Vistara has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo - and there’s a treat waiting for those flying up front.
New jet touches down in New Delhi
Earmarked for international operations, Vistara’s first A321neo aircraft arrived in the Indian capital on Friday morning from the Airbus production facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Vistara’s A321neo features a three-class layout, with 12 seats in business class, 24 in premium economy and 152 in economy. The aircraft is the first of six A321neo for the airline and is part of an order for 50 A320neo family aircraft signed in 2018.
Though there’s no word yet on the routes that will be served by the new jet, it will be used for routes of up to seven hours flying duration, which gives Vistara options to serve cities like Moscow and Hong Kong.
Welcoming his new aircraft, Leslie Thng, chief executive officer of the Singapore Airlines-Tata joint venture airline, said:
“This new addition to our fleet reinforces our long-term commitment to international expansion plans, despite the challenges of the current times. The new cabin products on our A321neo aircraft truly complement our promise of providing a premium and world-class flying experience to travellers from and to India.”
Let’s take a look around the new plane…
With its new fleet addition, Vistara becomes the first airline in South Asia to offer fully-flat beds on a narrow-body aircraft.
The 12 Collins Aerospace Diamond seats, set over three rows in a 2-2 configuration, are upholstered in premium leather. The seat pitch is 63”, while the bed is just over 20” wide and up to 84” long.
Business passengers will find a 16” HD touchscreen at their seat, as well as a video handset to navigate the IFE system and generous storage space.
There’s also a four-way headrest, cocktail table, reading light and coat hook, plus a USB port and 3-pin charging point in every seat. A control unit allows customers to adjust the seat functions.
Note that window passengers will have to step over their seat-mate to reach the aisle, though this still looks a good ride for relatively short flights.
According to Vistara, the seats in premium economy (and economy) are upholstered in “high quality, breathable fabric that provide an airy, modern in-flight experience”.
In premium, there are 24 extra-legroom seats in a 3-3 configuration, with a pitch of 33” and a recline angle of 4.5”.
The seat-back entertainment monitor is 10” and, as in business, a USB port and 3-pin charging point is available at every seat. A four-way headrest offers neck support.
You can read a review of Vistara's existing premium economy product here.
Things don’t look too bad in economy, where there are 152 seats in a 3-3 configuration, though there’s a tighter 28”-29” seat pitch and a recline angle of 3”.
As in premium, the seat-back entertainment monitor is 10” and while there’s a USB port at every seat, there are only two 3-pin power outlets for every three seats. Economy seats also have a four-way headrest.
What other features are available?
All passengers will have access to a state-of-the-art, in-flight entertainment system offering up to 700 hours of content, a superior map experience with 3D flight path map and a flight tracker.
The onboard multimedia library boasts nearly 150 movies, including Hollywood, Bollywood and Indian regional releases, as well as close to 500 short programmes and hundreds of audio compilations. Languages available on the system include English, Hindi, Simplified Chinese and Japanese.
The aircraft is also equipped with wireless connectivity, allowing customers to access the internet through onboard Wi-Fi and 3G mobile data (subject to regulatory approval).
Vistara says in-built air filtration systems “ensure elimination of viruses and bacteria to refresh the cabin air every 2-3 minutes”.
What other business class products does Vistara offer?
The only minor downside is that the A321neo introduces Vistara’s third business class product - which is quite a lot for a small airline, considering an inconsistent experience has the potential to be confusing for passengers.
In March 2020, the airline inducted its first wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, for long-haul international operations (though they have yet to be launched). The Dreamliner offers fully-flat Stelia Aerospace Symphony seats in business (the same product on Singapore Airlines’ regional jets) in a 1-2-1 configuration:
Meanwhile, Vistara’s Airbus A320 and Boeing B737-800NG aircraft, used for short-haul routes, feature a more traditional recliner seat, which we reviewed here.
Vistara is once again leading the way, becoming the first airline in South Asia to offer fully-flat beds on a narrow-body aircraft.
While the A321neo introduces a third business class product, this looks a very comfortable way to fly medium-haul routes and Vistara is now in a good position to expand its international footprint (assuming coronavirus gives the world a break at some point).
Are you excited to fly Vistara’s brand-new Airbus A321neo? Where would you like to see this plane fly to?