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“First (Class) in Business” – The amazing new Qatar Airways Qsuite

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I’m currently in Berlin for the ITB – the biggest travel show in the world.  Messe Berlin is so big it has two train stations!

One of the main attractions of this year’s show is the new Qatar Airways Business Class seat, the Qsuite.  You can learn more about it on the Qatar Airways website here.

The Qsuite has been highly anticipated as it promised to bring, as Qatar describes it, “a First Class experience to Business Class” and I must say it did deliver.

The overall display of the seat at ITB was pretty clever. In the morning it was covered with a white cloth and only at 11am the seat was revealed with ceremony.

qatar airways new business class seat musicians

But even after the cloth came off you were still not able to see much!

qatar airways new business class seat

I was invited to the press conference at noon and had to wait until afterwards to finally be allowed in the Qsuite and lay my eyes on the seat.

qatar airways new business class seat press conference

The seat

….. is actually a suite.  With a door.  There is absolutely nothing like this available in business class at the moment.

The Qsuite aims to caters for families, couples as well as individual travellers giving as much or as little privacy as desired.

If a family of four or a group is travelling together the wall between the seats can be opened and the tables create a dining area for four.

If that sounds difficult to imagine, here is a PR photo:

Qatar 4 seater

For a couple travelling together, the two beds form a proper double bed.

qatar airways new business class seat bed

Here is the glossy official look:

Qatar couple double bed

Here is a picture from the Qsuite at ITB with the snack selection you will find on board.

rsz_qatar-airways-new-business-class-seat-food

The White Company has designed pyjamas exclusively for Qatar which every passenger in the Qsuite will receive.

We were also told at the press conference that the Qsuite will have a turndown service.

qatar airways new business class seat pyjamas

The window seats are perfect for people travelling alone. You can close the door and switch on a ‘do not disturb’ button for total privacy.

This is the ‘official’ image of how the window seats will look:

Qatar aisle seat

The next photo shows the side table in an A seat.

As you can see underneath the table are several plugs including UK and USB, the remote for the entertainemnt system (Qatar has got 3,000 entertainment options) as well as the panel to arrange the seat from upright to flat.

qatar airways new business class seat individual

This is the dining table at one of the window seats. There is a lot of room for food and drinks.

The new washbag on the side table is by BRIC’S.

rsz_qatar_seat_toiletries

A quick look at the wine and food menu showed a great selection of drinks and food.

qatar airways new business class seat wine and food menu

Here are two official YouTube videos released by Qatar Airways:

and

Here is a 75 second video I shot myself of the event and the demo seat:

Where will you find this seat?

The current plan is to fit this seat to the new A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently being delivered as well as retrofitting it to Qatar’s existing Boeing 777 fleet. This will take the 777 from having the worst business seat in the Qatar Airways fleet (see Rob’s review here) to the best.

According to CEO Mr. Akbar Al Baker there are also plans to replace the existing seats on the 787 and A380 fleet but this will require a modified design to the narrower width of those aircraft. The aim for those seats is to create total privacy like in the new Qsuites.  There are also plans to reinvent Qatar’s Economy Class as Al Baker believes that there should be the “same standard of additional comfort in coach class”.

The Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft will not be refitted.

The first plane to receive the new seat, a 777, will be flying between Heathrow and Doha.  The start date was announced as June but Qatar has a track record of running late so don’t make any speculative bookings (Al Baker was blaming the delays on Airbus at the press conference…).  Paris and New York will follow and if everything goes according to plan all A350 and 777 will have the Qsuite by mid to end of 2018.

Conclusion

The Qsuite is a real reinvention of the business class seat. You can travel on your own and enjoy total privacy, you can travel as a couple and sleep in a double bed, or travel as a family and have a family dinner on the plane.

All this, and you’ll earn Avios and British Airways tier points when you fly it as well!  It will also be available for Avios redemptions of course.
Qatar has got a global patent on the design so we won’t be seeing anything identical to the Qsuite on other airlines.  Qatar has definitely upped the game, putting pressure on their Middle East rivals and leaving the British Airways Club World – and arguably First Class – seats for dust.

You can learn more about the Qsuite on the Qatar Airways website here.

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Comments (114)

  • HolgerKCH says:

    I wonder a bit that the existing 777 seats are always get such negative comments. They are so much better for a person of my size (1.90) to sleep than the fancy new 787/A350 seats, which are incredible uncomfortable. I have no chance to sleep becase of the design which does not leave enough space for the feet.
    I really, really hope that this is solved in a better way in the new seat, because otherwise I have to stay away from QR from any really long flight. DOH-MEL and DOH-AKL in the old 777 seat is very comfortable, if I would have to suffer 12+ hours in the A350/787 seats I would not fly with them

    Any infos yet how this will work out with the new seats ? BTW, dont get me wrong, I like traveling QR in business otherwise, the technical aspects and service is great, but on a long flight I need some sleep 😉

    • Alan says:

      Agreed, if done badly the foot cubbies/coffins can be atrocious (think LX). I still find I get a decent night’s sleep with BA CW, but this would be a nicer setup for a day flight.

    • Ian says:

      Absolutely agree. Give me the traditional straight 777 seats any day rather than squeezing my legs into a coffin-like hole.

