Qatar Airways is considered the No. 1 airline in the world with the No. 1 business class cabin in the world. Onboard comfort, seat design, amenities and service lend to an almost perfect experience, and the airline’s new Qsuite takes the business-class experience to a cushier level.
I’ve flown Qatar Airways’ business-class cabin many times, and I finally had a chance to try Qatar Airways’ new Qsuite aboard the 777-300ER on my trip to India last week. In fact, I flew the Qsuite three times (JFK to Doha, Mumbai to Doha, Doha to JFK) in one week. The Qsuite debuted in 2017 and has been unrolling on dozens of Qatar Airways routes, so it’s destined to be the standard.
Qatar doesn’t mess around. The airline strives to be the best in the business, and you can bet it takes its awards and accolades seriously. Qatar Airways won’t make any sacrifices or cutbacks to allow other airlines to outrank them, and the Qsuite is, in a sense, their trophy.
Having flown Qatar’s other business class cabins, I can personally vouch for the Qsuite. The Qsuite truly sets the bar high, and it nearly exceeds passenger expectations. I’ve flown dozens of top business-class cabins from award-winning airlines, and the Qsuite will impress any first-time, business-class passenger. Frequent business-class passengers who have a nose for luxury will likely have minor gripes but overall no serious complaints.
Is the Qsuite Qatar’s best business-class cabin? That’s subjective (and I am a sucker for the A350), but it’s definitely not it’s worst (and, remember, all their cabins are considered among the best in the industry). Is the Qsuite perfect?
Almost. In fact, it’s nearly perfect.
For my review, I focus mostly on flaws because Qsuite is a great business class cabin. There’s not much to pick over. I should also note: there is no business class cabin that is perfect. Qsuite seats are pretty close.
Here’s my review of Qatar Airways “Qsuite”, including all the ways it stands out from its competition—and some flaws Qatar will eventually have to address.
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QATAR AIRWAYS QSUITE BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW
At New York – JFK International Airport, there’s a dedicated check-in for business-class passengers. This is obviously a standard for all airlines, but the check-in went super fast in every airport I visited (including Mumbai). Qsuite passengers also have a priority boarding lane at the gate.However, at JFK Int. Airport, once passengers hand over their boarding pass and are cleared to board, business-class passengers do not have their own separate entrance to the plane. It’s sort of strange, considering business class passengers flying international airlines generally have their own entryway to the business-class cabin (separate from economy), but here, you’re shuffled into one line with economy passengers.
The Qsuite has 42 seats separated into 2 cabins, and all seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning there is a seat by the window and two in the aisle in a “row.” Every seat has direct aisle access, a huge perk that most top airlines are now doing in business class. This way, no one has to crawl over a passenger in the window seats to use the bathroom.Here’s a view of the business class compared to economy class (there is no premium economy on Qatar Airways 777-300ER). Notice how huge the Qsuite seat is versus economy seats . It’s basically equivalent to two seats in one pod.
Also, you’ll notice that Qatar incorporated rear-facing seats, meaning that many seats in the cabin are reversed and face the back of the plane. This design technique is to allow for more seats in the cabin. I was curious, so I booked the rear-facing seat on my flight to Doha.While I booked the window seat, here’s a photo of the middle seats. They are ideal for couples traveling together and still have a sliding partition to separate you.
Honestly, you do not want to book the middle seat if you don’t want to sit next to a stranger, whether there’s a sliding door or not. Do you see how close the seats are next to each other? Sure, the door goes up once the flight is at cruising altitude, but it could be uncomfortable until then. Also, I’m going to discuss this below, but it’s not so private.
I settled into my rear-facing seat, which comes with an amenity kit, blanket and pillow. For this flight, the pillow had the phrase: “Today is a good day.” (If you’re flying business class to India, I would hope so!). This is just one of several different phrases featured on a pillow.
During the boarding process, the flight attendant comes around with a pair of pajamas for you to use during the flight. Qatar worked in partnership with The White Company, and these pajamas are free for you to take home. The service, btw, was exceptional.
The Qsuite pajamas on Qatar Airways is a grey long-sleeve shirt, jogging pants and slippers. One thing I noticed is that the quality of these pajamas were seriously downgraded from my other business class experiences aboard Qatar.
The other pajamas in the past were of better quality cotton; these pajamas were extremely cheap. In terms of quality, Qatar went from Banana Republic to Old Navy basically, but it was still a nice touch, even though I already pack my own PJs on any international flight.
When you see the Qsuite and settle in, you sort of think it’s going to be small for business class. It’s the same way I feel when I ride Cathay Pacific’s business-class cabin. The pod seat just appears tiny, and for some tall dudes, maybe it is (I’m 5′ 8″ so that’s not an issue for me). However, the Qsuite seat was simply…. adequate.
You definitely don’t get a lot of space compared to Qatar’s other business class cabins, which have roomier seats, IMO, perhaps because there’s no wall blocking you in, adding to the illusion. But it’s still cozy. Those who know me know I’m a sucker for iced tea, so it was so nice that the flight attendant took my request and made me an iced tea before take-off.
Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class seat’s sliding door offers privacy. You’re essentially inside your own little vessel once the door closes (once you’re at cruising altitude), so you can’t see the other passengers like below.
Before I go into my rear-facing seat, here’s a shot of the forward-facing seat. This gives you a better perspective on how the seat is “adequate” and not huge. Also, notice the table. It’s a little bigger than the one in the rear-facing seat due to the layout of the seats.
