Review: Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite Business Class (Brisbane to Doha)

Upping the ante for business comfort and privacy, the Qsuite is first class all the way.

Overall Rating

By Chris Ashton, December 9 2022
Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite Business Class (Brisbane to Doha)
Route

Brisbane to Doha

Aircraft Type

A350

Airline

Qatar Airways

Flight

QR899

Cabin Class

Qsuite Business Class

Seat

8J

Notes
The Good
  • Diptyque toiletries and branded pyjamas
  • Complimentary WiFi for one hour
The Bad
  • Headphones uncomfortable for extended use
X-Factor
  • A cocooning space with ample room to stretch
  • Sensational dining, wine list and service
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

Gulf carriers frequently set the gold standard among the world’s elite airlines, raising the bar in service, style and comfort with seats – and suites – which deliver on the lofty promises of their oft-distinctive names. Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is one of them.

Available on Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 flights from Australia, though sadly not the A380 superjumbo, the flagship front and rear-facing business class has picked up an enviable list of accolades since its 2017 introduction. But does it live up to the hype?

Lounge

With no Brisbane lounge of its own, Qatar Airways directs passengers to the Air New Zealand lounge, located upstairs near Gate 81. A Oneworld member airline, frequent flyers and business class guests can also access the Qantas Brisbane International Lounge.

Positioned at the southern end of the Departures area, across from the Plaza Premium Lounge entrance, the Air New Zealand Lounge is around the half the size of its Qantas counterpart though spans only one level.

As a late evening flight, the lounge is home to only a handful of guests – a staffing ratio of almost 1:1 means empty plates and used glasses never stick around for long.

Sporting an attractive pink, black and white colour scheme (much like a neenish tart), the space is bathed in light and houses a wide range of seating choices, from dining tables to cosy lounges and deep armchairs you can really sink into and relax.

The lounge's stark white interior takes on a warmer hue at sunset.
The lounge's stark white interior takes on a warmer hue at sunset.

Dining is a standout too. The self-service buffet is stocked with an array of cold and hot dishes including yellow chicken curry on lemongrass rice, a quinoa and green bean salad, and sweet treats such as carrot cake squares and scones.

Peckish travellers will find a satisfying assortment of self-service fare.
Peckish travellers will find a satisfying assortment of self-service fare.

Beers, wines and soft drinks are on hand for those in the mood for a pre-flight drink, along with sparkling water on tap, tea and an automated coffee machine.

Rounding out the amenities are spotlessly clean showers, as well as a children’s play area.

Cold options include a fattoush salad, kale with cabbage and apple, and a tri-colour Mexican salad.
Cold options include a fattoush salad, kale with cabbage and apple, and a tri-colour Mexican salad.

It’s an inviting space and a people watcher’s delight, particularly for those seated in one of the lounges looking down into the departure area.

Sunset creates a stunning view outside.

Flight

Flying daily between Brisbane and the Qatari capital of Doha, the non-stop 14 hour and 45 minute flight – QR899 – sees wheels up from the Queensland capital at 8:10pm, touching down at Hamad International Airport at a bleary-eyed 3:55am.

Given the late/early arrival time, the 46-seat Qsuite business class is a desirable option, making it easy to stretch out and get a bit of shuteye. A spacious 1-2-1 configuration delivers aisle access to every guest, with 1.35 metre tall sliding doors bumping up the privacy. 

Stepping inside, the suite includes a thick comforting blanket, souvenir World Cup pillow, and limited-edition amenity kit.
Stepping inside, the suite includes a thick comforting blanket, souvenir World Cup pillow, and limited-edition amenity kit.

Passengers seated in business class receive a not-too-shabby checked luggage allowance of 40kg, in addition to two pieces of carry-on baggage totalling 15kg.

As a Virgin Australia partner, Velocity Frequent Flyers earn Velocity Points and Status Credits for flights operated by Qatar Airways, plus enjoy access to lounges, award seats and more.

The 21.5" monitor is like a private cinema screen in the sky.
The 21.5" monitor is like a private cinema screen in the sky.

Main cabin lights are switched off for most of the flight, with ambient lighting of burgundy and blue during mealtimes. It’s quite a dark cabin, even with the additional lighting in your suite. 

