Qantas partner and oneworld member Qatar Airways has unveiled its highly-anticipated new ‘super business class’ product, dubbed ‘QSuite’ – and it looks fantastic.
Two years in the making (and after much hype, speculation and delay), the unveiling took centre stage at the opening of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel expo.
QSuite brings a private, suite-like experience to business class, with touches of luxury more commonly seen in first class.
Qatar Airways is offering the industry’s first-ever double bed available in business class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room.
Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.
The staggered 1-2-1 layout will allow the middle seats in every second row to form a ‘double bed’, while in the other rows passengers will be more separated.
The actual dimensions of the seat aren’t all that revolutionary – 21.5 inches of width and 79 inches of length when fully lie-flat – but it’s the privacy provided by the 135-cm high sliding doors, and the finishings and customisation, that make it stand out.
It look like the suites will be quite spacious, with a range of seat controls, AC power and USB ports. Other improvements include a huge 21.5 inch entertainment screen and better inflight internet connectivity (with more details about this due in the months ahead).
In addition to the new seat, Qatar Airways also announced improvements to the dining menu. The existing ‘dine on demand’ service will be complemented with a selection of snack ‘sharing dishes’ available throughout the flight.
A wake-up express breakfast will be available for those who choose to sleep a little longer by making the most of the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option available on the door of their suite.
The launch of QSuite blurs the line between business and first class even further, continuing a trend I’ve written about previously. According to Qatar Airways, the QSuite brings first-class luxury to the business cabin, making two separate classes redundant. The airline will only retain first class on its A380s.
The QSuite will be installed on new aircraft entering service, as well as being retrofitted on to the existing fleet starting from June 2017, at an estimated rate of one aircraft a month.
Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance and a Qantas partner. In Australia, it flies from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
The airline was awarded the World’s Best Business Class by Skytrax in 2016, and was recently honoured with five stars for its home and hub, Hamad International Airport.