If you’ve been following this site for a while, you’ll know that Qatar Airways Qsuites has been something of a white whale for me.
Ever since this product debuted in June 2017, all my three attempts to review it have, shall we say, not gone according to plan: aircraft swaps, mechanical issues, and that little-known global pandemic.
But finally, finally, it’s done. On my recent UK trip, I had the opportunity to experience Qsuites not once but twice: from London to Doha on a B777-300ER, and then again from Doha to Singapore on an A350-1000.
|✈ LHR-DOH||✈ DOH-SIN|
Arrive: 0640 (+1)
Cabin: Business (B777-300ER)
Cabin: Business (A350-1000)
|Cost: 75,000 Avios + S$677|
The verdict? Qatar Airways’ claim of “First in Business” may sound like marketing hyperbole, but Qsuites delivers in spades. It’s single-handedly rewriting the expectations for Business Class, and to the extent it forces competitors to up their game, can only be a good thing.
I waited six years to try this, but it’s every bit worth the wait.
|✈️ tl;dr: Qatar Airways B777-300ER Qsuites Business Class|
|Qsuites rewrites the standards for Business Class with its unmatched comfort and privacy. The question is: will you actually get it on your flight?|
|👍 The Good||👎 The Bad|
|👑 Monarchy in the UK|
Qatar Airways B777-300ER Qsuites Business Class
The first thing to know about Qatar Airways is that fleet consistency isn’t really in their playbook. The airline has nine different Business Class seats, and to further complicate matters, the aircraft type is not always a guarantee of a specific seat type.
|💺 Qatar Airways Business Class Seats|
|Super Diamond (ex-VA)^||1-2-1|
|Cirrus II (ex-CX)*||1-2-1|
|Recliner Type 1||2-2|
|Recliner Type 2||2-2|
|*^These are ex-Cathay Pacific/Virgin Australia jets, and have likely undergone some cosmetic refurbishment to convert them into Qatar colours. The photo depicts the seats during the Cathay/Virgin Australia days.|
For example, if you’re flying on a B777-300ER, there are four potential Business Class seats you could end up with- and trust me, they’re not all made equal.
Qsuites is never guaranteed, which means that you’re not entitled to any compensation should there be a last-minute aircraft swap. However, Qatar Airways has a policy of granting a one-time change or refund (with no fees) should a Qsuites-equipped aircraft subsequently be replaced by a non-Qsuites one. Presumably this is only useful if you discover the change before heading to the airport, and have a lot of flexibility!
If flying Qsuites will make or break your trip, I highly recommend monitoring the route on FlightRadar24 and cross referencing the aircraft tail numbers with this FlyerTalk guide. That will give you an idea of what cabin product you can expect.
I was positively giddy for my first Qsuites experience, and started snapping photos like crazy upon boarding. The smiling cabin attendant asked whether it was my first time. “And how”, I wanted to say.
The B777-300ER I was flying today had a total of 42 Qsuites, split into a forward cabin with 24 seats and a rear cabin with 18 seats. Seats are in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration, and alternate between:
- Even numbered rows: forward–facing and closer to the aisle (20 out of 42)
- Odd numbered rows: rear–facing and away from the aisle (22 out of 42)
Flying backwards may sound strange to some, but Qatar is hardly the only airline to do this. Backwards-facing seats can be found on American Airlines, ANA, British Airways and Etihad, to name a few. Unless you suffer from severe motion sickness, it’s unlikely you’ll notice it once airborne.
Besides, where Qsuites is concerned, if you want a seat that’s further away from the aisle, or if you want the double bed (for couples in the middle seats), you’ll have to fly in the “wrong” direction as all these seats are rear-facing.
Unlike the A350-1000, Qatar Airways has overhead storage bins above the centre seats on the B777-300ER, which makes the cabin feel a bit more cramped upon boarding when the bins are all opened by default.
Before we go any further, let’s talk seat selection, because Qatar Airways controls the types of seats you can select based on how many travellers are in your party.
If you’re a solo traveller, you can only select the window seats (A/B or J/K) in advance.
