For some time, Qatar Airways has been promising a refresh for its business class cabins. Qatar already offers an excellent reverse herringbone setup on its A350s, but has a subpar seat on its 777s. The airline is known for a fantastic soft-product (service, food, drinks, etc.), but it’s hard product (seat), is outdated.
I almost recently booked a round-the-world trip on Qatar in business class (on a paid ticket, at that!) when they had an unbelievable sale going on, but, ultimately, one of the considerations that held me back was a worry over the comfort I’d enjoy traveling the long way to Singapore in one of Qatar’s 777s.
Well, the wait is over, and Qatar Airways has introduced its new Business Class, called QSuite, at the ITB Berlin Travel Show.
QSuite is essentially an updated forward-facing 1-2-1 seat layout with walls and doors adding a sense of privacy. Rows alternate between forward- and rear-facing seats, as well as between seats closer the the aisle, or seats separated more from the aisle. Each seat has an impressive amount of table and storage space, and one of the coolest features is that four seats can open up to each other in one large shared suite – perfect for families.
The pictures speak for themselves.
Qatar Airways has also produced a video selling QSuite’s virtues:
Qatar Airways’ president has set an aggressive roll-out schedule for the new cabins. While QSuite will debut in the airlines newest 777-300ERs being delivered in the coming months, and added to the rest of Qatar’s fleet by next year. The seats will need to be slightly modified for Qatar’s 787 and A380, as those cabins are narrower than the 777.
There is good and bad to this refresh. QSuite is without question a significant improvement upon Qatar Airways’ current Business Class cabin on the 777, and a nominal improvement upon the current A350 cabin. QSuite definitely will offer greater privacy and a comfortable looking seat/bed. The layout is creative, and a welcome-introduction. The days of Business Class made up of chairs that happen to lie flat are numbered, as Business Class increasingly takes on some of the characteristics of First Class.
But QSuites is not revolutionary, by any means. In fact, it doesn’t really look all that different from Etihad’s Business Class, which I flew last year and loved, except for the addition of a door. And Qatar is six months behind Delta in introducing the latest Business Class cabin with closed suites. Delta’s product looks much more spacious, too. The pictures of QSuite leave me feeling a little claustrophobic, especially when looking at the middle seats next to each other.
Qatar Airways is a member of OneWorld, so an easy redemption with American Airline mies if you’re traveling to the Middle East or Indian subcontinent. I would love to check them out and give QSuite a try some time soon. In fact, if they offer another business class sale like the one in January sometime down the road, I’ll skip the miles and buy a ticket.
QSuite looks comfortable, and the cabin design looks soothing. But, like with United’s recent introduction of Polaris, the product is over-hyped. It’s not First Class, it’s still very much Business Class. And this Business Class isn’t all that different from any of the world’s other top-notch Business Class cabins.
h/t: One Mile at a Time