Airlines and Aviation
Qatar Airways will introduce semi- private suites in Business Class with adjustable panels and movable TV monitors that will allow two or four passengers to transform their space into a semi-private space.
Two passengers can create a semi-private space with a double bed. Four passengers can create a four-person suite thanks to an adjustable panel.
Called QSuite, the newly designed seats took two years to develop. They will be the airline industry’s first-ever double bed suites available in Business Class.
Some airlines have already launched private suites in First Class.
“These new features provide the ultimate customizable travel experience that enables passengers to create an environment that suits their own unique needs,” a press release issued by the airline says.
Each seat will have hand-stitched Italian leather and satin rose gold finishing.
New Business Class Menus
To complement the new seats, the airline will launch a new food and beverage concept in Business Class.
In addition to the existing dine-on-demand approach, the new Business Class menu will offer a selection of snacks that can be shared.
They will be available throughout the flight.
A wake-up Express Breakfast will also be available for passengers wanting to sleep a little longer by making the most of the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option available on the door of their private QSuite.
“On Qatar Airways, you choose when you dine, and the menu options are varied, with something for everyone,” says Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.
“You choose when you rest, and when you want entertainment. We offer more choices than any other airline.
The first plane to feature the new seats will be a newly delivered Boeing 777-300ER, which will be deployed on the London – Doha route, with a possible launch in June 2017.
Retrofitting Existing Aircraft
The airline will start retrofitting its existing fleet with the new Business Class suites the same month. All Boeing 777s and Airbus 350s will be retrofitted with the new seats.
Boeing 787 Dreamliners will get a modified version since their cabins are not as wide.
An estimated one airplane a month will undergo the treatment. The entire fleet should have been retrofitted by 2018, the Group Chief Executive says.
“With these innovations, Qatar Airways has revolutionized the way we serve our Business Class travelers enabling our passengers to enjoy a First Class experience in Business Class,” the Group Chief Executive says.
“This is truly Business Class as never seen before and is entirely in keeping with our Premium product and service philosophy. It only makes sense to give you the choice to make your own cabin-within-a-cabin, creating double QSuites or quadrants.”
The number of Business Class seats in the Boeing 777-300ER will remain at 42, with no reduction in the amount of space allotted to the economy class cabin.
With the introduction of movable panels, will that result in a reduction in the size of Business Class seats?
The new suites are described as “semi-private”, which means that panels will not go all the way to the ceiling.
That will not only prevent making the suites feel claustrophobic, which was one of the concerns when the seats were under development.
It will also lessen the chance of (or the opportunity for) in-flight hanky-panky.
But that does raise an important concern in my mind.
If you allow four people – whether they be colleagues, friends, or family – to sit facing each other …
You surround them with walls …
And you encourage a “party like atmosphere” with the introduction of snacks designed to be shared …
What about noise?
Wouldn’t you be creating an environment conducive to loud conversation?
People tend to speak in a lower voice when sitting next to each other, but what about when the are facing one another?
The fact that there would likely be more space between between passengers facing one another than sitting next to each other could further exacerbate the problem.
Skytrax World Airline Awards
Qatar Airways has long been considered one of the world's best airlines for Business Class. So how does Qatar Airways current Business Class seating stack up against the competition?
According to the Skytrax World Airlines Awards 2016, Qatar Airways got the best over all score for Business Class, but the airline came in second place after Singapore Airlines for its Business Class seats.
Qatar also came in first for business class lounges, second for business class catering and business class lounge dining.
Turkish Airlines came in first place for Business Class catering and Business Class Lounge dining.
Eva Air of Taiwan, Hainan Airlines of China, and Qantas Airlines of Australia all topped Qatar Airways for in-flight amenities.
Will the new QSuite seats have an impact on the 2017 ratings for seats in Business Class? Only time will tell.
Qatar Airways 101
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, Qatar Airways is the national carrier of Qatar. It maintains a hub in Doha, where its Business Class and First Class lounges have received rave reviews.
The airline serves more than 150 business and leisure travel destinations on six continents with a fleet of 194 aircraft.
Many passengers change planes at Doha, one of the world's busiest airline hubs.
The airline’s fleet includes 101 Airbus and 73 Boeing aircraft, including 39 Airbus A320s and 30 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.
The airline added 12 new travel destinations in 2014, eight new travel destinations in 2015, and 14 new travel destinations in 2016.
Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Dublin, Ireland; Las Vegas, Nevada; Nice, France; and Skopje, Macedonia are among the 15 new travel destinations that will be added to the airline’s rapidly expanding route network this year.
The airline recently upgraded service on the Hong Kong – Doha route.