Colourful LED lighting changes the atmosphere in the cabin shortly after takeoff.
Colourful LED lighting changes the atmosphere in the cabin shortly after takeoff.

A special World Cup-inspired menu is offered on this flight, in addition to FIFA branded pyjamas and a leather amenities satchel (read: man bag) designed to accompany guests to matches.

The amenity kit includes Diptyque toiletries, plus socks, an eye mask and ear plugs.
The amenity kit includes Diptyque toiletries, plus socks, an eye mask and ear plugs.

The jersey-style pyjamas are comfortable and well-made from a sturdier material than those found on many airlines. 

Passengers flying during the World Cup receive branded pyjamas with 'Qatar 22' on the back.
Passengers flying during the World Cup receive branded pyjamas with 'Qatar 22' on the back.

Seat

More than just a reclining seat, tray table and touch-screen television, the Qatar Airways Qsuite business class is both luxurious to look at and to sit in: a sky high sanctuary.

Awash in LED lighting, the colour scheme is elegant and sophisticated, built around ‘Qatar burgundy’ offset by satin rose-golds, charcoals, slates and even marble-finish whites.

The sliding door adds to the feeling of privacy, though passerbys can still peek inside.
The sliding door adds to the feeling of privacy, though passerbys can still peek inside.

The cabin is a mix of front and rear facing seats, with solo options on the left and right hand sides, and comfortable twins in the centre. Couples seated together can combine their suites into a shared space and double bed, while individuals can lift a privacy divider.

Through some clever engineering and design, these central seats can also be combined into a quad, resulting in a social space for mid-air conversations or informal meetings in the air.

The Qsuite business class cabin includes 46 inflight retreats for singles, couples and groups.
The Qsuite business class cabin includes 46 inflight retreats for singles, couples and groups.

Here’s the cheat-sheet on choosing your Qsuite, regardless of which type of aircraft you're flying on:

  • seats with the letter B, D, G or J are forward-facing (D and G are the middle seats, and are furthest apart)
  • seats with the letter A, E, F or K are rearwards-facing (E and F are the middle seats, and are closest together so they can become a shared suite with a double bed)

Positioned towards the middle of the cabin, my seat – 8J – is one of the front facing suites.

The mixed material suite just makes you want to reach out and touch it all.
The mixed material suite just makes you want to reach out and touch it all.

Around the suite there’s a tray table tucked beneath the monitor (simply pull it towards you and fold it out to create a large desk), marble-look bench with a nook ideal for keeping your wallet or passport underneath, and a storage compartment under the cushioned armrest.

The storage compartment lifts up to create a larger armrest.
The storage compartment lifts up to create a larger armrest.

Inside the compartment is a pair of noise cancelling headphones and bottle of water, plus a couple of different-sized spots to place your belongings. It’s all thoughtfully designed.

The tray table tucks neatly beneath the monitor, with a touch and pull mechanism to slide it out.
The tray table tucks neatly beneath the monitor, with a touch and pull mechanism to slide it out.

Somewhat surprisingly given there’s a space for just about everything, there’s no dedicated spot to tuck your shoes, although you can squeeze them next to the storage compartment.

Seat controls are positioned just along the edge of the shelf, controlling everything from the angle of the backrest to adjusting your seat position forward and backward for mealtime. An instructional video explains the various functions just before takeoff.

Subtle elements like a lip on the shelf to stop your passport sliding during takeoff are greatly appreciated.
Subtle elements like a lip on the shelf to stop your passport sliding during takeoff are greatly appreciated.

When sleep beckons, the crew converts your seat to a lie-flat bed with a thin quilted mattress topper, plush blanket, and a white pillow case slipped over the decorative pillow.

A souvenir pillow tops off the freshly-made bed.
A souvenir pillow tops off the freshly-made bed.

At 80-inches long and 21.5-inches wide, the bed is an excellent length to stretch out. That said, you’ll want to first ensure you scooch up the seat a bit, otherwise the angled footwell will require you to move your body into a slightly offset position.