If you’re a couple, you can select the window seats, or rear-facing seats which convert into a double bed (E/F). Not all the rear-facing seats may be available, however, as some of them are blocked off for groups.
If you’re a group of three or more, you have a free run of the house. The quads (odd-numbered E/F and even-numbered D/G seats in the row directly behind) are yours to pick, in addition to any of the seats available to solo travellers or couples.
The four-seater Quad can be combined into one giant “room” where the occupants face each other. This makes it ideal for family dining or co-working, to the extent your family or office budget allows for the purchase of four Qsuites.
Unlike other airlines, these restrictions are not lifted even during online check-in. If you want to “break the rules”, you’ll need to call up customer service, or else request a different seat at the airport/when onboard. However, Qatar’s seat selection logic dictates that once any seat in a quad has been occupied, the rest of the quad opens up for general selection (and if you somehow end up in a middle seat as a solo passenger, you needn’t worry as there’s a full height privacy divider which will block off your suite from its neighbour).
In any case I was flying solo, so only the window seats were an option for me: either the forward-facing B/J seats (closer to the aisle), or the rear-facing A/K seats (closer to the window).
I ended up choosing seat 5K, near the rear of the forward cabin. This seat is closely aligned with the window, making it easy to peer outside, and you’re separated from the aisle by the armrest and side table.
Qsuites are admittedly not the widest Business Class seats out there. They’re a mere 21″ across; for comparison, Singapore Airlines offers 28″ of width on their 2013 Business Class seat, and 25″ on their 2017 Business Class seat. Still, it didn’t feel cramped at all, probably because the seat is “open” on one side and the armrest is lowered by default.
The footwell does narrow towards the front, and while I’ve read some complaints that it’s too snug, I didn’t find it inordinately restrictive (this coming from a back sleeper).
A wide range of seat controls can be found on the console, including pre-sets for full upright, dining, lounging, and full flat. There’s also adjustable lumbar support, and the ability to activate a massage function or move individual components of the seat.
A thoughtful touch is the placement of a small button near your head, which only becomes visible when the seat is fully reclined. This allows you to return the seat to upright without having to sit up and reach for the side console.
The console table has a clever two-tier design that doubles the amount of storage space. You can place a laptop and a drink on the upper tier, and store your charger, passport and additional loose items below.
Additional storage space can be found beneath the armrest. A water bottle, sick bag and plastic-wrapped headphones were stored here upon arrival.
By your head is an adjustable reading light plus coat hook, built into a leather panel with handsome decorative stitching.
The tray table is stowed beneath the IFE display, and it triggered my OCD that it wasn’t flush with the ledge above it when properly stowed. In fact, I’m surprised that passed certification, since the health and safety crowd are particularly tetchy about protrusions.
The tray table itself was enormous. I could easily fit my laptop, with space for drinks and snacks besides. And thanks to the HDMI connectivity, I could get my work done on the 21.5″ monitor.
In case you couldn’t tell by now, the Qsuite excels at privacy. The cabin almost looks like a collection of fortresses, with high walls ensuring you’re blocked off from everyone but the person directly across the aisle.
When the door is closed, you don’t see anyone, period. Even though there’s a slight gap at the bottom, I’d take that any day for more privacy up top.
It’d take some effort for someone walking down the aisle to look into your suite. The photo below is with me lifting the camera up to eye level (~1.7 metres), and even then, the seat isn’t highly visible due to the slight setback from the side console.
The flip side to this is that the Qsuite can feel a tad claustrophobic, especially if you’re in a forward-facing even numbered seat. These seats are positioned closer to the aisle, which means you’ll have the wall and door immediately to your side.
Compare this to the rear-facing odd numbered seats, which feel more spacious because the armrest separates you from the door and wall.
I much preferred this setup, which is another argument in favour of flying backwards.
Waiting at each seat were two pillows: a flimsy white throw pillow with some tacky Instagram quote on it (you can take this one home if you wish), and a more substantial grey one.
There was also an oversized blanket that stitch for stitch must be one of the best in the game. It has a velvety texture on one side and a smooth finish on the other, and was large enough that I didn’t need to request an extra (as I often have to on SIA).
