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Qatar Airways launches its new 787-9 Business Class Suite

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Back in May, we had a world exclusive – the first photograph of the new business class seat that Qatar Airways was fitting on its Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Qatar Airways has now confirmed our story and provided an official photograph. The seat will fly commercially for the first time today, from Doha to Milan.

The official press release for the launch is here.

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

The history of Qsuite

Qatar’s industry-leading Qsuite was originally launched on its A350 fleet in 2017, enabled by the A350’s wide fuselage (the official Airbus designation is A350-XWB, which stands for eXtra Wide Body).

You can read our review of Qsuite on the A350 here.

Qatar Airways made full use of the A350’s 5.61m cabin width. The problem was that it had designed a business class seat that was physically too large to retro-fit on smaller aircraft types such as the Boeing 787-9 (below) which is ‘only’ 5.49m wide.

Business class on the Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9

This is how business class looks on the older Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 fleet:

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

This is the Collins Super Diamond seat, which British Airways used as the basis for its Club Suite.

Qatar Airways was originally supposed to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in 2019. Whilst the aircraft were built and ready to go, Qatar’s new business class seat was still on the drawing board. At the time, Akbar Al Baker, Qatar’s CEO, said:

“It will have Qsuite – the first time QSuite will debut on the 787, but it will be a new variant, next-generation Qsuite.”

But it isn’t Qsuite ….

One fact jumps out from the press release we received yesterday. The seat is not called Qsuite. It is referred to, multiple times, as the 787-9 Business Class Suite.

Qatar Airways wasn’t ready to fit an older seat design on its 787-9s so the aircraft sat in storage for two years.

Here is the leaked image which we published in May:

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

…. and here is the image Qatar Airways released yesterday, which admittedly is not hugely informative:

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

The first thing to note is that this new Business Class Suite is almost entirely unrelated to the original Qsuite now on Qatar’s A350s and Boeing 777s. It is also not the same seat as used on its 787-8s, A380s or older A350s.

At first glance, it looks incredibly similar to the Cirrus NG seat that Virgin also used for its A350 Upper Class Suite.

However, it is actually the Adient Ascent seat which was only certified for use in January. This makes Qatar Airways the first airline to use the Adient Ascent seat and explains the two year delay.

The Adient Ascent is a reverse herringbone seat, which means that window seats face the window and the centre pairs face the aisle.

You can see more of the similarities when you compare it to the original, unmodified design concept for the Adient Ascent:

Adient Ascent business class seat

The easiest way to spot the similarities are in the adjustable arm rest and the seat controls.

Qatar Airways seems to have kept customisation to a minimum with the Adient Ascent, which features a fully closing door as standard. The biggest changes appear to the finish of the seat, rather than any major structural changes.

The seat also has a fully retractable centre divider, which means that couples travelling together will have the option to create a more open suite, although you will still be facing away from each other at an angle.

To quote ….

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al-Baker, said:

“In-line with our commitment to offering our passengers an unparalleled travel experience, we are pleased to introduce this much-anticipated Business Class Suite on Qatar Airways’ newest wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 which will debut onto a number of key routes within our network.

“The new Business Class Suite sets yet another industry standard with a uniquely private experience for premium passengers travelling with us, which is becoming increasingly valuable during this pandemic, while showcasing Qatar Airways’ 5-star standards of excellence and Qatari hospitality that are quintessential on all of our flights.

“Our passengers deserve the best and I am confident that they will appreciate the larger Dreamliner variant for its unmatched comfort in the sky. Passengers can rest assured that its responsible impact on the environment fully aligns with our ambition to achieve the highest levels of sustainability.”

How does the 787-9 Business Class Suite compare to the original A350 Qsuite?

Let’s be honest – the new 787-9 seat is NOT Qsuite. Whilst it does have fully closing doors – a trend that Delta launched with its Delta One suite in 2016 and which Qatar followed up with the Qsuite in 2017 – the new seat is, fundamentally, an off-the-shelf seat.

This original Qsuite, on the other hand, is a fully-bespoke seat that allows for a number of innovations no other seat on the market has, including the ability to turn a pair of seats into a double bed:

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

…. or a set of four Qsuites into a shared space for a family or business partners:

Qatar Airways confirms its new 787-9 business class seat

Whilst it does look like you will be able to turn the centre pair into a double bed, it’s not entirely clear how this works, given the reverse herringbone layout of the cabin.

Where will we see the new seat?

Qatar Airways has said that the initial routes for the new Boeing 787-9 will be Athens, Barcelona, Dammam, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid and Milan. The capacity is 311 seats – 30 Business Class Suites and 281 seats in Economy Class.

