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Qatar Airways Premium Suite business class review – mini Qsuite on the Boeing 787-9?

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This is our review of the new business class seat on Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

The backstory behind this seat is a little convoluted. After introducing the award-winning Qsuite seat (review here) on the A350 and Boeing 777 fleet, Qatar Airways found itself stuck: Qsuite was too wide to fit on its other aircraft, including the 787, A330 and A380 fleets.

To tackle the problem, Qatar set about designing a modified version of that product but appropriately sized for aircraft with narrower fuselages. This seat was designed to be launched with the arrival of Qatar’s 787-9 fleet. This never came to pass and we will never know what this version of Qsuite looked like, as the seat manufacturer defaulted and left Qatar Airways in the lurch.

This left the airline in a bit of a pickle. One option was to install the same, older business class seats featured on the existing 787-8s and A380s, but this seat is now ten years old and the antithesis of Qsuite with its wide-open cabin with virtually no privacy:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787 business class

Instead, Qatar went back to the drawing board and opted for an entirely new seat from a manufacturer that could deliver at short notice, rather than the 4+ year lead-time normally afforded.

This led Qatar Airways to the Adient Ascent seat now installed on the aircraft. Designed by a subsidiary of Boeing, the seat could be designed and installed relatively quickly with only minor modifications to an existing template.

Here is a PR image:

Qatar Airways business class boeing 787-9

However, there is one further twist in the tale. Whilst Adient was able to provide the seat at short notice, Qatar Airways will be making further modifications to the existing Adient Ascent seat for later aircraft deliveries, starting with the 9th 787-9. This will leave Qatar’s 787-9 fleet with two different, albeit similar, products.

This review is of the first generation Qatar Airways Adient Ascent seat on the Boeing 787-9.

For clarity, this seat is not (yet) flying to the UK although it undoubtedly will appear soon as more aircraft arrive from Boeing. I flew from Doha to Copenhagen specifically to try it out. Qatar Airways provided my flight as part of its campaign to promote the new Qatar Privilege Club / Avios partnership.

Checking in at Doha Hamad International Airport

Like British Airways, Qatar Airways offers a premium wing for its First and Business customers, with a special drop off zone if arriving by car:

Doha Hamad International business class

It is a very classy affair:

Qatar Airways Doha airprort premium check in

…. with plenty of dedicated check-in desks which meant I didn’t have to wait:

Qatar Airways Doha business check in

I reviewed the Al Mourjan business class lounge in a separate article yesterday.

Onboard the Qatar Airways 787-9

Unfortunately, our aircraft was on a remote stand which meant we were bussed out. As it turns out, we were as remote as we could possibly be – about 10 minutes from the terminal!

Qatar Airways operates dedicated buses for business class passengers which are very smart inside with burgundy leather seating.

It did mean we got a nice engine view upon boarding, which you don’t get everyday with a widebody!

Qatar Airways 787-9 engine

Inside, the 787-9 is configured with 30 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration across a single cabin. If boarding via the second doors you are greeted with a console table and additional aisle-transfer corridor:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class cabin

Qatar Airways has installed overhead luggage bins on both the window sides and down the centre, so there is plenty of storage.

The centre seats have a fully retractable divider, as you can see here, in case you are sitting next to a stranger:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class centre pair

I was in seat 1A:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class

The fit and finish of the seat is incredibly similar to Qsuite, with a lot of the colours, textiles and patterns matching perfectly.

The seat itself is comfortable, although not quite as comfortable as Qsuite I thought:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class seat

To the right you have a wireless phone charging holder, a small storage unit and personal light:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class storage, light

The wireless phone charger is a game changer – no faffing about with cables and I was surprised how well it worked. The arm holds it in place securely so there’s no change of it flying around during turbulence and also clears up some space on the side console.

Storage options are not this seat’s strong suit, and the little storage cupboard is the only at-seat unit available. It is big enough for a bottle of water and a pair of noise cancelling headphones but nothing more:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class storage

Meanwhile the personal light offers several brightness levels that you can adjust. Separate, overhead reading lights are also available, as is one of those tiny puck-like lights.

Underneath the storage cupboard is a second screen and remote for the IFE, as well as USB and mains charging ports.

The side console is split level and finished in marble effect:

Qatar Airways 787-9 side console

The split level is quite neat, with the smaller lower end bit acting quite nicely as a place to put drinks.

