Three superb new business class seats taking wing in 2017

By David Flynn, May 25 2017

We may be halfway through a busy year in the business travel world, but three leading airlines have yet to roll out their latest and greatest seats for high flyers. Here's a look at what's ahead.

Qatar Airways Qsuite

What: Qatar Airways' extraordinary Qsuite business class suites include sliding doors for privacy...

... middle seats which convert into a double bed...

... and even allow two sets of middle seats to be opened up into a somewhat shared space for four friendly flyers.

Qatar Airways says this 'super business class' seat will make first class obsolete on all but selected flagship aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

When: A factory-fresh Boeing 777-300ER will be the first jet sporting the Qsuites, which will debut on flights between Doha and London in June 2017.

What's next: The Oneworld member and de facto Qantas partner will upgrade all its Boeing 777s and Airbus A350s to the Qsuites, with modified versions of the design bound for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A380 superjumbos... meaning that we'll eventually see the Qsuites in Australian skies as each aircraft type is refitted and rostered onto our routes.

Delta Air Lines Delta One

What: Delta Air Lines is also raising the bar for business class on its new Airbus A350s with first-like suites.

Based on an upscale version of the same Thompson Vantage XL seat adopted by Qantas for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Delta One suites feature privacy doors to cocoon travellers in their own space...

... complete with roomy stowage compartments for shoes, headphones and laptops, benches to comfortably spread out your work, and an 18-inch HD video screen with AC and USB power sockets.

When: Delta's first A350 this week began test flights at Airbus' A350 factory in Toulouse, France, ahead of an expected delivery to the airline in late July.

What's next: Delta hasn't revealed which routes will be first to see the A350 and its snazzy suites but a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the Airbus A350s "will be used on some Asia Pacific routes" – a set which includes Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

An upgrade of Delta's Boeing 777 fleet, which currently includes Sydney, will follow through to 2020.

Singapore Airlines new A380 business class

What: Singapore Airlines' decade-old Airbus A380 fleet is getting a refresh, with new superjumbo jets launching all-new designs for SQ's first class suites (which are being relocated to the upper deck) and business class seats.

Expected to springboard from today's Boeing 777-300ER 'Next Generation' business class (above), which Singapore Airlines launched in July 2013, the new seats have already been showcased to selected top-tier KrisFlyer travellers to fine-tune more practical aspects of the design.

(This same business class seat will also appear on a new ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350 due in late 2018, which Singapore Airlines will use to restart non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles, New York and a third as-yet-unnamed US destination.)

When: The first of five new A380s is slated for delivery in October 2017 and will mark the 10th anniversary of the Airbus A380's first commercial flight, although there's a bit of flex in that timetable. Singapore Airlines has previously tipped the inaugural flight and first regular route will be Singapore-Sydney.

What's next: Singapore-London is likely to be the next hero route for the new A380s.

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.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

Notice 2 of the 3 new designs rated as the top 3 J here hv privacy door whereas no J in service today anywhere worldwide hv this feature.

I hv been predicting privacy door will be the nex big feature re the future trend of J design for most/all longhaul carriers.  The previous big leap in J design feature was direct aisle access for every seat.

LP
LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 45

The J configurations that stagger or dovetail seats tend to leave half the aisle seats rather exposed (with the others closer to centre or windows). I think the addition of a privacy door is a big improvement to these cabins - even if overall space doesn't increase.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 45

Privacy doors are not really important for me since these doors are not that high and anyone walking in the aisle can peep in. I would put a premium on 180deg full flat seat, direct aisle access, forward facing and wider seats.  Most of the staggered biz class seats are really narrow, worst at the leg well.  I can never move my legs around and I often feel like I am lying in a coffin rather than a biz class seat.  And I don't like backward or diaganol facing seats.
Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 396

Qantas take note, while your new A330 J class suites are a major step up, it appears from above pics and options these are all roomier and more private than the QF offering. Just as QF upgrades it's J class it seems that it will quickly become second rate just as happened with MKII beds -outdated very quickly.
undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

