Review: Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class (MXP-DOH)

While privacy doors, double beds and wireless charging are neat, cramped confines and a lack of storage space hamstring this seat.

For my flight back to Singapore, I was planning to scratch two Qatar Airways products off my review list: their not-really-Qsuites on the B787-9, and their really-Qsuites on the A350-900 (or so I thought!)

The first leg from Milan to Doha was operated by the B787-9, which Qatar deploys on its medium-haul routes around Europe. 

✈️ tl;dr: Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class
While privacy doors, double beds and wireless charging are neat, cramped confines and a lack of storage space hamstring this seat.
👍 The Good👎 The Bad
  • Much more private than the Super Diamond seats on the B787-8 and A350-900s (though not perfect- see opposing column)
  • “Double bed” for couples is a cute idea, if imperfectly executed
  • Wireless charging and Bluetooth headset support are cool features
  • Narrow, cramped seat with a glaring lack of storage space
  • Not a great layout for back sleepers
  • Low-height door does not provide much privacy from the aisle
💦🚿 Golden Showers

Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class

Qatar Airways has a rather unique cabin product on its B787-9s. While it originally intended to fit them with Qsuites, it later realised the fuselage would not permit a four-across configuration.

Therefore, it went with a customised version of the Adient Ascent seat, adding yet another variant to its already fragmented Business Class line up!

💺 Qatar Airways Business Class Seats
SeatAircraftLayout
Qsuites
  • A350-900
  • A350-1000
  • B777-200LR
  • B777-300ER
1-2-1
Ascent
  • B787-9
1-2-1
Super Diamond
  • A350-900
  • A380-800
  • B777-300ER
  • B787-8
1-2-1
Cirrus II*
  • B777-300ER
1-2-1
Diamond
  • A320
  • A330-300
2-2-2
MiniPod
  • B777-200LR
  • B777-300ER
2-2-2
Recliner
  • A320
2-2-2
*These are ex-Cathay Pacific jets, and have likely undergone some cosmetic refurbishment to convert them into Qatar colours. The photo depicts the seats during the Cathay days.

A total of 30 Business Class seats can be found on the B787-9, laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. 

I entered via the rear door to the Business Class cabin, where Qatar has built a beautiful textured feature wall with its Oryx logo in rose gold set against a burgundy backdrop. 

Rear entrance
Qatar Airways logo

What’s interesting about this layout is that the A/K single seats by the windows are facing away from the aisle (reverse herringbone), the E/F seats in the middle face towards the aisle (regular herringbone). 

Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class
Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class

This makes it easier for couples in the E/F seats to communicate, especially when the privacy divider is lowered. Each passenger has a button, which needs to be pressed simultaneously to lower the partition. The partition can be raised by either passenger pressing the up button. 

Centre seats
Centre seats

Do note that the 1 E/F seats at the front of the cabin have a personal storage compartment (meant to compensate for the lack of an overhead bin, sacrificed to make room for a crew rest area), which pushes them back from the bulkhead. This means they’re more insulated from galley noise, which can be a problem for the 1 A/K seats. 

1 E/F seats

I assigned myself a window seat on the port side of the aircraft. These seats aren’t even close to Qsuites in terms of layout or features, but that didn’t stop the crew from referring to them as such! I had to bite my tongue every time they asked if I was familiar with the features of Qsuites…

Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class
Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class
Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class

I have to say, I’m a fan of the aesthetics. Qatar has always been a lot more subtle with its design choices than Emirates, and this seat sure is pleasing on the eye. The colour palette is simple, with burgundy, two shades of grey and some beige- no gold trim in sight!

Seat 6A

Each seat had a storage cupboard, reading lamp, and wireless charging holder. Inside the storage cupboard was a small mirror. 

Storage cupboard
Storage cupboard

The coolest feature by far is the wireless charging holder. I love to see this kind of future-proofing, since anything that minimises the number of cables can only be a good thing. The slot was large enough to fit my Pixel 7 Pro (which at 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm is not exactly svelte), but charging speeds are obviously much slower than wired charging. 

Wireless charging
Wireless charging

Given how finnicky wireless charging can be, the designers have wisely built a retracting arm that holds the phone in place. I did have some concerns about screen scratches, however, given how snug the mechanism felt. 

Locking mechanism

Beneath the storage cupboard is an IFE remote, universal power outlet with a Type-A fast-charging USB port, and a three-pin headphone jack.

Headphone jack, power outlet, IFE controller

While the side table provides some storage space, it’s woefully inadequate. This is barely large enough to fit a 14″ laptop, leaving no space to put your blanket or anything else that won’t fit in the storage cupboard.

Side console
Side console (with 14″ laptop)

Seat controls were located below the side console, with pre-sets for full flat, lounging and full upright, as well as individual controls for the leg rest and a do-not-disturb button. Unfortunately, leg rest aside, there’s no way of controlling individual components of the seat.

Seat controls

Each seat is equipped with an 18″ high-definition touchscreen, which is fixed to the seatback. It does not tilt or swivel, which means you can’t tilt it downwards if fully reclined in bed mode. 

