It’s no secret that suites are what it’s all about these days when it comes to premium cabin innovation, and at the ITB Berlin travel exhibition, Qatar Airways just revealed a game-changing business class product dubbed the “Q Suite.”
The new product, which has been in development for three years, has fully enclosed suites and is expected to bring “a new level of luxury” to business class.
Like many suites coming out these days, the suites are in a 1-2-1 layout. But the design of these suites make them extra special. That’s because the middle seats in some of the suites can be converted into a double bed!
As far as I know, Singapore Suites and China Eastern are the only other commercial airlines to offer a double bed (and those are both in first class). The double bed doesn’t look like it will be quite as roomy as the one on Singapore Suites, but it’s still a pretty spectacular feature to see in business class.
Each of the inside suites will have seats facing both backward and forward, with one pair next to each other and another pair separated by a partition that doesn’t look movable. So there will be lots of different degrees of privacy for your seating, depending on how close you’d like to be to your travel companion.
It seems this was Qatar’s goal as they stated to Future Travel Experience, “What is very important for us is what we’ve designed can cater to everyone, whether it’s a family, business travellers, people going on celebrations like honeymoons and so on, or whether it’s an individual who is travelling alone with us. It has been designed all around the different types of customers we know we have travelling with us in business class.”
I think this was a key concept for Qatar and I also think they nailed it with the Q Suites.
And interestingly, you’ll be able to slide the (very large) television screen panels to the side and face the two passengers right across from you. This presents a unique opportunity where groups of four can essentially share a little private cabin together. To me, this is real innovation and the kind of thing I like to see from airlines leading the industry.
I also love that you’ll likely have room to get up out of your seat since you can place your food on your counter or push your tray away from you. I’m not a fan of being “stuck” under your tray table as dish after dish is rolled out to you and it looks like you might be able to avoid that here.
The suites themselves look perfect to me, especially for solo travelers. I absolutely love business class seats with counter space and large pockets of space to store or just set your large belongings in (like a fancy DSLR camera). Judging by the look of the suites, you’ll have plenty of nook and shelf space.
The walls to the suite will offer a lot privacy, although based on the renderings I’m not sure they’re quite as tall as Singapore Suites. And of course, the cabin will be properly lit with mood lighting.
The Q Suites will fly on the Airbus A350-1000, and they are also expected to see a “rapid rollout” on the Boeing 777 fleet. Business Traveller is reporting the first roll out to begin this June with routes on the 777 to London. Australian Business Traveller states that Qatar Airways will retain first class only on its A380. Also, this seat will not be available on the 787 (although a new product will be).
The soft product is getting upgraded, too.
Business class passengers will be give new amenity kits and pajamas with product from products from Italy’s Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.
According to Business Traveller, upgrades are also to come to the business class food and beverage experience and will involve “sharing foods,” which look like snacks and treats that can be placed on the tables between conjoined suites.
Also, the in-flight entertainment system is getting an overhaul and passengers will be able to choose from 3,000 entertainment options utilizing “Oryx One” which is said to offer a more user-friendly experience. .
Qatar Airways was already the leader in business class travel but now they’ve stepped up their game even more. I think it’s safe to say that Qatar is pulling away even further in the lead of business class now and hopefully some changes eventually make their way to the first class seats on the A380.
Check out Andy’s Travel Blog for exclusive photos of the Q Suite from ITB.
Watch the video below for more:
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.