      • Rob says:

        As per my review, for a couple who actually wanted to sit side by side for hours on end (not sure me and my wife fall into that category) it is a decent seat. The business traveller market doesn’t like sharing tables or armrests with strangers though.

    • Lady London says:

      +1. I don’t like the QR Dreamliner as much as the A350 and 777. But it’s a bit like saying you prefer one vintage of champagne over the other. I’m grateful for any of them

      To those who currently fly the best and stay in luxury – circumstances can change, folks.

  • James says:

    I love the look of this. Finally your guaranteed a great product across the whole fleet now (yes I actually don’t mind the retro fitted A330’s… although I probably wouldn’t if I was a few stone heavier.)

    The only gripes I have is
    1. If there’s a group of 3 people who are in the middle seats and your the forth flying solo in that suite, might be a bit iffy for the 7+ hours wherever you may be heading.

    2. If your sitting next to a stranger in the middle rows, that double bed is going to be very cozy/awkward.

    • Ian says:

      Wholly agree; if Anika chose to reflect carefully, and put herself in both of these scenarios, I suspect the ‘review’ would be somewhat less gushing.

      Indeed I seem to recall Anika feeling uncomfortable in much less worse circumstances in a recent article.

      • James says:

        I don’t think Anika can be blamed or criticised for a review for what she thought was a great product. If I was there reviewing it I can pretty much guarantee I’d be just as excited about it and would probably give very positive reviews too. Despite the holes we can pick in the idea.

        People are saying things like ‘well it’s just a door’ – I’ve always loved the door concept, having your own little private suite etc.
        After all, it’s just a chair/tv/bed/dinner.
        These things are everyday things on the ground but in the air, it’s a different story.

        • Rob says:

          There is, I believe, a partition between the middle seats, as BA has, if they are not being used by a couple.

        • Rob says:

          I think Qatar will have strict rules about how this works and will not allow the partitions to be opened up if a solo traveller is with a group of 3, in the same way a hotel doesn’t open the connecting door in your room if your family isn’t on the other side! We have to assume they have thought about all this – they are only scrapping the 777 seats because business travellers don’t want to sit next to a stranger so they are hardly going to force a stranger to sit with a couple and their little kid for 8 hours.

        • Nigel says:

          What a lot of whiny babies in this comment thread today. This is relayed news from a trade show, not a gritty trip report. Good article – thank you.

    • flyforfun says:

      Just shows where the Sun’s and it’s readers minds usually are!

  • John says:

    The new seat / suite certainly looks nice but it won’t affect my decisions about which airline to fly in any way. I guess I’m not really their target market since the only reason I have ever been enticed to fly QR is their incredibly cheap J sale fares.

    I can see how it might attract people flying from London to the Middle East or perhaps India to fly QR via DOH, but for me, until QR gets the rights to fly direct from London to East Asia, it’s not really competing with BA or Asian airlines.

    The thing is, their current seats are already good enough for me. The Qsuite may be a big step up from their present offering, but it won’t encourage me to add 5 hours to my travel time plus get up in the middle of the night at DOH any more than they already encourage me to do so with their low J fares.

    As for Australia (and NZ – where I did secure ARN-AKL on QR for £1300 recently), I am pretty happy with J class on any of JL/OZ/CX/MH/SQ/TG/QF and I would always just choose the cheapest out of those while also considering whether I have any status-chasing requirements. Though notably I won’t fly BA to Australia regardless of how cheap they are. If QR has a good sale, then I’ll fly them, otherwise I won’t. So WW and Cruz are right, I only care about low fares, but perhaps not in the way that they think…

  • Sam says:

    Looks really good. I’m booked into BA CW in June on a 241 and I’m looking at the 8 across seat plan thinking about how much more it really costs to fly Qatar for Asia trips. Even without the 241…

  • Rob says:

    We’ve put together a video of the launch and the mock-up seat if you’re interested:

    https://youtu.be/U3w65VWVp-Y

    Only 75 seconds, none of those 25 minute long flight review videos for us 🙂

    • the real harry1 says:

      nice one, should be in the main article (perhaps it is already! 🙂 )

  • Radiata says:

    Thank you Anika.

    A welcome review. Ignore the hecklers. Certainly appears an innovative use of space.

    The existing 777 cabin is one I prefer to the 787 offering so am pleased that the 787 will be retrofitted as well but this appears a step change improvement on both. Since the A380 not narrower than a 777
    however perhaps this refers to the (relative) density of seating being slightly higher therein?

    It appears the paucity of F seats in the QR fleet encourages a focus on raising the quality of J. Long may it continue.

    • Ro says:

      It’s kinda smart as well that they keep just a few F seats.
      They don’t need to focus on innovating it much but if they got rid of it they basically can’t market their business as “good as first on other airlines”…. it their first was removed then their business class is essentially their first class, even if they kept the name as business. And then we would compare it to sq/ey first rather than other business products

  • Amtexfly says:

    Do you think the panels between the middle 4 seats will be customisable? For instance could a person on one of the ‘outside’ middle seats keep their side and back partitions raised to maintain privacy.

    There is something ironic about people going crazy over how great this is for families, CW is pretty good in that department…