Podcast 033: How the A350 is setting a standard for inflight well-being


Welcome to Episode 033 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest for this episode is Cynthia Drescher, a professional travel journalist who is more than a little obsessed with transportation. She has flown on aircraft fresh from the factory, scuba dived with sharks and shipwrecks, visited all seven continents, and still it’s not enough. She’s probably the person on your flight who’s connected to the wifi to book yet another flight. And she has just joined Runway Girl Network as a contributing editor!


Travel journalist Cynthia Drescher

Cynthia has penned a piece for Condé Naste Traveler about Singapore Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900 XWB, after experiencing it for herself on a flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse to Singapore. In this episode, co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby talk to Cynthia about the #PaxEx on board, and why both passengers and crew have reason to celebrate the innovations that will affect their health and well-being.

While we talk a lot about hard product on Runway Girl Network – whether seats are comfortable or connectivity is working well – soft product like amenity kits, pajamas, “borrowed” salt & pepper shakers, and other souvenirs can prove to be important even after a flight. Cynthia reveals details about her favorite soft products, and sings the joys of their post-flight relevance.

Last but not least, the month of March is Women’s History Month, and we recently celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March. But while airlines around the world marked the occasion with all-women crewed flights, there is still much work to be done to ensure women gain parity in the ranks of management, including in the C-Suite and on airline boards. Max, Mary and Cynthia discuss the current paradigm and why change is important.


  1. Al T.

    Just a quick remark. The 787 was designed to have 8 abreast in economy. The airlines pushed 9 abreast configurations making for a cramped experience. Airbus has the option of 10 abreast for the A350 so the current spacious feeling may change. So kudos to Airbus, Boeing and airlines who optimize space for comfort, shame on the airlines who squeeze seats and reduce basic comfort.

  2. Glen Towler

    Yes looks a aircraft I must fly on one day I think airlines should stop cramming people into smaller and smaller spaces. I guess air fares do need to go up a little, but I am sure the airlines are making great profit, so it is about time they did something for passenger rather just there shareholders.

  3. Great podcast, again. Funny that the first two topics we’ve experienced in the past couple months. First the A350 at the Singapore Airshow (http://bit.ly/1niUcko) and then flying Cathay 1st and keeping our PJs. Cynthia is right they are super soft and comfy. They didn’t creep up or down during my catnap on board. Perfect pants for lounging around the apartment.

    Now the A350. I’m 6’4″ with wide shoulders. Sitting on board test aircraft #2 with only basic Airbus seating I noticed a big difference in terms of leg (knee) room and shoulder room. We’ve flown the 787 and it was a nice ride but I echo the cramped feeling. Working on getting a flight on an A350 to see the difference. Boeing and Airbus can only do so much with the designs. If the airlines reduce legroom and go with 8, 9, or 10 abreast then that’s on them.

    Keep up the good work.