.VirginAustralia take note....and MANY other airlines take note...blah blah blah...'it appears the selected pics and options' are ...blah blah blah'..BUT it's ONLY QANTAS that will become second rate very quickly.???? Let the QANTAS bashing continue!! LOL
Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 396

I don't understand; why is it "Qantas bashing" per se? It's Qantas that's really not meeting standards or else there'd be nothing to say other than compliment them. The New J seats are not to the standards of the featured 3 and yes toilets in Business class are being taken away....paying customers are allowed to show displeasure or in your words "bash" when they see other first rate carriers being super innovative in their product. They hype it up but in reality this article shows their new J product is simply behind already. That said they have a chance to tweak the A380 upgrades and new 789's AND STOP CANABILISING BUSINESS CLASS LAVS!
AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 514

Joe when Qantas introduced their new seats coming up to 3 years ago they were pack leading for a regional aircraft. Note regional aircraft and on par with many long haul products. 

What we are seeing here is the rate of change in seat products. Introduce something now and in 23 years the competitors will have something better. That doesn't mean you must or indeed can afford to then replace again. Seats need to earn their development costs. 

25 May 2017

Total posts 2

Agree undertheradar. The Qantas bashing never stops. 
The Delta seat is the same Vantage XL as Qantas, but with a door. Can't really be any roomier or a huge step up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 64

While QANTAS is making such a big deal about the 787 with its already out dated business class and mind you 1 bathroom for J class they do need to look at why they continue to launch out dated products. This is why I choose not to fly QF as the product is so lacking and 5 years+ behind its competitors.  Very smart move of Virgin to align even further with SQ. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 326

What drugs are you on??? The QF 787-9 has 3 toilets for J (potentially a couple of them may also be used by Premium Y, although that's still up in the air). 

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 39

Don't we all just love the results of competition.   I'm not sure that I need a door on my suite when I travel but why not.   I find the QF J class loo situation quite amusing.  My last LAXMEL flight with them I found myself rushing through breakfast to beat the queue for the loo.   I never feel like that on other airlines.   I like QF and don't want to bash on about it but hopefully they will make some improvements with the bathroom ratios in the future 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 210

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.  IMHO a door is a great way to make a cabin feel more cramped.  The new QF J class gives a sense of privacy without the need for a door.  Those new seats don't appear to be huge leaps forward except the option of having the double bed, 4 seater dining.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

I completely agree, the door can make an open feeling cabin feel cramped in a already cramped tube packed with people.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 403

Should the "roominess" of the QF 787 J suite be judged on experiences with the A330 version?  The 787 cabin is wider the A330.  I hope that that some of that extra width is in the seats and not all in aisles.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 28

I saw the Qatar launch product and agree it feel rather cramped.  It is a nice gimmick but ultimately a door of mid chest height isn't that revolutionary.  Also backwards facing seats are AWFUL and a big gamble for Qatar.  As for Qantas - look at the seat numbers vs competitors for the 787.  I think they are creating a really exciting experience and for once I too would like people to stop the roo shooting, especially when no one has seen this cabin. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

Thai airways need to do something with the J class on SYD - BKK routes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 115

Unlikely/a certainty. The 747s they operate will be phased out in a couple of years, so they won't be upgraded, but whatever replaces it should be fine. Their 777 and A380 products are pretty good.

22 Jun 2016

Total posts 16

It seems that the seating revolution is coming full circle, ie., J is becoming the new first, PE is heading towards J, and the new economy X will slot into the old PE hole. 

No doubt pricing will follow the trend.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 45

Not so good news for me then.  If J becomes the new F, I will not be able to enjoy full flat bed and direct aisle access seats as my employer will only pay for J.  It will take some years for the new J (a.k.a PE now) to evolve again, by then I would have retired.  As a retiree without income and travel cost on my own, I would have to get use to Y, which will only get more cramped.

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