Qatar Airways May Introduce Staggered Economy Seating Next Month

Qatar Airways is known for its innovative and luxurious Qsuite business class. Now, it looks like Qatar Airways is looking forward to introducing a new economy seating that should be an improvement.

In March, Qatar Airways is set to reveal a new economy class at a travel trade event in Berlin. According to the spontaneous and extravagant Al Baker, the seat will be “revolutionary”.

Revolutionary takes a lot of meanings when it comes to airline seating. One could consider a cramped seating configuration to be “revolutionary” or a seat could be as revolutionary as the Qsuite themselves that shifts the entire industry towards a similar practice.

Qatar Airways will debut these seats on their A321neos that are due later in the year.

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Qatar Airways has A321neos on order that will receive new seats. Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is also introducing a new business class seat for their A321neos, although the seat is new to Qatar Airways, it might be a product already on the market like JetBlue’s Mint product.

As for economy class, a staggered seating option could come in a few forms. First off, there could be a more simple seat that is slightly staggered to increase some passenger comfort without overhauling economy class as we know it.

This Stagger Seat could make the middle seat more enjoyable. Photo: APEX

This seat is proposed by Molon Labe and intends to make the middle seat experience less dismal with a several inch offset. The idea here is to increase the amount of space a passenger has for their hips and shoulders while also giving them some armrest space.

Stagger Seat view from above. Photo: APEX

Molon Labe has indicated that the extra space with the middle seat allows up to a 17-inch in-flight entertainment display. That’s larger than some business class displays!

Of course, this configuration would be best on aircraft like the A350 or 787 that are in a 3-3-3 seating arrangement.

Another, more probable, configuration was presented by Thompson Aero and dubbed the “Cozy Suite”.

Thompson Aero released their Cozy Suite a few years ago. Photo: Skift

The idea of this seat is that it makes it easier for passengers to access the aisle without sacrificing the seating capacity for airlines.

The addition of side headrests adds some privacy to economy class seating- an almost unheard of amenity.

Seating plan for the Thompson Cosy Suite. Photo: Aviation Analyst

The seating plan shows that each passenger has, almost, direct aisle access by walking straight out of their seat. Versus current 3-3-3 configurations where a window seat passengers have to ask the middle and aisle seat passengers to stand up, or else make an awkward shuffle out to the aisle.

In addition, for flight attendants, this makes it easier for them to pass items from the aisle to window-seat passengers. It seems like the tray table would either be folded out from the side of the seat or else pulled forward from the seat in front like current configurations.


Ultimately, an improvement in economy class comfort is good as most passengers flying today are in economy class. Commonly referred to as “Cattle Class” or “Sardine Tins”, this improvement could make an experience better for passengers.

With more and more airlines starting long-haul and ultra long-haul flights, economy class passengers would be able to get some respite (and perhaps some rest) from a brutal journey crossing time zones and continents.

We’ll have to see what Qatar Airways comes up with, but we hope it is a true innovation that makes economy class more comfortable.

Would you like to fly in a staggered seating configuration? Let us know in the comments below!

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How does this make it easier to access the aisle? The pitch, and therefore the distance between someone’s knees and the s at in front of them will be the same. I can see it being a hair more comfortable, because the shoulders of the window person can protrude into the next person’s area a bit more. Aisle seat will actually be worse because you only gain the middle seat’s shoulders in your space, with no additional space.

Kevin Le

Clearly going to the restroom will be more difficult.

David M Rowell

Totally agree with the other two comments. Unless the pitch is increased, it is impossible to see how moving to the aisle will be easier, indeed, it may even be made more difficult.

Please clarify.

Bas oskam

It’s not an improvement as the space between the seat and the back of the seat in front has not increased