Whilst Doha still remains on the UK Red List for travel, let’s hope that we can see the seat in person before too long.

You can find out more about the new seat in the official press statement here.

Comments (19)

  • WaynedP says:

    Mmmm, a prime number of economy seats.

    Probably means there’s a more desirable Y seat somewhere with more leg room or tucked away in a quieter location.

    There was a nice Y aisle seat on the A380 offset from the row in front that I bagged for my long legs when travelling with the whole family in 2017.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Looks way nicer than the Q suite which is claustrophobic and much over hyped IMHO. Probably by those who havent actually flown in it and are just joining the bandwagon.

    • Russ says:

      Completely agree. Only took one flight on them (DOH-ZUR) and have since proactively avoided them. Looking forward to trying the new product.

      • tony says:

        I ended up in the Q Suite twice – but didn’t realise until I was on the plane as the seat map was just plain odd. As a result for the first leg I was rear facing in the middle block and it was very claustrophobic. On the other leg I had a window seat and it was – IME – infinitely better.

        • Sam G says:

          The A350-1000 only has air vents in the windows which I didn’t realise. I think if I had one of these I’d have been a lot happier!

    • Sam G says:

      Agree, much prefer the open seats they have on the 787-8

    • Babyg says:

      qsuite quad + family of four is perfect… havent travelled solo, but cant you just leave the door open?

  • Polly says:

    Q suite is just fine, and cosy…been on a few. QR might be the only way we can directly fly into HKT in Nov, if we can’t get in via SIN to Bali on BA F 241. All up in the air…that’s if HKT sandbox actually works without it’s daily gov twists and turns. Will see if BA cancel our SIN flights, will extend 241. And DOH need to separate people somehow, so it comes off RED. Not too hopeful, just dreaming.
    SEA for September 241 in F tho, probably not happening now…

    • Michael C says:

      Looking at similar, Polly, but summer ’22! Will try for a SIN – 355 Club, followed by Bali-Malaysia-BKK…but I guess coming back from somewhere like HKG as no BA BKK in the summer any more?!

      • Polly says:

        Michael, we only accepted SIN, as BA stopped our lovely KUL route. They absolutely refused to transfer us onto QR. I should have kept on HUACA, they quoted the 300 mile rule etc. Anyway, SIN was an ok bet, figured we could go overland to KUL then fly down to DPS or HKT. Good luck with HKG.
        We are going to get New 241 after 1.9, so we can fly bk ow from HKG after a BCN SIN 22 day cruise end of Nov 22. Ever hopeful.

    • Paul says:

      Cathay have now zeroed out all HKG-DPS services fr August. They are not yet cancelled but this is generally the precursor to a cancellation.
      Transit via SIN unless on SQ is not permitted and unlikely to change.
      TK still have a non stop IST DPS 787 (Great flight) scheduled but unless Bali opens then this wont last.
      Given the rampant nature of the Johnson variant on these shores, I rather think the world will shortly be closed to the residents of plague island for this summer.

  • Mouse says:

    “ Whilst Doha still remains on the UK Red List for travel, let’s hope that we can see the seat in person before too long”

    Surely an opportunity for a double exclusive Rhys – first review of the new seat and first review of a quarantine hotel!

    • sayling says:

      Great idea – as long as the kettle is properly reviewed and options/comparison of post-Brexit roaming/ call costs are included.

      🤣

    • Polly says:

      DoH needs to get their act together to run a non red channel for connecting people…they have enough space to do so!

  • Richie says:

    Vantage XL seat looks good for the Qantas Dreamliner

  • CJ says:

    Didnt Qsuite debut on a 777 rather than an A350?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes it was first on a 777, not an A350. The first aircraft to have it was A7-BED.

  • Tarmohamed says:

    Don’t mind this actually as we can get the Original QSuite from LHR and then the new Suite to KHI.

  • Sam says:

    ‘This original Qsuite, on the other hand, is a fully-bespoke seat’

    The original Qsuite is indeed not a fully-bespoke seat either. It was customised from the off-the-shelve Fusio seats manufactured by Zodiac (acquired by Safran) – and designed by Sogerma (now Stelia) in around 10 years ago. It is the same seat as the Etihad Studio, it’s just not as obvious.

    Only Singapore airlines’ long haul products or Virgin’s Upper class I’d call it bespoke as they own the original design and hold their own patents. Singapore airlines has not even sold its design to any other airlines unlike Virgin selling it to Air New Zealand.

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