REVIEW: Qatar Airways Qsuite "First-in Business"

13 August 2018

Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is revolutionary. Patented by the Doha-based oneworld member, Qsuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed available in business class, as well as private cabins for up to four people with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise.

Qatar Airways Qsuite Crew Service

Since the beginning of this year, Qatar Airways is pushing the rollout of Qsuite on routes to the Asia-Pacific. Following the launch of the product on routes from Doha to Shanghai, Sydney and Canberra, the airline in July introduced Qsuite on B777-300ER flights to India.

Globally, the product is available on select A350 and B777 flights to Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Chicago and Houston.

Qatar Airways typically offers excellent business class fares from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. At the airline’s Doha hub, passengers can avail of the airline’s award-winning Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge, complete with dine-on-demand restaurant, quiet zones and a state-of-the-art business centre. Speak to one of our travel specialists today to get you booked in Qsuite.

CHECK-IN & LOUNGE

I had arrived in Frankfurt at around 1pm from a connecting flight for my 5:35pm departure on Qatar Airways to Doha that day. Check-in was a breeze and took less than a minute. There were no lines for the ‘premium check-in’ desks processing business class and oneworld status customers, although it was already plenty busy at the economy class section.

Qatar Airways allows you to check in online from 48hrs to 90 minutes before departure. This flight was operated by Qatar Airways’ brand-new A350-1000. The airline is the launch operator of Airbus’ latest long-haul airliner. I had selected seat 1K, a rear-facing window seat in the first row.

Qatar Airways is the only oneworld member airline to operate out of Frankfurt’s Terminal 1, home of rivals Lufthansa and Star Alliance. That said, business class passengers are invited to use the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge in Terminal 1B, rather than any of the oneworld lounges in Terminal 2. The Maple Leaf lounge turned out to be a delight. The reception ladies were extremely friendly and welcoming, the lounge offered stunning runway views from almost every vantage point, there were showers, and a decent selection of food and beverage, including champagne, fresh salads and a couple of hot dishes.

BOARDING & THE SEAT

Boarding was as pleasant as can be. I was escorted to my Qsuite and two flight attendants helped store my carry-on luggage and hung my jacket. Then they introduced themselves and asked for my pre-departure beverage of choice. I ordered a Dappier Rose Champagne, which was served in a long stem flute and at perfect temperature. I thought it really elevated the experience to be able to order any drink you like rather than having to choose from the typical water, orange juice and sparkling tray.

A couple of minutes later one of the cabin crew came back with an extensive a la carte dining menu and an equally impressive wine and beverage list. She also introduced all the different features of the Qsuite to me, e.g. how to convert the seat into flat-bed mode, close the door for privacy, enable the ‘Do Not Disturb’ button, etc.

Already waiting at the seat upon boarding were a good-size crisp white pillow, an oversize and very plush burgundy duvet and a well-stocked amenity kits, including a moisturizer and facial mist.

Qsuite single

If you are a single traveler, obviously the single window seats – A & K – lining the aircraft wall make the most sense. As a couple, you should definitely go for one of the centre ‘honeymoon’ seats that can be merged into a double bed. As a family with kids or a group of friends, you would definitely also want to consider the centre seats because let’s remember that with all the privacy panels being movable you can ‘create’ private cabins for up to four people, or essentially a ‘living room’, as Qatar Airways put it.

Qsuite double

There is a large touchscreen IFE screen that is close enough to operate, and a further handset recessed into the side of the seat. The entertainment selection could quite literally keep you busy for weeks on end and features the latest blockbusters, classics, and countless international TV shows. And as if that wasn’t enough already, super-fast Wi-Fi was available throughout the length of the flight as well.

THE FLIGHT

The seatbelt sign came off shortly after take off and I was impressed how quickly the crew began the drinks service. Within minutes, I was served another glass of the Drappier, sparkling water and a ramekin of warm mixed nuts.

One of Qatar Airways’ unique selling points is the a la carte, dine-on-demand concept. Passengers are encouraged to dine at any time of their choosing, and in any order, from the extensive a la carte menu.

Qsuite meal entree

On this flight, the menu listed a cream of potato and leek soup, the airline’s signature Arabic mezze platter, and golden beetroot ravioli with goat cheese and chicken as appetizers. This was followed by an entrée selection of “Gulf-style” lamb biryani with cucumber raita; grilled fillet of cod with saffron mashed potato; and sautéed gnocchi in creamy tomato and parmesan sauce.

Next up was a cheese platter featuring four varieties and a dessert selection of sweet custard crepe with mixed berries; fresh berries with orange syrup; and ice cream. And it did not stop there. To top it all off, there was a “daily specials snack menu” on this flight, listing Vitello Tonnato; melon and feta skewers; peppered roast beef; grilled garlic marinated shrimp; baked potato filled with spinach and cheese; and a triple chocolate tart.

WOW - I was blown away. I sampled a number of dishes and each and every one was restaurant-quality, both in taste and presentation. This meal easily rivalled, if not exceeded, some of the F&B offerings I’ve had in other airline’s international first class.

Qatar Airways has won multiple awards for its wine and spirits selection. The airline currently serves Pommery and Drappier Rose champagne, three whites (including the excellent J. Moreau & Fils Chablis Premier Cru 2015), three reds, a dessert wine and port. Other notable bar offerings included Belvedere Vodka and Glenfiddich’s 15yo Single Malt.

With the IFE, Wi-Fi and F&B selection, the flight passed very quickly and I was almost sad when the captain announced our descent into Doha. As the crew prepared the cabin for landing, they thanked each passenger for flying Qatar Airways and handed out small boxes of Godiva chocolates. A nice touch.

We landed 20 minutes ahead of schedule and it was a short walk to Qatar Airways’ outstanding Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge, where I spend an hour and a half before my connecting flight on a Qatar Airways A330-200 to Hangzhou (another exemplary flight).

VERDICT

Mind-blowing. Qatar Airways really hit the nail on the head with Qsuite. The airline is rightfully marketing Qsuite as “FIRST in Business” as the whole experience compares to travel in international first on competing airlines.

The Airbus A350-1000 is a delight to fly on. The aircraft is incredibly quiet and feels more spacious than other airline cabins.

Qatar Airways’ in-flight offerings could not be any better. In short: There is really nothing at all to complain about. It was a perfect flight in a perfect seat, with perfect service, perfect F&B and perfect amenities on a state-of-the-art airplane.

Dominic Lalk

A familiar face in Orient Aviation and Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Dominic is an aviation analyst and travel enthusiast.  When’s he’s not consulting, reading or writing about the airline industry, Dominic is most likely to be found flying around the world.