The old and new of the A330

I flew back from Shanghai Pudong today on Dragonair, as the second and last leg of my package. Ultimately I received B-LAA (a 9 year old A330-300), as opposed to B-HLC (a 19 year old A330-300) on the way to, which is much older (but has been refurbished with the new Economy seats too). Contrary to my expectations the difference was pretty big.

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The cabin

The cabin on B-LAA was much airier, partly due to the refurbished overhead panels. I felt cramped on B-HLC and not B-LAA at all (maybe a middle seat vs a window seat was part of the problem, but I’m including when I went to the toilet, etc).

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Speaking of the overhead panels, I much preferred the newer ones. While it was harder to see the seat numbers (those were tucked in the little recess between the panel and the baggage compartments), they didn’t feel as “cheap”, and were easier to navigate around (take the overhead lights, which were tucked in the panel and could be turned on and off without the screen). The call button could be turned on with the screen, but also could be pressed on the newer panel, which I loved.

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(I’ve flown B-LIG and B-LAH in Premium Economy, but haven’t noticed the new panels, though they were still there.)

The toilet

Wow. We had the new toilet on the way back, which was much nicer than the old toilet.

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(Again, I had the new toilet on B-LIG and B-LAH.)

The cabin pressure

B-LAA was much more humid compared to B-HLC. I came off the former refreshed while I came off B-HLC looking forward to crashing at Hyatt on the Bund. (Again, the middle seat may have further affected my energy level.)

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Bottom line

Wow.

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