I recently had the chance to fly the new Qatar Airways Boeing 787-9 business class suite from Milan to Doha. While I’ll review the entire experience in a separate post, I wanted to first share my specific impressions about the cabin and seat.
What’s interesting is that this is an all new business class seat type for which Qatar Airways is the launch customer, and we can soon expect this on other airlines as well.
Why did Qatar Airways introduce a new business class seat?
Qatar Airways is known for its incredible Qsuites business class product, which is regarded by many to be one of the best business class products in the world.
Qatar Airways recently started taking delivery of Boeing 787-9s, so why would the airline install an all new business class product, rather than Qsuites?
The reason is because the fuselage of the 787 is a bit narrower than that of the A350 and 777, and the 787 cabin allegedly isn’t wide enough to have four Qsuites per row. The 787 cabin is only a few inches narrower than the A350 cabin, which is why this might come as a surprise to some.
So Qatar Airways decided to introduce a new business class seat on these planes. These seats are also allegedly lighter than Qsuites, which helps reduce fuel burn.
As of now we should only expect these seats to be installed on the 30 Boeing 787-9s than the carrier has on order. It’s not expected that these seats will be installed on other aircraft, though who knows. Qatar Airways does have 30 Boeing 787-8s featuring standard reverse herringbone seats, so I wouldn’t be surprised if those planes eventually get these new seats (but that hasn’t been confirmed).
What’s Qatar Airways’ new 787-9 business class seat like?
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787-9s have 30 business class suites, each featuring direct aisle access and a door. The business class cabin takes up the entire space between doors one and two, and there’s even a spacious entryway as you enter through the second door.
I think I’d mostly closely compare Qatar Airways’ new business class to a hybrid of British Airways’ A350 Club Suites and Virgin Atlantic’s A350 Upper Class, only better. The cabin is in both a reverse herringbone and herringbone configuration.
Seats along the windows are in a reverse herringbone configuration, which is to say that they face the windows.
Meanwhile seats along the center are in a herringbone configuration, so they face the aisle and the two center seats face (slightly) away from one another.
There’s a very high privacy partition along the center seats, which is ideal if you’re traveling alone. Fortunately that partition can also be lowered all the way, in the event that you’re traveling with someone.
Each seat has a door, though the door doesn’t quite close all the way, much like you’ll find on Delta’s A350s, for example.
One thing Qatar Airways always does exceptionally well is attention to detail, and that applies here as well. The finishes are simply stunning and well thought out, from the beautiful lamp next to each seat, to the bluetooth audio, to wireless charging. Sometimes you see seats where you wonder if the person who designed them has ever actually flown in business class, and that’s not a feeling I had with these seats.
Much like with Qsuites, the tray table can be extended from in front of the seat, and is sturdy and well designed.
The one thing that’s lacking with these seats is storage. There’s a small storage compartment along the side of the seats that the headphones go into, but otherwise the seats don’t have much storage.
In bed mode these seats are quite comfortable as well. I’d say they’re most comparable to reverse herringbone seats in sleeping mode, though I found the seats to feel a bit less tight in the footwell than most reverse herringbone products out there, which is good.
As mentioned above, a partition can be lowered by the center seats for those traveling together. However, unlike in Qsuites, don’t expect a double bed. While you can fully lower the partition and have your heads next to one another, the seats otherwise angle away from one another.
How does Qatar Airways’ new business class compare to Qsuites?
Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 business class is very good. I’d say it’s probably the best Boeing 787 business class product out there. I probably prefer the window seats in Apex Suites, though realistically only one in three seats in business class will have that kind of space, while the others don’t.
How does this product compare to Qatar Airways’ Qsuites, though? Personally I’d say Qsuites is still a bit better. Ultimately that’s a testament to Qatar Airways getting it right the first time around. There are a lot of similarities between the seats, so why do I prefer the original Qsuites?
- Qsuites offers a more customizable seating arrangement — you can get a true double bed in the center seats, or even create a “pod” with four seats
- Qsuites offers a larger storage compartment to the side of the seat, which isn’t available with the new business class
- The Qsuites door closes completely, so it offers a little more privacy
Interestingly as of now Qatar Airways isn’t using 787-9s for any ultra long haul flights (even though the plane has the range), but rather exclusively for flights to Europe, Asia, and Africa. The aircraft is ultimately replacing other aircraft that primarily operated regionally, so maybe that’ll continue to be the case. Talk about an amazing product for medium haul flights.
What other airlines will have Adient Ascent seats?
While the Qsuites product is exclusively available on Qatar Airways, the new 787-9 business class seat will be on other airlines as well. Specifically, Qatar Airways chose the Adient Ascent seat. We know that Hawaiian Airlines will have this on its Boeing 787-9s, and it’s also rumored that American Airlines may introduce this as its new business class seat on future Boeing 787s.
One thing that makes the Adient Ascent seat unique is how customizable it is. I’m not just talking about the finishes, but rather the layout of the cabin as such can be modified significantly. For example, airlines can also select to have a more forward-facing configuration in the center. Hawaiian Airlines plans to do that, and have a double bed in alternating rows in the center section.
Qatar Airways has introduced a new business class product on its Boeing 787-9s, which is a customized version of the Adient Ascent seat. This is different than Qsuites, and the reason for this is that Qsuites was apparently too wide for the 787, and on top of that the new product is significantly lighter.
I had the chance to fly Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 business class suite, and was impressed. The seat is comfortable, and the finishes are exceptionally well done, with impressive attention to detail. I do still have a preference for Qsuites, though, especially if traveling with someone.
Stay tuned, as I’ll have a full review of my flight in the coming days.