Here’s a photo of me in my rear-facing seat (10K). The rear-facing seat is right against the window. Notice how things on my table are cramped together (the table is smaller, as I mentioned). The allure of the rear-facing seat is that the physical seat is right next to the window, thus it’s “quieter” being away from the aisle. After sitting in both rear-facing seat and forward-facing seat on another flight, I can assure you, you don’t hear anything in the aisle in either seat. That’s not an issue.
The problem is that, with rear-facing seats, you’ll hear *everything* with the passenger behind you because the seats are so close and your head is right up against the other passenger’s head, rather than both of you facing forward (unless you choose the very last seat in the cabin). I woke up mid-flight because the passenger behind me was snoring. I later woke up again because his phone alarm went off. It was a nightmare. So if you’re sensitive to noise, pick a seat where you’re not sitting directly behind a passenger. If you do, use the earplugs when you get them and hope that your seat mate is quiet! Or just watch entertainment the entire time if you can.
Qatar provides a 22-inch TV screen for every seat. I love that it’s touchscreen, so you don’t have to fumble around with those remote control things (even though you can use it too since it’s provided). One of my minor gripes about the entertainment: While the screen is big, the content they provide is low resolution.
So, what this means is that the quality is not great if you’re watching an action film, like Godzilla or whatever. If there are scenes where things are fast moving, the quality will be blurred and not great. I’m surprised Qatar allowed this, since they want everything to be perfect.
Another issue I had with the entertainment is that Qatar edits literally everything, so you won’t get the same viewing experience at home. It’s best to watch media on your own laptop if that’s a concern for you. A good example is It Chapter 2, which I tried to watch. I had to stop about 30-minutes through because they edited out all the good stuff, even dubbed curse words.
Also, see this disclaimer below? This came on before Modern Family. Modern Family, people. I would assume it’s because there is a gay couple in the show, and Qatar is not a fan. Anyway, I wrote an in-depth story on why you shouldn’t watch in-flight movies and just use your own device.
One thing that was great about the Qsuite is that Qatar provides many options for electronic device set up, almost to excess. There’s a USB plug, an HDMI outlet (why?? who needs this?), a separate USB for cell phones, a universal power outlet and, the most random of all, an NFC source so you can watch stuff from your phone on the big screen.
Here’s the amenity kit Qatar Airways provides in Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class. The bag is in partnership with Bric’s, and the product line is Italian brand Castello Monte Vibiano. The product line is pretty expensive if you buy the full bottles, but the ingredients are slightly altered for the little ones in the bag, so it’s not the same quality.
Shot of me in the bathroom. It’s decently sized. I loved that every time someone used the bathroom before me, the flight attendant would quickly go in there to clean up after they left. It didn’t happen all the time, but it reflected their service and was appreciated.
Every seat has a secret compartment for storage. It has the in-flight headphones and a bottle of water in there. There really wasn’t a dedicated place for shoes, but you can wedge them in the space next to the compartment.
DINING Aboard Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class
Here’s a sample menu. Qatar Airways offers a “dine anytime” concept, but honestly, I can’t imagine people not eating right after take-off. Also, while it’s a nice concept, from previous experiences, you can pretty much dine anytime with any other airline if you’re going to sleep. You just ask them to hold your food. It was interesting Qatar didn’t work with any star chefs to consult with the food, though the dishes looked appetizing and were hearty.
Here’s my breakfast. Every meal comes with this electronic candle. I’ve mentioned before that there is no meal in the world that is fantastic on a flight, but this was nice. The bread however, on all three flights I took, was incredibly old (at least a day), hard and inedible. I love butter, so it was sad I had nothing to eat my butter with!
Sleep Aboard Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class – Was it comfortable?
When the lights dim, the colorful mood lights go on. Everyone is tucked away in their little pods.
You also get a “mattress.” It’s not great. In fact, it barely made a difference. It’s like a sheet of paper. This may be my biggest gripe. The comfort level for sleeping in Qatar Airway’s Qsuite was not great, and that is definitely a priority for most passengers.
The other challenge is that I didn’t get bedding on my first flight (JFK to Doha) because I had no idea that it existed. Apparently, you have to ask a flight attendant to make your bed. So, that was another miss for Qatar. The fact flight attendants “make a bed” and provide you with this mattress is not addressed anywhere, and flight attendants don’t even tell you they offer this (remember, I took 3 flights in Qsuite, and not once did a flight attendant tell me they make beds with mattresses)!
You have to appreciate the privacy. It’s so nice. Just be prepared to not be fully private. On my last flight, I was watching Dead Calm, and the flight attendant popped his head over the screen to talk to me and I screamed. He came out of nowhere. So, hey, it’s “nearly” private.
Another shot of the Qsuite seat. While it may be snug and cozy and offers all the standard amenities you’d expect for any business class, I thought some of the features were sort of basic or didn’t measure up to what Qatar could truly provide. The pillow was weak, the mattress pad was ridiculous, and the bread was old.
Also, like I mentioned, the “privacy” of these seats aren’t truly private since you can see your fellow passenger as soon as you stand up (directly in the eyes, no less, due to the rear facing seats!), and there’s unavoidable noise since your head is right against the other passenger’s head (unless you book the last seat).
At the end of the day, Qsuite is awesome, and while it has some flaws, it’s among the best business-class cabins I’ve flown.
Have you flown Qatar Airway’s Qsuite? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
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