Qatar Airways has unveiled arguably the best new economy product in the market, at least on paper. The announcement happened at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism trade show.
While it’s far from the “revolutionary” seat that Qatar teased a year ago, it’s still seems to be a significant improvement over most economy experiences in the market.
To manage expectations, Qatar actually walked back its new seat claims in recent days. Instead, the airline focused on an overall “enhanced” economy product — far more realistic considering what was announced today.
Features Of The New Qatar Airways Economy Seat
- Semi-fixed back seat shell design
- 6″ of pre-recline for take off and landing
- 19 degrees reclining system overall with “enhanced” legroom
- Adjustable, lightweight headrest
The seat will be first seen on Qatar’s new Airbus A321neos to be delivered later this year. Here’s the marketing campaign video for Qatar Airways new economy seat, Economy Class Like Never Before:
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) March 6, 2019
And here is the graphic of Qatar’s overall economy product improvements:
- Dual multi-function tables
- 13.3″ 4K seatback screens
- USB Type-C fast charging and faster Wi-Fi
- More eco-friendly food packaging and products
- Amenity kits for economy
Qatar Airways New Economy Seat: Premium Economy Lite?
Eh, sort of. As expected, seat width doesn’t look to change. And that seat looks narrow as ever, so one can only hope there’s decent padding.
However, I’m intrigued by the recline stat and the semi-fixed shell nature of the seat. On paper, this new Qatar economy seat appears to move closer to premium economy in terms of vertical space.
At the very least, it will be similar to extra legroom products (like Delta’s Comfort+) which offer extra recline and legroom. With an amenity kit, dual tables, and a large seatback screen, this bridges the gap a bit between Qatar’s incredible QSuite and a regular old economy seat.
I’m glad that Qatar is bucking the norm by investing in an economy class product. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense. The fanfare of Qatar’s QSuite is ever-so-slightly dying down. Qatar is trying to make a new sort of splash — and slightly dampen the massive disappointment if you had to walk back a row from business to economy.
So hey, while this isn’t the revolutionary product we hoped, I’ll take what we can get from improvements in economy.
P.S. Amidst the fanfare about Qatar Airways’ new seat comes a fresh threat to leave Oneworld from CEO Akbar al Baker. He says it might happen in a month or two. We’ll see if it actually does.
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