Qatar’s Qsuite has been a passenger favorite since its introduction in 2017. But with the future of the fleet reliant not only on the A350 but also on the 787, the airline has a problem – the 787 is not wide enough for the current Qsuite product. Speaking to Simple Flying, Group CEO Akbar Al Baker kept tight-lipped on the specifics of the seat, but noted that it would, hopefully, be good enough to avoid the need for any first class in the future.
The business class that trumps some first class products
The Qatar Airways Qsuite is widely considered to be one of the best cabin products in the sky. Not only is it wider, more private and more comfortable than most business class seats, but it also has the added flexibility of turning into a double bed, or converting into a private suite for four travelers to be together.
Introduced on the A350 in 2017, the key to the Qsuite’s luxurious amount of space is the extra-wide body of the A350. Making full use of the 5.6 meter (18.3 ft) cabin width, the Qsuite elevated the business class to such an extent that Qatar saw no reason to install a first class.
Speaking exclusively to Simple Flying at our recent webinar, Group CEO Akbar Al Baker noted that there was no plan to revive first class on the airline. He believes that the Qsuite strikes the perfect middle ground between luxury and affordability, commenting,
“We will only put products in our aeroplane that we know our passengers will use, can afford, and will travel in absolute luxury. And I don’t think that is any first class that is close to luxury to what we provide in the Qsuite.”
However, the Qsuite has a problem, and it’s to do with the future of Qatar’s long-haul fleet.
Too wide for the Dreamliner
The existing Qsuite is simply too wide to be installed like-for-like on the 787 Dreamliner. Its 5.49 meters (18 feet) of cabin width is just slightly too narrow to accommodate the seat. At the moment, Qatar’s Dreamliners fly with the Collins Super Diamond seat – a great product in itself, but not a Qsuite by any stretch of the imagination.
Since the airline placed its order for 30 787-9s, the Group CEO has promised an all-new, even better Qsuite onboard these aircraft. Seven have already arrived at the airline, but have been conducting cargo flights, and no seat reveal has yet taken place.
Simple Flying quizzed Akbar Al Baker on the new Qsuite, and what we could expect, to which he replied,
“Unfortunately, Joanna, I cannot tell you. You will have to wait to fly in it and then tell me what is the difference.”
While the Group CEO remains tight-lipped on the specifics of the Qsuite, there have been some breadcrumbs of information that begin to build a picture of what’s coming.
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What can we expect?
Last month, Head For Points revealed what it thought was the new Qsuite for the 787-9 Dreamliner. It placed its bets on the Adient Ascent seat – a highly customizable product that will also fly with Hawaiian Airlines on its Dreamliners.
EXCLUSIVE: new Qatar Airways 787-9 business class seat revealed https://t.co/JXO1Sx0PQC
— Head for Points (@HeadForPoints) May 6, 2021
While this remains unconfirmed for now, it’s a strong contender for the seat. Without doubt, Qatar will have to embrace the herringbone in some fashion, as there is simply not enough width for the all-forward facing seat arrangement of the A350 Qsuite.
Al Baker didn’t give much away in our interview, but he did say that he hoped the new Qsuite would be that good that he wouldn’t have to succumb to the pressure of installing any sort of first class product in the future. He noted,
“You need a product that people will be happy with, and will be comfortable and will enjoy the luxury that the product provides. Yes, there could be a possibility that only on two or three sectors from Doha that is frequented by my countrymen, that we may introduce a very small first class, but I’m still debating and trying to go to the second phase of our Qsuite in order to satisfy the requirement, and I hope I will succeed.”
What do you think we’ll see in the new Qsuite? Let us know in the comments.