Qatar Airways' second-generation Qsuite stands idling at the edge of the runway, primed for take-off - and if it wasn't for the coronavirus, we'd already have seen this updated 'Qsuite 2.0' and probably have flown in one of the Gulf carrier's first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which is where the new business class suites will make their debut.
While Qatar Airways continues to fly a pared-back schedule, the global travel slump could mean it's months before the new Boeing 787-9s roll out of the hangar. But when that does happen, here's what to expect.
Qatar Airways' Boeing 787-9 fleet
Qatar Airways was one of the first airlines to fly the original Boeing 787-8 from late 2012, with 22 of the pre-Qsuite flatbed business class seats – the same as those seen on the Oneworld member's Airbus A380 and earlier Airbus A350 jets.
However, the larger and longer-range Boeing 787-9s will see an evolution of the highly-regarded Qsuite, which Executive Traveller currently rates as the world's best business class.
At the time of writing, the first seven out of a total order of 30 have already been handed over to Qatar Airways.
In addition to the 'Qsuites 2.0' in business class, the Boeing 787-9s are expected to have the airline's latest economy class seat – created by Italian seat manufacturer Optimares, with a pre-recline of six degrees for take-off and landing and full recline of 19 degrees, along with a "semi-fixed back shell" to avoid encroaching on the space of the passenger behind.
Also on the cards is Qatar Airways' Super WiFi, which delivers basic broadband-grade speeds of 5+Mbps – a substantial boost compared to the inflight Internet service of most international jets.
Qatar Airways' Boeing 787-9 Qsuite business class
Qatar Airways was set to pull back the curtains on its second-generation Qsuite at the opening day of the ITB Berlin travel trade show on Wednesday March 4, 2020.
However, the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic – which was at that stage taking a firm foothold in Europe – saw the travel expo cancelled.
What we expected to see was a suite which at first glance appeared little different to the original Qsuite.
One of the key changes is that the Qsuite 2.0 weights substantially less than its predecessor – it's believed to be at least 20% lighter, and when it comes to fuel efficiency, every kilo saved and shaved helps.
Executive Traveller understands that the height of the suites and their sliding privacy doors has also been slightly reduced from the current 135cm (53 inches) based on feedback from passengers.
Qsuites in the middle of the Boeing 787-9's business class cabin can still be opened up to create a shared double suite and, if your travel partner is willing, a double bed.
However, unlike the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 Qsuites, there's no option for four middle Qsuites to become a single over-sized 'quad space' suitable for families or colleagues.
That's in line with comments made to Executive Traveller by Qatar Airways CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker in February 2018 that the Qsuite 2.0 design 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."
No Qsuites for Qatar Airways Airbus A380
The Boeing 787-9 Qsuites have their origin in a design first drawn up for the Airbus A380, which demanded a modified version of the suite due to the pronounced wall curvature of the superjumbo's upper deck business class cabin.
However, with Qatar Airways now planning an early exit for all ten A380s beginning in 2024, the airline has confirmed it won't be fitting Qsuites to the superjumbo.
Additional material by Brandon Loo