Business class is getting better all the time. Flat beds are, of course, now standard, and many airlines go further with suite-style seating and facilities such as onboard bars. In this article, we take a look at two of the best business class products – from Middle Eastern airlines Qatar Airways and Emirates.
Qatar Airways Qsuite
Qatar Airways offers one of the best business class products with its Qsuite. The Qsuite is offered on the A350-1000 and some A350-900 and 777-300 aircraft, but not the A380.
The Qsuite is a spacious suite-style product. There is a seat, which converts to a fully flat bed, and a sizeable ottoman next to it. This can be lowered for more space or raised to use as an armrest. There is a small fixed table as well as a much larger pull-out table for work or dining.
Seats alternate backward and forwards, which can take some getting used to, but doesn’t diminish the product, and allows middle seats to be combined in a unique manner. The middle seats can be joined together in groups of two or four to create private cabins, an interesting option for both families and business travelers.
Where the Qsuite really sets itself apart, for business class, is with its closing door. These are fully closable private suites, not a partial door, as seen, for example, with the British Airways Club Suite.
Emirates business class
Emirates has a new business class on the A380 and an older one on its Boeing 777 fleet. The A380 product is much better, with open suites arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat has a full-length table area next to it and plenty of storage space.
It is not as spacious as the Qsuite overall, though. Both are comparable in width, but the Qsuite offers an impressive total length/pitch of 103 inches, compared to 72 inches with Emirates (based on information from Seatguru).
There is also a great bar area on the A380. One disadvantage though is the size of the cabin. With 14 rows of business on the upper deck, it can be noisy and lack privacy.
There is a different product on the 777 fleet, however, which is unfortunately not as good. The seats are standard business class seats (not suites) arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. These have much less space than the suite-style seats, and the possibility of being stuck in a middle seat. This is due to be replaced on the new 777X but will be around for a while yet.
Emirates has a significant advantage over Qatar Airways, and most other airlines, though. It offers a complimentary chauffeur service to and from the airport in most of its destinations. This is an excellent end-to-end offering that makes business class travel feel more relaxed and efficient.
Which one is best? Qatar just gets ahead
You can’t go wrong with either Qatar Airways or Emirates business class. They both offer some of the best seats of any airline, excellent onboard service, and a bar/lounge area. Overall the excellent seat, with its extra space, privacy, and ability to combine multiple seats makes Qatar our top choice.
Remember as well that both airlines have a different business class product on other aircraft. This is better with Qatar Airways, in our opinion, so you are less likely to end up with a lower standard product for any connecting flights. This will improve when Emirates introduces the 777X, but its current 777 business class is a letdown in comparison.
On the ground, both airlines offer top-grade lounges, but Emirates may have the edge here with its included chauffeur service.
Qatar Airways also has another advantage in being in the oneworld alliance. This makes its business class more accessible to frequent flyers and is bookable as a mileage award with any of the other oneworld airlines. To book an award ticket with Emirates, you would need to be a miles collector with them.
Have you flown business class with Qatar Airways or Emirates? Let us know your thoughts and preferences in the comments.