The seat controls are along the edge, with just a handful of options as well as a ‘do not disturb’ sign:

Qatar Airways 787-9 seat controls

In front of you is a large in-flight entertainment screen, with some ambient lighting above and below:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class seatback

The tray table is neatly tucked underneath, flush with the screen:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class tray table portrait

It is a very clever mechanism – one of my favourite tray table designs. It comes out in ‘portrait’ mode before swivelling around into ‘landscape’ dining mode:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class tray table landscape

It is adjustable, so you can push it closer or further away from you, or keep it in portrait mode as an extra console table which I found very useful. Underneath this is the foot cubby hole. As I was in a bulkhead row mine was slightly wider than you would find in other rows. Here is my (size 10.5) foot for scale:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class foot cubby

A good size and very comfortable actually. Here is my seat in bed mode, with the two pillows and the fluffy fleece blanket Qatar Airways provides:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class bed

You’ll notice the armrest is adjustable and increases the size of the bed when fully flat. It’s great that it’s adjustable but it seems slightly wobbly when fully up.

To the right of the TV is a small magazine/safety card/menu rack:

Qatar Airways 787-9 literature pocket

This seat also comes with a fully closing door. Well, almost fully closing – there is a 1cm gap:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class door

The doors and walls of the seat are slightly lower than that of Qsuite. However, it is still enough to obscure your view of other passengers, even when you are as tall as I am.

Whilst not at your seat, crew come round and hand you a Diptyque amenity kit, this time one of the faux leather pouches rather than the gift box I received on the outbound flight.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Diptyqe amenity kit

The contents are the same however, with a pair of socks, soft eye mask, ear plugs plus Diptyque toiletries including face cream, body lotion, lip balm and eau de toilette.

Qatar Airways in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment

The in-flight entertainment screen isn’t as big as on the Qsuite – I would guess it is something like 18″ diagonally. It is loaded with Qatar’s Oryx in-flight entertainment system, which varies slightly from aircraft to aircraft but is largely the same. It was very responsive:

Qatar Airways 787-9 film selection

The entertainment selection is good, which a solid pipeline of recent releases as well as a good spread of classics including a bunch of Marvel and Harry Potter titles. After spending most of my flight asleep I decided to watch a couple of episodes of David Attenborough’s The Green Planet, which was great, although sometimes the streaming quality dipped due to the heavy-handed compression on board.

As I mentioned in my Qsuite review, we are now getting to the point that the resolution of the IFE screens are no longer the limiting factor – instead, it is the bitrate and compression that results in a substandard picture, especially in fast moving scenes. This was especially noticeable with The Green Planet, when scenes with lots of details (ie blowing leaves) became very blocky.

Qatar offers what it calls ‘Super Wi-Fi’ on some aircraft, including this one. Super Wi-Fi is high speed satellite broadband that it touts as being up to ten times faster than standard airplane Wi-Fi.

If you are a Qatar Airways Privilege Club member then you get an hour’s free access to test it out, and by my reckoning it is definitely faster and more reliable than most airline Wi-Fi offerings.

Best of all, the Wi-Fi is reasonably priced at $10 for the entire flight, with no usage caps or speed throttling. This is a steal given that BA charges up to £25 for full-flight access.

Service in Qatar Airways business class

The service pattern is the same as you would expect on any other Qatar Airways flight, starting with a drink and a hot towel. As it was 8am I went for a glass of lemon mint:

Qatar Airways 787-9 welcome drink

A second round of drinks is offered after takeoff, but my plan was to go straight to sleep for a couple of hours and then dine before landing so I declined. At this point the cabin crew also ask about your meal preferences – smartly, Qatar Airways offers a few breakfast items as light snacks whilst reserving the main meal service for a ‘proper’ meal. I was hoping this was the case as airplane breakfast is never that impressive.

Light options including a brunch platter, pulled oxtail on brioche, quiche lorrain and freshly baked croissants.

After a few hours of very restful sleep – I had some bizarre dreams so I definitely slept well! – I had lunch. This time around I opted for Qatar’s classic Arabic mezze starter:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class arabic mezze

This was followed by the trio of seafood with saffron lemon sauce, which I had actually pre-ordered via Qatar’s pre-select dining service:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class seafood trio

To finish it all off, a dulce ginger and orange cake, very delicious:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class ginger orange cake

Fortunately, unlike on my outbound flight, the airline had stocked more than two bottles of the Taittinger Prestige Rose champagne so I also enjoyed that!

Just before landing the crew come round and hand out Läderach chocolates and I also asked if I could have some Karak cardamom chai which is delicious:

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class laderach chocolate


So, what’s the verdict?

Despite being an off-the-shelf product, I’m impressed by Qatar’s Adient Ascent seat. It’s obviously no Qsuite, but it remains a really strong product. It is comfortable and well thought out, with everything where you would expect it and an excellent tray table mechanism.

It will be interesting to see where Qatar goes from here, because I’m really not sure what else you can do. At-seat storage could be increased, and the movable arm rest is a little flimsy, but I really don’t know how else Qatar could improve the seat short of reducing the cabin density to increase personal space.

Head for Points made a financial contribution to the Woodland Trust as part of this trip. The Woodland Trust creates and manages forests in the UK in accordance with the Woodland Carbon Code.