Work 

The Qsuite is designed like an office in the clouds, with the tray table a more than adequate work desk – the side table a convenient spot to spread out any notebooks, cameras or documents you might need. A 16-inch laptop looks positively tiny on the table.

USB and AC power outlets ensure devices remain charged up.
USB and AC power outlets ensure devices remain charged up.

High speed WiFi is available throughout the flight: members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty program receive an hour of complimentary access (non-members can also sign up for free mid-flight), while access for the duration can be purchased for US$10.

Once connected, the ​​WiFi delivered a very usable and responsive 5-8 Mbps on the download side, which made for zippy loading of webpages and quick dispatch of emails.

A 110V power outlet and USB port are on hand to keep your devices juiced up, while an additional USB and HDMI port are also located beneath the entertainment screen.

Those seated in one of the central quads can simply slide the monitor to one side, allowing face to face conversations. It’s a great feature, though I do wonder if anyone utilises it.

Meal

Once seated, a welcome drink is offered almost immediately (I opt for a glass of the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve and signature lime mocktail). 

Pre-flight drink options include Champagne, sparkling water, juice and a signature lime mocktail.
Pre-flight drink options include Champagne, sparkling water, juice and a signature lime mocktail.

Menus detailing the meals and drinks available on the flight are handed out soon after, with crew returning to take orders for both the dinner service and breakfast.

Snacks are also available at any time throughout.

A special menu featuring 'match favourites' is offered during the World Cup.
A special menu featuring 'match favourites' is offered during the World Cup.

Each meal service sees the table set with a crisp white tablecloth and napkin, plus a flickering tea light candle to help set the mood.

Meal 1 - Dinner Service

Meal service begins with a glass of wine and some warmed nuts. 

Warmed nuts with a zesty citrus twist.
Warmed nuts with a zesty citrus twist.

Kicking off with an amuse bouche – a tuna tataki delivering a burst of freshness, whetting the appetite for what’s to come – it’s followed by an ‘artisan’ bread basket with a sourdough roll, mini baguette and grain bun, plus your choice of infused olive oil.

It may be small but it packs a big flavour.
It may be small but it packs a big flavour.

Appetisers are either a classic Arabic mezze of hummus, tabbouleh and eggplant dip, or butter poached prawns served alongside heirloom tomatoes, lettuce and marie rose sauce.

I opt for the latter. The prawn is a little dry on its own, but the combined elements sing on the palate.

Butter poached Queensland prawns with marie rose, lettuce and heirloom tomaties.
Butter poached Queensland prawns with marie rose, lettuce and heirloom tomaties.

A choice of four mains is presented: Gippsland beef tenderloin and dauphinoise potato, red chicken curry on a bed of jasmine rice, baked WA crayfish with a creamy cheese sauce, and pan-fried potato gnocchi with sautéed kale. Again, the seafood option catches my eye. 

Grilled lemon adds a nice freshness to the rich seafood dish.
Grilled lemon adds a nice freshness to the rich seafood dish.

Served with dill-infused kipfler potato, grilled baby asparagus and heirloom tomatoes, the crayfish is plump and delicious, with the potato providing a nice textural contrast. My dish of the flight. 

That said, while I’m happy with the flavour and quality of both dishes, they do feature quite similar ingredients. In hindsight, I would choose the beef tenderloin. 

Warm banana pudding with crème anglaise and summer berries, and a selection of cheeses and gourmet ice cream complete the menu. Banada is the one for me... but I could have eaten two of them. 

A sweet sugar hit: warmed banana pudding drizzled with crème anglaise.
A sweet sugar hit: warmed banana pudding drizzled with crème anglaise.

Snack

Given the lengthy flight time, a variety of light options are available on call.

Themed around the world cup, these ‘half time favourites’ include carne asada nachos, sticky vegemite chicken tenders, and an outback burger and potato wedges, along with a platter of various dishes including a raspberry lamington, sausage roll and party pie.

While they all sound tempting, it’s the nachos that tickles my fancy. It comprises of black beans, pico salsa, cheese sauce and corn chips, lavished with a spoonful of fresh guacamole. It hits the spot, although it would be better if the cheese was melted. 

