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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.

  • Sam says:

    I’m not sure if ‘too wide’ is really the reason of abandoning QSuite…Etihad does fit the same Solstys (same base design as QSuite) model on their 787 and A380s without any issue.

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Minor point of order but it’s lime and mint not Lemon mint… but isn’t it good!

  • James Jackman says:

    I just flew on Qatar Airways last week in Business Class from CRK-DOH (clark to Doha), and then from DOH-MAN (Doha to Manchester).

    And had a wonderful experience the flight was good and the service was impeccable even though I was on the 787-8 & 777-300ER.

    I am yet to try the new Q-Suite on the 787-9 However I do believe that I am still Impressed with the business class seats/suites onbord.

    Thanks for your great review.

  • T man says:

    Flown them, spent time in Qatar etc…Sorry, a seriously flawed regime.

  • Terry1968 says:

    Really disappointed with Qatar’s response to my complaint. Arrived Ho Chi Minh with confirmed e-ticket from HCMC back to UK but their computer said i was booked from Hanoi . I was originally booked to fly from Hanoi but changed departure point to HCMC . Was told to go onto their web to click on re-Issue button, did this but constantly seeing error message . Called Qatar who told me they had sorted out the glitch . Several times before flying this re-issue ticket button re- appeared . I emailed them to make sure that there wasn’t a problem but they dodged the question. Fast forward to HCMC check in where i was told to call Doha . Did this but got cut off three times whilst being transferred to Privilege Club . Stress levels rising ! Fourth time lucky and the agent tells me all i have to do is go onto the web and click on the re-issue ticket button! Surprise , surprise that didn’t work . Agent agreed to issue ticket manually and did so just as my credit ran out . First phone call cost me GBP42 – Qatar refusing to refund phone calls or apologise for shoddy service .
    Great hard product but their customer service is abominable and their IT is absolute pants .

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

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