Comments (66)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nicholas Peters says:

    Regardless of the moves they are making in the sector, regardless of the quality of the product, it is simply immoral to promote anything to do with Qatar. They are a dangerous regime and the airline is 100% state owned – it’s abhorrent you doing their sales pitch for them. Stop pretending it’s lovely and cuddly and take a stand and boycott the country and the airline.

    • John T says:

      They are a major shareholder of British Airways. Assume you have boycotted them too?

      Hope you aren’t shopping at Sainsbury either. The State of Qatar are a 22% shareholder.

      • Rob says:

        Or staying in any luxury hotels – the Qatar and Bahraini states have snapped up most of the top ones. Saudi Arabia controls Four Seasons as well, so even if they don’t own the building they own the operator.

      • mvcvz says:

        I presume you never purchase or use any products manufacturered in China then?

    • JDB says:

      There’s also Harrods, plus a whole raft of hotels all over the world and 20% of Heathrow. If you also take the same approach to other regimes you don’t like, you won’t be doing a lot of travelling.

    • Rob says:

      HfP readers voted Qsuite ‘best business class’ in our 2019 awards and I suspect the majority of our readers who fly business class long haul have either flown it or intend to. If the readers hated the product we wouldn’t cover it.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Nicholas, may I direct you to the comments section on The Guardian website. You’ll find an article today about Wales qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar. Perhaps you could share your views there as I suspect many football fans might think twice about travelling having heard them.

    • Carlos says:

      There is always one who complains

    • Azza says:

      Suppose you’ll not be making comments on here any longer as you will stop using your Chinese made device that you use to access this website.

      • Callum says:

        While I completely agree that they’re ignorant for picking on Qatar Airways while tacitly “supporting” other (often more brutal) regimes and presumably other Qatari entities, I think the ridicule and mockery people always get on this site for expressing empathy for people suffering under brutal foreign regimes speaks far more about yourself than it does about them.

        7000 migrant workers dead since the granting of the world cup, some workers forced into servitude as employers can seize their passports (thankfully that’s largely forbidden now – but not fully), women are often forcibly controlled by “male guardians”, homosexuality is illegal but your overriding concern here is someone who is upset by that isn’t doing a good enough job with their boycott so shouldn’t be allowed to encourage others to join them?

        NOTE: I’m not saying that anyone should necessarily boycott Qatar Airways – I certainly don’t – but have some tact.

        • Rhys says:

          I don’t think anyone is ridiculing anyone who expresses empathy for people suffering in brutal regimes, Callum. I think we can all agree that it is terrible.

          • Callum says:

            If you think responding to that post with “there is always one who complains” and a bunch of people making snarky comments about their boycott not being good enough shows that “we all care about the people suffering over there” then I really don’t think there’s much I can say…

            There’s a world of difference between making a counter-argument (e.g. “I don’t think boycotts are effective”) and just mocking the person (you weirdly don’t think the snarky comments are mockery, I disagree).

          • Callum says:

            I’ll be accepting your retraction any day now Rhys… The expression of concern about Qatar is being a “prat”, and being against overt human rights abuses is just a “political belief”.

        • numpty says:

          Callum, well said.

        • Leo says:

          Here here Callum.

        • Alex B says:

          I think it’s perfectly reasonable to call out Qatar Airways whilst shopping at Sainsburys or other Qatari backed businesses. For a start if you believe that it’s worth boycotting in the first place to deprive the Qatari regime of revenue, then spending £9 instead of £10 is surely better?

          It’s also far easier for someone to avoid Qatar Airways (which is also a flagship – almost literally of the state) than say to avoid shopping at Sainsburys, as travel and holiday destinations is one of the biggest discretionary items out of most people’s budgets.

          But of course whataboutery around Chinese made phones is far easier, yeah that’s probably bad to? And if I was one was truly pious you’d donate all your spare cash to preventing malaria, or cancer research. But it’s about levels and if you think it makes a difference and moves the world to being a better place(no matter how minutely small), then it’s worth considering.

          The same way I’d say a professional footballer who joins Newcastle on £150k week is culpable for that decision in a completely different way from the minimum wage programme seller who has limited options.

  • John T says:

    Those ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ pillows are so tacky. I don’t know why they persist with them when the rest of the product is so sophisticated.

  • Bob says:

    The wifi is not that great and from experience no better than other airlines.

    The pillows look horrific and what you would find in B&M or The Range, not in a premium business class suite.

    However, how much longer is this Qatar advertisement going on for?

    • Rob says:

      As Qatar doesn’t fly from Copenhagen (where this flight ended) to London, you can assume this is the last bit 🙂

    • Michael C says:

      It’s better than BA’s which is usually “not working today”.

