4
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Fluffy hot towels distributed prior to take-off...



Take-off on Runway 02C, with the construction of the massive new Terminal 5 complex visible on the reclaimed land out of the right side windows...



Right turn shortly after take-off before setting course for Manila...



A unique feature of the A350 is the pair of crew seats at Door 3.

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Old 11th January 2020, 09:40 PM   #5
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Krisworld on the regional A350 is based on the Thales Avant system, which is different from the Panasonic eX3 that is installed on the 787-10 and the long haul A350-900.

Both systems looked to have broadly similar capabilities and programmes. The colours and design theme across both Panasonic and Thales were similar, but there were quite noticeable differences in the menus and user-interface design.



One benefit of the Thales system is that the screen bezel had + and - volume adjustment touch points, which made it more convenient to change volume.



That said, I found the sound quality on the Thales to be slightly less dynamic than the Panasonic eX3. I'll highlight other differences at the end of this TR.



The Airshow system...





There was a great selection of movies, TV and music on Krisworld. If you signed in with your Krisflyer number, additional exclusive content (In the form of additional movies and TV programs) was also unlocked...



One of the movies onboard was "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". There was an interesting display mode where you could see progress on the map while watching the movie...



Picture quality was great...



I didn't watch the whole movie, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a PAN AM 747 as part of the opening credits...





Did PAN AM really configure their 747 upper decks like this?

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Old 11th January 2020, 09:46 PM   #6
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Bathrooms on the A350 were fitted with light coloured tops and dark faux wood surfaces.



Flushes were very quiet.
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Old 11th January 2020, 09:48 PM   #7
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Cabin ambience on the A350 was great. This felt spacious, at 9-abreast 3-3-3. I thought the cabin was very quiet as well.

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Old 11th January 2020, 09:50 PM   #8
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Breakfast was served on this flight...



No menus were handed out. Instead cabin crew asked pax for their choice of either a Western selection (I believe this was eggs) or Asian noodles...



I opted for the Asian noodle selection...



This was tasty, and quite substantial...

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Old 11th January 2020, 09:56 PM   #9
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This was quite a full flight, but the cabin had a very serene, peaceful atmosphere...



Some great views of the islands and coastline as we descended and prepared to land at MNL...



Final approach...





On the ground in Manila...



Immigration queues were not too long at 1pm in the afternoon. I was out into arrival area, all decked out with Christmas decor, fairly quickly.



Overall a great 3 hour flight from Singapore to Manila on SQ's new regional Y product on the Airbus A350-900.

Next up, my return flight SQ921 MNL-SIN on the 787-10, and a quick comparison of the two types.

To be continued!
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:10 PM   #10
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I spent my time in Manila at business meetings before returning to the airport to catch SQ921 back to Singapore.

My first stop was the Manila SilverKris Lounge...



Full coverage of the lounge from a previous visit can be found here.

The F&B in the lounge rotates between different dishes, and rather than wonton noodle soup, today's Asian soup selection was Bak Kut Teh...



This was actually very good...



A tasty herbal broth and tender, soft pork ribs. Thumbs up!

After that snack, I headed to the gate, and before long, boarding for SQ921 was called.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:22 PM   #11
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That day, SQ921 was operated by Boeing 787-10, rego 9V-SCJ, a 7 month old aircraft first delivered at the end of April 2019.



This aircraft had a large business class cabin, with the latest regional J seat (Similar to the A350-900 regional config) in staggered 1-2-1 layout.



The economy cabin was laid out 3-3-3.



Christmas decor was also up on this flight. Note as well the large windows with electronically dimmed window shades.



Seat pitch was fine, with no underseat obstructions.



Note the absence of footrests (The A350 regional didn't have footrests either).

Seat recline was good.



Overall, the Y seat on the 787-10 was very similar to the A350 regional.

The 787 fuselage is slightly narrower than the A350. Given that both types were configured 3-3-3, was the difference apparent?

Not really, both cabins felt very similar. I believe the 787 aisles were slightly narrower, and maybe the seats might be fractionally narrower as well.

Here is an initial attempt to measure the width of the 787 aisle...



Like the A350, the 787 Y seat was very comfortable.

Seat back IFE, with the Panasonic eX3 system...



The difference between the Panasonic eX3 system on the 787-10 and the Thales Avant on the A350 is that the Panasonic has no IFE or controls on the screen bezel -- everything, including volume controls, are done via the screen itself. On the Thales system, there are + and - buttons to adjust volume, as well as a Home button, not to mention light and call buttons, along the lower part of the screen bezel. On the Panasonic system, the light and call buttons are on a separate panel on the seat back, with volume adjustable via the screen GUI only.

Wifi was available on this flight...



Universal power socket...



The last 2 rows on the right side of the aircraft have a bank of 2 seaters (Rather than 3 for all other rows...)


Last edited by yflyer; 12th January 2020 at 04:17 PM..
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:24 PM   #12
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Bathrooms with mottled grey counter tops.



I found the 787 flushes to be quite loud -- louder than the A350 flush. Not a showstopper, but this could be a minor irritation to pax sitting near the toilets if pax did not close the lid when flushing, or worse still, flushed with the door open.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:27 PM   #13
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Hot towels distributed prior to take-off...



This is such a treasured feature of SQ's economy class cabin service that there is a Precious Moments figurine of a Singapore Girl with towels and tray in the Kris Shop catalog...

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Old 12th January 2020, 02:38 PM   #14
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The Krisworld user interface on the Panasonic eX3 on this aircraft was also different, and perhaps slightly more user-friendly, than the Thales system, although both were fine.



A great selection of movies and TV...



Including a full season of the series "Counterpart", a gripping series about spies and intrigue across a parallel world accessible via a portal in Berlin...



I found picture and sound quality on the Panasonic eX3 system to be superb.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:48 PM   #15
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Dinner was served on this flight.

No menus were handed out, but there was a menu card on the trolley with pictures of the main selections on offer, which cabin crew could show pax when asking them to make their choice.



In practice, in my section of the cabin, the card was left on the cart, and pax were just asked verbally what their choice was. It was only on another flight early this year where the cabin crew member actually took the card and showed it to each passenger before asking for their selection.

I opted for pasta...



This looked really good...



I believe this was catered out of Manila flight kitchens.

The starter was tasty -- with coleslaw that had enough salad dressing on it, unlike some of the ex-SIN Y salads which tend to be too dry since they didn't come with salad dressing.



The seafood pasta in cream sauce was very tasty as well...



...with a generous portion of shrimp, and good pasta texture.

No salt and pepper on the tray, but I asked for some and the helpful cabin crew member returned moments later with 2 sachets...



Dessert was an ice cream sandwich, which I quite enjoyed...



SQ seems to do a great job with outstation catering at MNL. On many recent flights, I've found that often I prefer the outstation Y catering than SQ's Y meals catered ex-SIN.

On my recent flights, BKK, MNL and DEL have stood out as destinations where the outstation catered Y meals on the return sector are very satisfying, and a cut above what you get ex-SIN.

The remainder of the flight was uneventful. I quite liked the cabin ambience on this 787-10: a very quiet and comfortable cabin.

We landed in Singapore on time -- a great flight on SQ's 787-10: an excellent hard product and good cabin service and catering.

Last edited by yflyer; 12th January 2020 at 04:19 PM..
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