Business Class passengers were given amenities kits, or should I say, amenities boxes. Qatar has teamed up with French fragrance brand Diptyque to create these, and for flights into Doha, passengers receive a gift box with the following items:
- Nourishing Lip Balm – enriched with roses and violets to soothe and soften the lips
- Fresh Lotion for the Body – infused with the scent of orange blossoms, to refresh sleepy skin for all skin types
- Essential Face Cream – nourishing and replenishing, with prickly pear extract to boost radiance
- Diptyque fragrance – ‘Eau Rose’ Eau de Toilette – an infusion of the finest damascena and centifolia roses, or the brand’s signature ‘34 Boulevard Saint Germain’ Eau de Toilette with notes of amber, patchouli, cinnamon and rose.
If you prefer a regular amenities kit, you’ll need to fly out of Doha (though the contents will be the same, all that changes is the packaging).
Sleeper suits were branded by The White Company. These are made of 100% cotton, the men’s suit in a charcoal grey marl, and the women’s in a contemporary mid-grey. Slippers with a faux fur interior sole were also packed inside.
These suits do a good job of keeping you warm, which could either be a bug or a feature depending on how cool you like your sleep environment.
Food & Beverage
Pre-departure drinks were served before take-off, together with a pre-packed Diptyque cold towel. I opted for a glass of Qatar’s special non-alcoholic bubbly So Jennie. Zero-alcohol wine usually gets a bad rep, but this is actually pretty good stuff, served in Michelin-starred restaurants as an alternative for those who want bubbles but not booze.
Physical menus and a wine list were distributed to each passenger. Qatar prints these on high-quality cardstock, and they’re not collected at the end of the flight so you can take them home as a keepsake if you wish.
Business Class passengers enjoy dine-on-demand, which means you’re not slaved to a fixed dining routine. There’s no noisy trolley rolling down the aisle, and cabin lights stayed low throughout- perfect for those who want to hit the hay straight after take-off.
This flight featured a four-course dinner, as well as a continental breakfast. I opted to take the dinner course before landing and skipped breakfast, which didn’t look very exciting.
After a good night’s rest, I asked the crew to prepare the meal. Qatar Airways’ dining setups are always elaborate: an oversized tablecloth, battery-powered flickering LED candle, a piping-hot bread basket featuring three different loaves baked into one, a selection of olive oils, individual salt and pepper grinders.
The first course was a wild mushroom soup with sautéed morel florets. Umami-rich foods like mushrooms usually perform well at altitude, but this was a bit too cloy for my liking. After a few spoonfuls, it already sat heavy in the stomach.
Next up was a trio of seafood: balik salmon, seared pepper tuna and crab meat salad. Balik salmon is always good stuff— Singapore Airlines reserves it for First Class customers only— and on the ground a 320g fillet will set you back about S$300.
For the main, I went with the seared Atlantic halibut with parsley barley risotto. This sounded promising, but was nothing memorable. The fish was very overcooked, the barley was mushy, and the accompaniments had fused together in an unappetising sludge.
Dessert was a baked plum tart, with oat crumbs and spiced plum coulis.
I’ve had some great meals on Qatar Airways, but they’ve all been out of Doha. I’d say this particular meal didn’t hit those same heights.
An extensive selection of drinks is offered. In addition to the non-alcoholic bubbly So Jennie I mentioned earlier, there’s mocktails, various juices, iced tea, iced coffee, TWG tea, various spirits and cocktails.
The wine list offered a choice of two champagnes, three whites, three reds and a dessert wine.
|🍷 Qatar Airways Wine List|
|🇫🇷 Gosset Grande Reserve Brut||Champagne||4.1/5|
|🇫🇷 Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvee Alexandra Rose 2007||Champagne||4.5/5|
|🇦🇺 Pennfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2018||White||3.9/5|
|🇳🇿 Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 3 Sauvignon Blanc 2021||White||3.9/5|
|🇫🇷 Domaine Viticole de la Ville de Colmar Riesling 2022||White||3.6/5|
|🇫🇷 Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Pessac-Leognan 2014||Red||4.2/5|
|🇦🇺 Kangarilla Road The Devil’s Whiskers Shiraz 2018||Red||4.2/5|
|🇺🇸 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2020||Red||3.7/5|
|🇦🇺 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2018||Dessert||4.2/5|
The last time I flew Qatar, they served a very ho hum Gosset Brut Grand Rose, but this has now been upgraded to a Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvee Alexandra Rose 2007. This would be a superb champagne to serve in First Class, let alone Business.