  • Judy says:

    Rob/Rhys – Please could you do an article on redeeming Avios on Qatar? I know you have a number of articles but having just one focussed on tips and tricks searching and booking would be great. An idiots guide please, or whatever the appropriate phrase is for that nowadays!

    • polly says:

      Yes, it’s understanding their cancellation policies etc when you book w avios. Having to learn it all over again. Or a new system. We booked our 1/23 trip via At least w BA we know where we stand cancelling etc.
      Yes, that would be a useful guide please.

  • MKB says:

    I wouldn’t bother with most of the films in Qatar’s entertainment system. They are hacked to pieces. The Lost Daughter was two minutes shorter than it should be and there were various deliberate drop-outs in dialogue; some key bits didn’t make sense until I read the plot synopsis elsewhere and realised what was missing. I ended up watching some old Hollywood classics just so that I could at least see a complete movie.

  • Diana says:

    This article serves to highlight just how bad BA business class has become.

    • polly says:

      True, but their new J suites are at least beginning to keep up a bit more. When those QR sales were all the go, many of us on rated QR J the closest equivalent to BA First. Probably still up there or in some cases better product.
      Really hope for QR J sale soon. Didn’t even mind the open J seats, such great leg room, and lovely open feel to the cabins. Maybe, those were the day… looking forward to our DUB HKT QR J in January February 23. Supposed to be q suites, but they often swop planes around.

    • Rob says:

      I did 12 hours in old-style Club World last night, complete with the ‘full meal on one tiny tray’ food service ….

      • Duncan Orr says:

        As good as you’d hoped and expected………

        • Rob says:

          The film selection seems to have picked up a bit, according to my kids. I had forgotten how bad Club World is, to be honest. Even forgetting the big stuff, even the little stuff stinks – eg when in bed mode you can’t access any of the storage to put your glasses in, so you need to take off your glasses, store them and then set up the bed despite not being able to see the buttons correctly! If you need to go the loo you either need to try it without glasses (could be messy ….) or crawl around under the bed trying to release the storage tray to get your glasses out.

          That said, at least we were in Club. I felt for the people in Economy, since Mauritius is an overnight 12-hour flight in both directions (the plane sits on the ground during the day).

          On landing another BA plane had gone tech on our gate and there were no spares so we were 30 minutes late at the gate despite landing 15 minutes early.

          Also … and clearly my fault … I’d packed my wife’s German passport and not her British one. This now means that you get the 3rd degree at immigration, even though she could have gone through on her own (ie not in the same group as me and the kids) and been waved through because it would be assumed she was here on business or for tourism.

          • qrfan says:

            I don’t know how you forget. If you happen to be traveling outside of NY with BA you get ample reminders of how low BA have sunk. Somehow a nutrigrain bar has made it into the breakfast offering of the cw west coast US routes. That typifies the offering.

          • Rob says:

            Haven’t done BA CW in ages. Barbados last October was Club Suite. Dubai over Christmas 2020 was SWISS and Emirates. Those are the only long-haul flights I’ve done with the family since the pandemic kicked off. We also used Star and Emirates for our Dubai October 2019 holiday. I’ve forgotten where we went in Easter 2019 but that is the earliest possible time I would have last flown Club World.

          • Andrew J says:

            Not forgetting that Club Suite is still Club World – it’s just a newer seat, but the product name is still Club World. And the food and service is still shockingly bad – if you take the seat out of the equation, Club World (new or old) is at best a premium economy product.

      • Mike says:

        Did they also roll a trolly down the aisle, asking “chicken, beef or veg”? 🙂

        • Rob says:

          They scrapped the trolley service in Club World four years ago.

          What I found funny is that, if you fly from Heathrow, you get a special Do&Co bread roll which is basically three different bread rolls fused into one. It’s quite cool, as bread rolls go. Gatwick has different caterers and they clearly can’t manage this, so they take 3 identical white bread rolls and fuse them together, which kind of defeats the point ….

      • polly says:

        And you survived!. As l said, great space and a feeling of luxury…

    • numpty says:

      I still chuckle at the chap sat next to me in Club World in a rear facing window seat, he wondered out loud why his work had booked him into a toilet cubicle and asked how much these seats cost. I had to say i was using up some points 😉

  • jshRR says:

    Have just noticed the footnote re your HfP donation to The Woodland Trust …
    I am the conservation officer for our voluntary park and local nature reserve group.We have around 90 acres that we maintain to a management plan and I have just ordered 420 free whips and saplings to be delivered for planting this November from the Woodland Trust’s Promotion … so a big big Thankyou
    … every little helps !
    Now where have I heard that before ?

    • Rhys says:

      Glad to hear it!

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      We planted 420 this spring on our airfield, with another 420 promised for the autumn.

      So maybe HfP’s trees are actually on an airfield!!

  • numpty says:

    So, is that a really big prawn in the picture? Or a deceptively small plate?

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