On March 8, at the ITB travel exhibition in Germany, Qatar Airways announced its new Q Suite business class product. I wrote about the new changes and came away thoroughly impressed with the photos and features described in reports, and I even stated that this was a “game changing” product. After reading more into the product, though, there’s one feature that I’m not sure I’m sold on yet: the “double bed”
The Q Suite “double bed”
The more I look at photos of the “double bed” in the Q Suite, the less I think of it as a double bed.
Take a look at my photo from my Singapore Suites experience, the first true double bed that rolled out almost ten years ago. It’s long, wide, and there’s room on either side of the bed and the cabin doors. That, my friend, is a true double bed.
Now take a look at China Eastern’s first class double bed, the only other major commercial airline besides Singapore Airlines offering such a feature. Again, there’s no restricted space on the bed, besides the negligible indentions in the middle where the partition would otherwise come out.
Finally, let’s take a look at the bed found on the Etihad Apartment.
While not a true double bed because of the partition, it’s still nearly there. The major feature that I’d like to point out is that once again, your lower body is not restricted. Yes, there’s a giant partition in the middle but there’s no cubby for footwell that restricts your leg movement. To me, that makes a world of a difference since it’s much easier to get comfortable like you would in a normal bed because you can rest in just about any natural position (unless you’re one of those diagonal sleepers).
Now take a look at the Qatar Q Suite’s “double bed.”
It looks like a much tighter fit and what worries me the most is the potential for restricted legroom in a cubby. I think this could make it much more difficult to find a comfortable position on this so-called double bed.
I know that it’s not fair to compare a business class cabin to a first class cabin, but I’m not trying to make the comparison to show one is more superior than the other. I’m just trying to show that the “double bed” feature in Singapore Suites and others works and is special because of the space you’re afforded, which lends itself to a truer “I’m sleeping on an actual double bed on a plane” feeling.
I don’t suspect that will be the case on the Q Suites.
Instead, I think the experience is going to be like a condensed version of the Etihad Apartment bed only with restricted space for your legs. For the Q Suites, the partition looks like it doesn’t intrude as much as it does on Etihad’s Apartment, but I still wonder about how the restricted lower leg room will affect the “double bed experience.”
The space issue especially worries me because Qatar has not reduced the number of business class seats in this new cabin that will be installed on the new 777s and eventually A350s. This makes me wonder how spacious these suites can truly be. Suites work wonderfully in first class because there’s plenty of room to allow them to work, and at a certain point, I think suites can become confining if they aren’t spacious enough.
I don’t think that will necessarily be the case with the Qatar Q Suites, but for purposes of the “double bed,” I am skeptical about the comfort that some will experience.
This may just be my personal preference, though.
I’m already not a fan of middle section business class seats that are all-but conjoined. I flew on these so-called “honeymoon” seats (reviewed in full here) from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi and it was a huge mistake!
Brad and I both agreed the seats were way too confining and the picture below shows how easy it is to rub elbows in such seats. It’s similar to economy, actually. (I am leaning in a bit in the photo but it it’s not far off from how it felt the entire ride.)
And while it looks like the Q Suites middle section seats will have a little more space between them, it still could be a tighter fit than desired (especially for two grown men like me and Brad).
So now when I think about sleeping in the “double bed” on the Qatar Q Suite, I honestly don’t know that I would enjoy it. I think that it would be a very different sleeping experience from a true “double bed” due to space restrictions of the footwell, and I also think that Brad and I would be too close to each other (snuggling in a tight space for 6 hours straight doesn’t appeal to us). For smaller folks, this probably won’t be an issue but for us, I have my doubts.
Now, I could be completely wrong about all of this and will only be able to tell when I see the product in person, but for that reason I think I would go with the window suites if flying these on a long-haul flight for the first time.
I still love the Q Suites
With all of the previous said, I still feel like these seats are game-changers.
For one, I like the fact that Qatar introduced a patented design and innovative seating arrangement. This product feels new and feels like they really did spend their three years of development getting creative. That in and of itself is refreshing and nice to see because that’s what makes cabins like the Etihad Apartment special: they’re different. I think that the trend of reimagining designs and layouts will be what separates products in premium cabins from each other in the future.
However, I think that if and when I fly this new cabin, I’ll definitely be sticking to one the window suites.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.