Says World of Fine Wine:
There is depth to the salmon color, with onion-skin hues. The overall impression of sweet aromatic power comes with delicious, fragrant apricot and ripe red-cherry fruit. There is also some herbaceous and undergrowth evolution, bringing complexity. The palate is rich and structured, with a fine phenolic bite enhancing both freshness and firmness. A rather sturdy and powerful wine, already showing some evolution. | 94
Please sir, I want some more
Qsuites are equipped with 21.5″ inflight entertainment displays (5″ larger than the displays you’ll find on the Super Diamond seats). These are touch-sensitive, and can also be controlled by a console-mounted IFE remote.
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. If there’s one area that Qatar can improve, it’d be this.
Oryx One offers more than 3,000 movies, TV shows, music and gaming options, including many foreign language films. You can check out what’s showing on your upcoming flight here.
The last time I flew Qatar, they had the entire Halo TV series which I began by hatewatching, then found myself inexplicably liking (even if the fanboys are upset that Master Chief kissed a girl and now they can’t relate to him anymore). For whatever reason, it’s no longer available on Oryx, so I had to make do with Futurama reruns.
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.
I’m not sure I’d call this game-changing, because my speeds were a rather pedestrian 7.3 Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up. It was good enough to get work done, but you won’t be Netflix and chilling with this.
While each Wi-Fi code is for a single device, you can simply switch on the hotspot feature on your Android phone to share the connection with your laptop and other devices.
Qsuites convert into a full-flat bed just shy of 2 metres long. The seat already has good cushioning, and the crew add an additional mattress pad during turndown service which covers up the seams where the seat joins.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I prefer seats that allow me to set the exact angle of recline, and oftentimes sleep in a 170° position instead of full flat. But with the Qsuites, I found the 180° position to be just as comfortable.
I was wondering why this was the case, then came upon a possible explanation on OMAAT:
At cruise altitude, airplanes are typically angled up a couple of degrees, and the only time the nose will ever be fully level or pointing down is during the descent. As a result, if you recline your seat into the fully flat position in a forward facing seat, your head is actually slightly below your feet. Of course there are pillows, but rather frustratingly many airlines have very thin pillows that don’t do much for me.
Meanwhile when you have a rear facing seat, your head is naturally slightly higher than your feet. We’re talking about a minor difference here, but I find it noticeable when sleeping.
All in all, I’d rate this as one of the best sleeps I’ve had on a plane, certainly better than any long-haul Singapore Airlines flight.
There are a total of four lavatories available for the 42 Business Class passengers.
While Qatar Airways hasn’t done anything too over the top with these, I do like that they installed darker countertops instead of the standard white ones. It does a better job of hiding stains, and looks that much more sophisticated.
Washbasins are contactless, and the drawers were well-stocked with dental kits. Diptyque hand wash, hand lotion and cologne were stocked.
I waited six years to fly Qatar Airways Qsuites, and this could be one of those rare cases where the hype actually measures up to the experience.
It’s not flawless— no seat is — but my word doesn’t it come close. Qsuites offers an unprecedented level of privacy and comfort, and if Qatar could only guarantee this product across their fleet, I’d pick them every time without hesitation.
And therein lies the real problem: Qsuites is not guaranteed. Qatar has something of a reputation for playing aircraft roulette, and you’ll find no shortage of online complaints from travellers who booked Qatar Airways purely because of Qsuites, only to end up with an inferior Business Class product.
Granted, with every month that goes by Qatar refits more and more aircraft, so your odds of “getting QR-ed” will decline. But until we see the last of the Mini Pods and Super Diamonds (and it’s highly unlikely that every single aircraft will be refit), there’ll always be that nerve-wracking will-they-won’t-they dynamic going on, that will only be truly resolved when you step onboard and see those high walls and doors.
Qsuites is amazing- if you actually get it.