A pineapple margarita mocktail goes nicely with the nachos.
A pineapple margarita mocktail goes nicely with the nachos.

Meal 2 - Breakfast

Around three hours prior to landing (though only an hour after nachos) breakfast begins.

The usual suspects of fresh cut fruit, yoghurt with berries and granola, and a selection of cereals are offered as a starter, in addition to the more enticing smoked salmon with roasted chicken.

A trio of baked goods – a muffin, croissant and sourdough roll – make an appearance too. 

Mains include a cheese omelette with grilled chicken sausage, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on sourdough, buttermilk pancakes with toasted macadamias and strawberries, and coconut porridge with mango, chia seed and manuka honey.

I choose fresh fruit, followed by scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, served with tomatoes, avocado and rocket. It’s a delicious dish and an ideal lighter option for the early (or late, depending on how you look at it) landing in Doha.

Just before descent, a small box with two Läderach Swiss chocolates is provided. 

Entertainment & Service

Service is a genuine highlight from the trip. The cabin attendant introduces himself before guiding me to my seat and explaining the various features and taking meal orders.

Comparing it to other airlines operating from Australia, the service feels more like what you’d expect at a five star hotel – a personal butler whenever needed. Nothing is too much trouble, although a little more personality wouldn’t go astray.

When it comes to entertainment, there really is something for everyone: movies, television, music and games, as well as a live-stream of the World Cup during my flight.

Accessed via a 21.5-inch monitor – there’s the option of using the touchscreen, a wired remote or setting up your personal device as a remote via a QR code – the Oryx entertainment system lists more than 4000 programs, from recent blockbusters to niche favourites and old classics.

The interface is sleek, modern and responsive with an almost never-ending array of content. I scroll through movies for a good two minutes and don’t reach the bottom of the list.

Sound quality and noise cancellation is excellent, although the headphones aren’t the most comfortable for an extended period. It’s nothing a bit of readjusting or short break can’t fix.

Verdict

As expected, the Qatar Airways Qsuite is an exceptional business class that does indeed live up to the hype. In fact, I’d say it exceeds it, with the quality of finishes, level of service and comfort leaving many of Qatar Airways’ rivals in its wake.

The ability to ‘dine on demand’ – setting the times you would prefer to eat, or even opting to have a second dinner service instead of breakfast if you so desire – is also a huge plus.

While an evening departure and early morning arrival perhaps isn’t for everyone, it does provide greater options for connections from Doha to the rest of the network. And, given the lengthy lie-flat bed, there’s a higher than average chance you’ll land in the wee hours of the morning feeling rested, with a short power nap no doubt seeing you through to the end of the day.

The writer travelled as a guest of Qatar Airways

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 66

Mmmmm, neenish tart. My favourite.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 188

After booking my Aug 23 J flight to the UK with another airline and noting that only 8 seats were taken, I recently did a dummy booking for Qatar. Only a few seats left and price had climbed another $1k. Clearly everybody wants to fly Qatar.

QFF

31 Mar 2015

Total posts 8

If ever i have a choice of QR or another airline I will always take QR, even if it is more. Even flying on their older planes is still a joy. The Doha airport is one of the best places in the world to transit, especially the Business lounge.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2022

Total posts 3

QR really sets the standard for business class. I travel overseas frequently and their business clsss offering is on par or better than QF first. 

You can actually get good deals with QR from time to time too, I find their flights out of KLIA are very reasonably priced. 

06 Jan 2023

Total posts 1

After reading this review I checked out the QATAR flights. They must have changed the flight time and type of plane pretty quickly.

The flight now leaves Brisbane 10.55pm and no longer a plane with Qsuite. The plane is now a 77W and accoring to Seat Guru it is the 77W that is 6 across in business.

Did some dummy bookings for  October this year to Europe return in J both as a paid bookimg and using Velocity Points. There is award availability using Velocity Points. As to a paid booking on the Virgin website return fares are around $8200.00 in J but on the Brisbane/Doha/Brisbane flights that is on the old 77W which does not have Qsuites. 

Sub standard product from Brisbane in my view (though I have not flown QATAR). At that price and product SQ for me. Would consider once Brisbane has the Qsuites.


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