IFE screen

Next to the screen is a literature pocket, with the safety card and air sickness bag.

Literature pocket

The tray table slides out from underneath the IFE screen, and pivots 90 degrees towards you. It can comfortably accommodate a 14″ laptop, though there’ll be no space remaining for drinks or snacks. 

Tray table
Tray table with 14″ laptop

If you need to enter or exit your seat and don’t want to clear your table, you can simply push it away from you. 

Tray table (pushed back)

Apart from the lack of storage space, my main issue with the seat was how narrow it was. You can see it from the restrictive footwell area below. Back sleepers won’t be able to move about much when fully reclined.

Footwell

Now, let’s talk about that privacy door, because I have mixed feelings about it. Doors are becoming the new hygiene factor for Business Class seats, and that’s a good thing- who doesn’t want more privacy? 

But not all doors are made equal, and this one’s a prime example. Each Business Class seat is equipped with a manually-operated privacy door, which is locked in the open position for taxi, take-off and landing. At cruising altitude, the crew will unlock the door, and you can close it as you please. 

Privacy door

You’ll notice in your typical Qatar publicity photos, the door will appear like this. 

Seat with door closed

In reality, it’s more like this:

Seat with door closed

That’s because the door and walls of the suite aren’t very high, so in reality you’re only shielded from children or Tom Cruise. A person of average height walking down the aisle can easily look into your suite, if they were so inclined. 

Also note that the door does not close completely, leaving a small gap at the edges.

Door in the closed position

So while these doors are good at providing privacy from a distance, they do a much worse job up close and personal. 

One final point: these seats use a three-point seatbelt, which can feel more restrictive than the traditional two-point seatbelt. Fortunately, the shoulder strap only needs to be worn during take-off and landing.

Seatbelt

Amenities

A pillow and plastic-wrapped blanket were waiting at each seat on arrival. I have to say, I really like Qatar’s Business Class blankets. They’re warm and fuzzy, very unlike the scratchy stuff you get on other carriers. More importantly, they’re long- I find Singapore Airlines’ blankets to be too short for my 1.8 metre frame, but Qatar’s do nicely.

Blanket and pillow

As cringey as I find Qatar Airway’s quote pillows (“they look like they were dreamed up by someone’s tacky aunt”, said one wag), I was still hoping to get one so I could display it around the house- ironically, of course. 

Unfortunately, instead of “today is a good day”, or “live, work, travel, repeat!”, I got a rather staid “Welcome to Qatar…cel________________________ebrate”. It was unclear whether I was expected to fill in the blank, but in any case the cabin crew informed us these were souvenirs we could take home. 

Now in my storeroom somewhere

Even though this was a 6-hour daytime flight, amenities kits were still distributed. Qatar’s diptyque amenities kit features a pair of socks, lip balm, body lotion, face cream, and a small sample of perfume, either:

  • Eau Rose’ Eau de Toilette – an infusion of the finest damascena and centifolia roses, or
  • ‘34 Boulevard Saint Germain’ Eau de Toilette with notes of amber, patchouli, cinnamon and rose
Business Class amenities kits

Food & Beverage

The crew served pre-departure drinks on the ground in Milan, which consisted of orange juice or water. Champagne was available on request as well. Drinks were served with a pre-packaged diptyque wet towel. 

Pre-departure drinks

The crew also distributed menus and took meal orders on the ground. I love the textured feel of Qatar’s menus, as well as the use of colour printing for the wine list. I don’t know about you, but seeing the wines in colour makes it that much nicer for me.

Menu and wine lists
Wine list

More drinks were served about 30 minutes after take-off. Here’s the wine list for your reference. 

🍷 Qatar Airways Wine List
WineTypeVivino
🇫🇷 Laurent-Perrier BrutChampagne4.1/5
🇫🇷 Gosset Brut Grand RoseChampagne4.1/5
🇫🇷 Albert Bichot Montagny Premier Cru 2018White4.1/5
🇨🇱 Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2021White4.0/5
🇿🇦 Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2021White4.0/5
🇫🇷 Chateau Belgrave Grand Cru Classe Haut-Medoc 2014Red3.9/5
🇦🇺 Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraz 2019Red3.9/5
🇳🇿 Discovery Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2019Red3.7/5
🇩🇪 Markus Molitor Zeltinger Schlossberg Auslese 2017Dessert4.2/5

I was disappointed to see that Qatar Airways has replaced Billecart Salmon with Laurent-Perrier. I realise it’s a matter of personal preference, but I don’t find anything interesting in Laurent-Perrier. It’s a very one-note drop, the kind you might bring to a dinner party when the wife says “oh let’s bring some bubbly” but then the host has catered Pizza Hut. 

Post take-off drinks
Post take-off drinks

Lunch was served on this flight to Doha, with service commencing about one hour after take-off. 

The meal started with a small off-menu amuse bouche, consisting of a prawn and blistered cherry tomato.

Amuse bouche

Soup came next: minestrone with Sardinian gnocchi. 

Minestrone

Tuna tartare came next, arranged in a neat little circle with halved tomatoes and cucumber slices. 

