Qatar Airways today held a pretty highly anticipated unveiling event for their new “Super Business Class” product at ITB Berlin. This product was hyped up so much in days leading to its announcement, which according to the airline CEO would make First Class obsolete. It was originally set to be unveiled in 2016, but was delayed repeatedly, so I’m pretty excited to finally see that this product is…well, real.
The event has ended, but you can check out the Facebook Live feed here, or the different (more close-up) Periscope feed here. Qatar says that the product has been in development for the last three years. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says that the airline had been “extra intelligent” in the design of this seat, and the patented product will “change how people travel in Business Class.”
Qatar has made a video (not crowded with journalists and executives) to introduce QSuite:
You can also do a 360° tour here:
The new Business Class product is called QSuite, and will feature seats loosely in a 1-2-1 configuration. At first glance, it’s very similar to Zodiac Aerospace’s Fusio seats, which Zodiac has actually called “Super Business Class” themselves. The seats face each other, so there will be sharing of foot spaces, and approximately half the seats will be rear facing.
There also looks to be a separate seat and bed…you just can’t use them at the same time. But I imagine that once your “bed” is fully reclined, you can relax very comfortably leaning against the smaller ottoman/seat. The smaller seat will also be ideal if you’re sitting across from someone, as photos below will illustrate.
All seats have direct aisle access, as is pretty standard for new Business Class. However, each seat will also have a door that closes, something Delta introduced with the Delta ONE product to be installed the Airbus A350.
However, the seat configuration is also designed to provide great versatility. The seats do not directly face each other, but this is when the smaller ottoman-style seat next to the main one comes in handy. For example, two sets of center seats can be converted into basically a four-person room, which will likely be popular among families during meal times.
However, Qatar also imagines that you could reconfigure the seats for business meetings…
The current Qatar Airways Business Class debuted in 2012 with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and Qatar has a few other flavors of Business Class across their fleet. For example, you will experience fully flat Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration onboard the A380, A350, B787, while you will likely see pod-style seats in a 2-2-2 configuration onboard the B777.
Direct aisle access and fully flat beds are basically standard in Business Class nowadays, but fully enclosed suites are still pretty rare, so Qatar will definitely turn a few eyes with this product. I think this is truly an innovative seat, even if only in its versatility. It fits basically all kinds of travelers, including solo flyers who want some privacy, families (of four…) that want to spend some quality time onboard together, or colleagues who really need to work together on a long-haul flight…there’s something for everybody.
Qatar says that they will begin retrofitting their planes with the new product starting June 2017, at a rate of one plane per month. There’s no word yet on exactly what equipment the seats will be installed on.
What do you think of Qatar Airways’ new QSuite?