Qatar Airways' new Super Business Class: here's what we know

By David Flynn , February 13 2017
Qatar Airways' new Super Business Class: here's what we know

Qatar Airways has officially confirmed the debut of its new 'super business class' seat on March 8th 2017, the opening day of the annual ITB Berlin travel trade show.

Alongside Singapore Airlines' new Airbus A380 business class seats, due to be revealed mid-year (next to SQ's new A380 first class suites), Qatar Airways' next-gen seat will be the most highly-anticipated business class launch of 2017.

Here's what we know so far...

Suite-like doors create "a business class bedroom"

The Oneworld member's new business class seat will have suite-like doors for greater privacy.

This is touted as the next wave for the upper edge of the business class market, with US carrier Delta Air Lines already showcasing a similar approach for its forthcoming Delta One Airbus 350 business class (below).

“I really feel that private suites become a bit claustrophobic, so when we are designing our new business class product we are making sure it is not claustrophobic” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Australian Business Traveller last year.

“So we have decided to go for semi-privacy, in the cabin concept people slide the two doors and it becomes a cabin."

"It is already semi-closed and then it becomes fully closed, because people want additional privacy when they are sleeping.”

Qatar-only design

As you'd expect for this deep-pocketed and high-striving airline, the design of the 'super business class' seat will be exclusive to Qatar Airways.

The result will be both "proprietary and patented” Al Baker has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

“The seat designer will not be able to (offer) this product to anybody else, and if any airline mimics this design we have patent protection.”

First on the Airbus A350, Boeing 777-300ER

Expect to see the airline's new flagship business class seat debut on both the Airbus A350 – including the A350-1000, for which Qatar Airways is the global launch customer – and the Boeing 777-300ER.

While the A350 already sports a 1-2-1 seat layout in business class, the Boeing 777-300ER is fitted with a more dated 2-2-2 business class (below).

Moving to the 1-2-1 configuration of the 'super business class' design will prove far more private and convenient for travellers, so a rapid rollout onto Qatar Airways' Boeing 777-300ER jets is on the cards.

The long-range Boeing 777-200LR is also on that list, and eventually the Airbus A380, with Al Baker previously flagging a fleet-wide upgrade "where we will retrofit every aircraft in the fleet” at a rate of “three aircraft a month."

Business class is the new first class

In common with many other airlines, Qatar Airways sees that pushing the upper boundaries of business class will diminish the appeal of first class, with that luxe cabin to be restricted to its Airbus A380 superjumbos.

“Our premium travel is business travel, mostly, so we will keep a very limited number of first class seats only in the A380, and all the other airplanes will only have a business class product" Al Baker forecasts.

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Jun 2016

Total posts 9

It will be interesting to see that First class is actually below the quality of business class on the A380, seat-wise.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

I have two questions If they pushing envelop that far for business class.
1. Who ever need 1-st class unless it some kind of "Residence" with personal waitress and personal chef  and
2. With such ENORMOUS gap between economy and business (this canyon became deeper and deeper each year) does anybody think to put premium economy in more appropriate level like angled high-density seats or similar.
Right now in my humble opinion PE does not make any sense - incredibly overpriced offer when they try to make you feel "exclusive" by tossing few unwanted perks (and not even lounge access!) and seats just marginally better than economy.

British Airways - Executive Club

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 48

Waitress???? Surely you jest!

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Of course it was with tongue in cheek. Real question was who ever need first if such business exist?

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

I agree Serg. From a publicity perspective "The Residence" is the best of the best. One wonders what the load factors are though. As for PE, it will be interesting to see how this cabin progresses in the next few years. It is becoming more a more prevelant to have Economy Space zone which is essentially increasing the pitch of an economy seat, which further blurs the lines. Surely PE cabins will be next. I guess we will see what the revolutionary PE on QF's 787 is soon!

I can't fault QR's current Business Class over all product, even on the old 777. So this change will be even more exciting, as long as pricing remains sensible.

27 May 2015

Total posts 24

Very much looking forward to the reveal of this and the new Singapore Airlines business class. 


It does indeed seem that Business is the new First, in which case there is room for Premium Economy to become the new Business... in which case we're back to where we started. Not necessarily a bad thing, just humorous to me. 

First really has become about being as close to a private jet experience as one can get commercially. 

kko
kko

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 5

I've got a booking for September between AMS and HND (one leg in A350, the other on 777-300ER) I hope they manage to refresh the product by then

Air Canada - Aeroplan

13 Feb 2017

Total posts 2

tazza0712

I would just like to agree with you in that since the 60s we have gone the full circle. We had First class and Economy, then a  business class came in between those 2. Now most airlines have dropped First Class except for some carriers,(even LH is not putting FC on their new A350s) so the new Business Class is like the old First Class, but a lot better product, PE on some carriers and even EK is bringing in PE next year or late this year, and Economy. So First Class in the 60s/70s has become the new Business Class, but how do prices compare? Will Business class fares creep up to a comparable OLD First class fare allowing for inflation and current exchange rates?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2404

Enough with the premium economy discussions, please: this article is about Qatar's new business class. Discussions on the current and future positioning of premium economy can be continued in our Community discussion area.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

I think the new QR J product is nice enough but I am interested to see what QR are planning next. However there is just one part I don’t understand and that is around Patent. I get the protection of IP and putting a restraint clause on the designer/ manufacturer from on selling the exact same seat to another carrier but what would QR Patent when they mention mimic the design. I am not a patent lawyer nor fully understand them, what I understand them to be is the protection of a new idea either a working prototype or a design that in theory can be proven to be workable. What would QR patent, I am no design expert but I would think there is only so many ways a J product could be designed. In its simplest form the project consists of a flat bed, IFE, work area and tray table, storage and possibly a door to enclose the seating area. This type of product is either in use or about to be in use with other carriers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Feb 2017

Total posts 6

Had previously read passenger reviews that had discouraged me to fly Qatar business class- not being up to Emirates and Qantas standards - would love to hear from anyone who has done a long haul flight with them recently out of Sydney

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

I flew QR F (a380) SYD-DOH then QR J DOH-BOS (a350) last year and found them to be excellent. I always take reviews with a grain of salt as you normally get both ends of the spectrum from those you loved it and hated it and not a great deal in between. With QR it can depend on the crew, however I personally prefer QR J to EK J, there will be others who disagree.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qatar Airways' new Super Business Class: here's what we know