Tuna tartare

For the main, I went with the pan seared cod, served with pea puree and caponata (a vegetable side featuring aubergine and other vegetables seasoned with olive oil). The cod was slightly dry around the edges—quite an accomplishment given cod is specifically chosen for airplane cabins because it’s hard to dry out — but still moist inside. 

Pan seared cod

Dessert was sfogliatella, an Italian cream-filled pastry that resembles a croissant, only with much denser layers. Pistachio gelato and ricotta cheese accompanied it. 

Sfogliatella

Meal service then concluded with a box of Läderach chocolates and a hot towel. 

Chocolates
Hot towel

A light refreshments area was set up at the back of the cabin, with a selection of potato chips, popcorn, chocolate bars and biscuits available throughout the flight.

Snacks
Fruits

Inflight Entertainment

Oryx One inflight entertainment system

Oryx One, Qatar’s inflight entertainment system, offers up to 3,000 on-demand options (you can preview the selection here).

There’s all the latest Hollywood releases, but also a lot of Arabic and Hindi options, in recognition of the airlines’ clientele. 

Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection
Movie selection

I wanted a movie that didn’t require any brain power at all, and settled on Moonfall, a timely reminder of just how far Halle Berry’s career has fallen. So suspended was my disbelief, I was half expecting them to shout “It’s cheese, Gromit! The moon is made of cheese!”

Moonfall

Qatar also offers external cameras, which make watching take-off rather fun on a clear day.

External camera
External camera

Business Class passengers receive noise-cancelling headphones, but these felt plasticky and flimsy. They also didn’t fit very well over my ears, resulting in some noise leakage. 

Noise cancelling headphones

However, this system allows you to pair your own Bluetooth headphones, which is a really nifty trick. My Beats were easily paired, and I was able to pause and play just by pressing the side button. 

Wi-Fi

Qatar Airways offers “Super Wi-Fi” service on more than 100 A350-900/-1000, B777-200LR, B777-300ER and B787-8/9 aircraft, which it touts as “game-changing” for inflight connectivity. The system is provided by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation hardware, with claimed speeds of up to 50 Mbps. 

Qatar Privilege Club members enjoy one hour of free Super Wi-Fi, and the good news is that you don’t need to have your Privilege Club membership number on your boarding pass to qualify. You can simply login to your Privilege Club account via the inflight portal to get your free hour, allowing you to credit the flight to whichever frequent flyer programme you wish.

Passengers can also purchase additional Super Wi-Fi plans:

  • If you purchase Super Wi-Fi before your flight, you pay US$8
  • If you purchase Super Wi-Fi during your flight, you pay US$10

The cost is the same regardless of flight duration, which makes them great value for some of the ultra-long haul flights that Qatar operates. 

But do the speeds match up the claims? They certainly do. While it’s nowhere near the promised 50 Mbps, I got close to 19 Mbps download speeds, which made all my work tasks effortless. 

Sleep Experience

Seat in bed mode

The seat reclines into a full flat bed measuring 1.95m long. The padding was comfortable, but as mentioned earlier, the restrictive footwell is not friendly towards back sleepers. I managed to get a one-hour nap, which was more than sufficient on a daytime flight. 

Seat in bed mode
Seat in bed mode

The centre seats can be converted into a “double bed”; I use that term lightly because only your heads are together. Your bodies will be angled away, so you’ll say goodnight and that’s about it. No spooning!

Centre seat “double bed” | Photo: Prince of Travel
Centre seat “double bed” | Photo: One Mile at a Time

Toilets

Qatar Airways B787-9 Toilet

The 30 Business Class passengers have access to two lavatories, both at the back of the cabin. These feature standard Dreamliner amenities like contactless taps and flushes, plus a window for a view. 

Both were well-stocked with toothbrush kits (kudos to Qatar for providing actual Colgate, and not one of the many imitation brands out there), as well as diptyque cologne and hand lotion.

Bathroom amenities
Bathroom amenities

Conclusion

Qatar Airways’ B787-9 Business Class has much to applaud. Privacy doors and double beds are always nice to see, even if the execution isn’t perfect, and the tech junkie in me loves the wireless charging and personal Bluetooth connectivity.

However, the seat feels claustrophobically narrow, and is severely lacking in storage space. Perhaps these issues won’t be so readily apparently on the medium-haul flights it’s meant to serve, but as the journey progresses you’ll definitely notice it. 

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ B787-9 Business Class?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Alian

The arm rest on your right is a storage compartment too.

Willy

sit all of their J class until bored already considering i fly them like several times every 2 weeks…

Maurice Ecclestone

That long blank on the pillow is actually inspired by kashida (elongated characters) used in certain Arabic calligraphy (the most notable being ﷽, in the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful), and then applied onto Latin characters in the branding of Qatar World Cup, including the logo.

Planesimple

I believe there is actually one more variant of seat in J on QR too… ex Virgin Australia 77Ws. Very similar to the Super Diamond on other QR aircraft but not the same as on the 389, 350 or 787 Super Diamond, although your table does list 77W. I think I am due to fly it in a few weeks so can check! Believe it has the Virgin Australia bar set up too that hasn’t been modified.

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