What do you make of Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 business class?
the seat is very amazing, no question, but those pillows man!
I prefer the 787-9 seats over Qsuite and prefer the older lie flat product above both of those.
Qsuites did not have enough vertical space in the cubby for me. The tray is mounted too far below and takes up too much space, losing an inch or two. Made it hard to bend at the knees while lying down. Didn't help the whole experience that the cabin was uncomfortably warm nearly the entire flight,...
I prefer the 787-9 seats over Qsuite and prefer the older lie flat product above both of those.
Qsuites did not have enough vertical space in the cubby for me. The tray is mounted too far below and takes up too much space, losing an inch or two. Made it hard to bend at the knees while lying down. Didn't help the whole experience that the cabin was uncomfortably warm nearly the entire flight, despite asking FA's to make it cooler. 14 hours of sweating while in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, isn't my idea of a good time.
787-9 seats were similar to Qsuites, but I appreciated the wireless charger and phone holder, in addition to other storage areas. A bit narrow in the shoulders when flat, but I could bend at the knees when on my back.
The older product (I don't remember which aircraft), while not enclosed, had a lot of pitch, better width, and more padding. This was certainly more comfortable to sleep on than the other two.
If you're using a MacBook, you need to bring an adapter or extension as the plug socket is upside down and it's not possible to fit the MacBook adapter in
Time to get a GaN charger.
It feels like a waste for just a few inches difference. But the lower weight makes sense. Who cares, it's a new Business class seat to experience!
Really don't like the q-suites. Too claustrophobic for me. Feel trapped and cramped. The blanket doesn't help because its so thick. Maybe if the table wasn't where it is, it might help. Felt like I was having anxiety attacks flying MAD-DOH-SYD. No thanks.
YES! I agree about the tray and just made a comment about it. I thought I was probably the only one. I'm not a tall guy at all, but laying flat and bending at the knees was impeded by the tray location. I feel it takes up too much room in the footwell/cubby area.
"Each seat has a door, though the door doesn’t quite close all the way, much like you’ll find on Delta’s A350s, for example."
not following this statement, doors on D1 Suites close all the way..
I am wondering if I am the only one who is having issues with the current trend of (almost) total isolation between the passengers in premium classes, with the exception of the Q-suite. I have six children. When they were small we travelled between the US and Europe a couple times every year. With a few exceptions we fly in the first class, and I bought seats even to 3 months olds. Hard to imagine...
I am wondering if I am the only one who is having issues with the current trend of (almost) total isolation between the passengers in premium classes, with the exception of the Q-suite. I have six children. When they were small we travelled between the US and Europe a couple times every year. With a few exceptions we fly in the first class, and I bought seats even to 3 months olds. Hard to imagine how toddlers or even younger passengers could travel in a these new premium stalls. And yes, I know, I should not be complaining, but instead having joy for being able to fly again, regardless of the class.
TPG already has a review of these new seats, for anyone who can't wait...
Who greenlit those god-awful quote pillows
It's like someone's tacky aunt got to add one thing to an otherwise gorgeous product
Qatar's interiors look flawless and then those awful pillows, look like someone fished them out of a clearance bin at the TJ Maxx in Doha
Whats with the door not closing? Seems if you fit a door it should close, otherwise whats the point, afterall other doors close fully.
It can't be security risk, as none of these are so high you cannot look over the door, not that you would see much through the crack anyway.
And this is why I'm one of the few people still praising 2-2-2 business.
Why? Leisure airlines. When you fly to Fiji, are you more likely to be in a suit & tie and trailing a laptop & briefcase, or in a floral shirt with your significant other alongside? Private, quasi antisocial seating is not always the way forward.
I hadn't yet been able to try 2-2-2 in a fully-flat layout, but Fiji Airways (as stated in your reply) provided an angled-flat seat and a 2-2-2 layout, which is uncomfortable and separated couples when in bed mode. Besides, couples traveling in Q-suites can opt for a set of double-bed side-by-side seats, which ensures both intimacy and privacy.
Ben, as a point of interest, my daughter is a design engineer with Adient in Huntington Beach and has worked on components for this very seat. She has made me aware of the engineering that goes into such a seat. I will have to send her your review. Thanks.
Out of curiosity, what specific plane did you fly on? I flew on A7-BHC In December on DOH-ISB, but in Economy. I saw that this plane operated to MXP this past week. The Business class really looks nice. I have flown Qsuites as well as their A350 and 787 business class, as well as their old 777 configuration. These seats, while not Qsuite, looked really nice, and a step up from their already great 787...
Out of curiosity, what specific plane did you fly on? I flew on A7-BHC In December on DOH-ISB, but in Economy. I saw that this plane operated to MXP this past week. The Business class really looks nice. I have flown Qsuites as well as their A350 and 787 business class, as well as their old 777 configuration. These seats, while not Qsuite, looked really nice, and a step up from their already great 787 business class.
I assume QR has no plans to utilize the 787 range. Their cabin configuration is meant to be for medium haul flights, and I cannot see them utilizing it for long haul given that they have many planes with Qsuites. Ultimately, QR chose this products purpose to be for short haul, and I doubt they would put a "inferior" product on longer routes unless they have to.
Really hoping AA will choose the Adient Ascent seat with the double bed configuration a la Hawaiian.
Had the chance to try this new cabin layout recently (DOH-KTM flight), and could compare it to a BCN-DOH in the 'normal' cabin of the 787-8 as well as the Qsuites on other segments. This is really nice and as good as it can be. I prefer the QSuites of course on the 777 or 350 but otherwise this is an awesome, quasi-flawless product.