No Qsuites business class upgrade for Qatar Airways Airbus A380s

By David Flynn, June 25 2019

Qatar Airways has decided not to upgrade its Airbus A380s with Qsuite business class suites owing to plans to retire the superjumbos in as little as five years' time.

The airline's CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, tipped the fate of its A380 fleet at last week's Paris Air Show, admitting "we feel that the aircraft does not have very long future in Qatar Airways' fleet. We would think about retiring those aeroplanes on their 10th anniversary, unless something untoward happens and we need them."

Al Baker confirmed this would see the Oneworld member's first A380 put out to pasture in 2024 "because it would be 10 years old."

Qatar Airways now plans to retire its Airbus A380s starting from 2024
Qatar Airways now plans to retire its Airbus A380s starting from 2024

 The airline originally planned to fit the Qsuite to its ten Airbus A380s in 2020, but using a modified version of what is widely considered the world's best business class seat due to the more pronounced wall curvature of the superjumbo's upper deck compared to the Qsuite-sporting Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 jets.

The original Qsuites were not designed to fit onto the superjumbo's upper deck
The original Qsuites were not designed to fit onto the superjumbo's upper deck

"We cannot put the Qsuite on the upper deck of the A380 because of curvature of the fuselage," Al Baker told Executive Traveller in February 2018, "because we have to narrow the seat, and we don’t want to do that... so we are developing a new 1-2-1 product... it will have full privacy, so it will not be very far away from the Qsuite. The only thing it will not have will be able to have is a quad (to) convert into a family area."

However, with the airline now planning an early exit for the superjumbos, a spokesperson for Qatar Airways tells Executive Traveller that "for the A380, they will not be fitted with QSuite."

Qatar's A380s will retain their original business class seat right up until their last flight, although this isn't a reason to break out the hankies.

Qatar's current Airbus A380 business class remains one of the best in the skies
Qatar's current Airbus A380 business class remains one of the best in the skies

We regard Qatar's superjumbo as having among the best 'non-suite' business class in the skies (above), as it boasts all the best attributes from a 1-2-1 design to fully flat beds, a pleasing degree of privacy due to the angled layout and curved shell, plus ample working and stowage space around the seat.

AusBT review: Qatar Airways Airbus A380 business class

Qatar's spacious and elegant Airbus A380 lounge is the perfect place to relax during your flight
Qatar's spacious and elegant Airbus A380 lounge is the perfect place to relax during your flight

The A380s also offer an outstanding social space at the upper deck's lounge-bar (above), and  the opportunity to upgrade to one of eight well-appointed first class suites (below).

Superjumbo suites: first class on Qatar's Airbus A380
Superjumbo suites: first class on Qatar's Airbus A380

The modified Qsuite slated for the A380 was also intended as an upgrade to Qatar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, although the airline spokesperson could  offer "no update as of now."

A 'Qsuite 2.0' is believed to be under development for the Boeing 777-9, which Qatar plans to take delivery of in late 2020, with the new suite markedly lighter than its predecessor.

"These seats are not very light (and) we always endeavour to have a product that is lighter on an aeroplane," Al Baker has said. "The modified Qsuite that we are now looking at for the 777x will be at least 22% lighter than the current Qsuite."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 220

I gather since their new QSuites product is so good - it's the end of First Class for them going forward. I did expect to see a advanced QSuites version replacing First Class, but getting rid of their A380 means they might not go for that now (pure speculation of course).

If that is the case, it will be the first ME3 airline to cull First Class - I figured it would have been Etihad at the rate they've been going though!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 46

I must be getting really old. Wasn't the A380 the next, new, great thing? And now they are being retired.

I flew BNE to SYD specifically to travel on one of the first ones (via DBX) to LHR. Can that be ten years ago?

I loved those gorgeous clunkers, the 747s, which would lumber down the runway. And every single time I'd think, "we're not going to make it". Ca-thunk ca-thunk ca-thunk and then against all odds you'd finally have nose up.

Yet the A380, for such a large plane, was quiet and seemed to take off effortlessly.

I will miss them.

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 51

I think the a380 leaving the QR fleet early is more due to the fact that they don't keep an old fleet. So you won't see too many 20 year old planes from Qatar as they like to have a young fleet.

I've been in the a380 business seat and is still very good, and there is no need to change it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 48

I have no issues, love their business class on the A380 anyway, it's great. Going to miss the A380 though! Only one thing that QRs current business seat needed, was a head height wing around the open side like Cathay does, makes it feel slightly more private. Other than that, long live QR A380 as it is currently!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

Agreed. QR's A380 is still a very comfortable plane to fly, regardless of the J seat product.

09 Mar 2015

Total posts 23

I love flying in Qatar's A380 and find the lounge a super-relaxing place to spend time. The current business class seats are fine for me, if I was in a Qsuite I'd probably never close the door anyway.

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