Surprise: Qatar Airways’ “Super Business Class” Is Delayed Again

There’s no one in the airline industry quite like Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways. I don’t think there’s another airline executive who says so much that they don’t follow through on.

Since early last year Al Baker has been telling us that Qatar Airways will be introducing a new “super business class” product, and that after we see it there is “really not need for first class” (which is a convenient statement, since his two biggest competitors have first class on most of their planes).

The new product was supposed to be unveiled a while ago, and he actually said that by this year Qatar’s current business class product would be obsolete.

Qatar-Airways-777-Business-Class-03
Qatar Airways’ current 777 business class

The last update we got was in March, when Al Baker said that he was hoping to do a global media launch in November, and have the product installed on the first 777-300ER by December.

Well, it’s now November, so where’s Qatar Airways’ new business class?

I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn that it’s delayed again. Per AusBT, the airline is now pushing back the announcement of their super business class to March 2017. Supposedly the delay is tied to the delivery schedule of new aircraft, though I’m mildly skeptical.

Qatar Airways was always planning on doing a global media launch before the first plane with the product was in service. Even if planes are having delayed deliveries, why not just reveal their innovative product to get people excited? Or I guess you could say he just prefers to keep us in suspense. 😉

I’m guessing it’s for one of two reasons — either because the product doesn’t actually exist, or because they had exactly the same idea Delta did. Delta has already beat Qatar Airways to the punch in announcing a business class “suite” product, where each seat features door and direct aisle access.

Delta-One-Suite

For all of Al Baker’s hype, it sure would be embarrassing if his concept was identical to Delta’s, no?

So, what do you think — is the delay truly due to the “aircraft delivery schedule,” or are they still figuring out the product?

(Tip of the hat to Rafi)

Comments

  1. I’m guessing they’re still figuring out the product, because AAB mentioned that the center seats will be able to convert into a double bed, which Delta’s product won’t be able to do. Supposedly Delta’s business suites were a proposal to Qatar at first, and when it got rejected, the manufacturer (Thomson, I believe) shopped it to other airlines.

  2. Debit, How are Lucky’s comments racist at all? He hates on Delta management even more. And Al Baker is ridiculous no matter where he’s from.

  3. Debit,

    You’re an absolute idiot if you think there’s a single sentence in this post that even hints toward racism.

    Nice try though.

  4. I have said this before, but I love their current 777 business class. At least when compared to their 787 and A350 business. True, it is a 2x2x2 configuration, but I find it to be very spacious. I fly Qatar a few times a year so don’t mind the delay in their new super business class.

  5. Here come the fanbois..

    When Ben criticizes Delta (or any other US airline he doesn’t like) he goes after the corporation but the posts featuring Baker invariably have an ad hominem and / or mocking element about how ‘ridiculous’ and ‘colorful’ ‘his excellency’ is.

  6. I am pretty good at catching racial sensitivy but i didnt notice anything here… Was there anything related to race?

    Anyway i wanna hear more from nolan. Does the product even exist?

    I think the news was out a few weeks ago that they plan to do it in march in berlin. But thanks for keeping us updated

  7. Because AAB IS Ridiculous and Colorful! The man asks for the hyperbole because everything he does is hyperbolic.

    Sorry for using such big words, Debit, I know they confuse you (see, ad hominem in action!)

  8. It’s really no surprise. This was planned to debut on the A350. As A350 deliveries are delayed, the new seat gets pushed back since the seats are tied to specific aircraft numbers many months in advance. It will be interesting to see if any of the 777 retrofits are completed before the A350.

  9. nice try debit. except that Lucky and just about everyone else thrived on bashing richard anderson by name, and other blogs did the same with the old united guy. you’re looking for something that isn’t there

  10. @John S – I fully agree with you. I’ve flown QR business class on several different aircraft but find their 777 hard product to be the best. Yes, it’s a little old fashioned and the window seats don’t have direct aisle access but I find the seats to be much more spacious than the reverse herringbone seats on their 787/A380/A350.

    Service is consistently good and sometimes feel it’s even better than the service you get in EK F.

  11. “Well, it’s now November, so where’s Qatar Airways’ new business class?”

    It’s Nov 2nd as I post this and you think that on Day 1 of a month, a new hard product will be launched?!

    Silly.

  12. QR’s Super Business Class product has been in the works for several years and the concept was finalised earlier in 2016. Seat certification and production isn’t something that can happen in a few months so the story that QR might be delaying due to the DeltaOne to make changes might make nice blog material but isn’t realistic to anyone who has worked on aircraft BFE.

    Product was supposed to unveiled in November 2016 and flying in January or February 2017. Now it won’t fly until later in the 1st half of 2017 and therefore QR wants to make the unveil closer to that date during the ITB in Berlin. This is consistent with QR’s previous product launches and unveils.

  13. I also enjoy the 777 biz seat on QR. I don’t enjoy the lack of wifi on a 16 hour flight. That’s about the only reason I would go out of my way to book the 787/A350 J seat over the 777 J seats.

  14. From this end of the pond rumors seem to point more towards, A seat was designed for Delta and Delta rejected it two years ago and ultimately went with the less known Thompson Vantage XL. I can almost say without a ounce of doubt that QR got their hands on the product pitched to Delta and just went the next step and making it a double bed (I am willing to bet DL did not want to figure out how to ungroup the two seats to sell them as a single suite). The product then becomes close to what DL has now they are buying time to differentiated the seat…….here’s a hint you noticed Delta did what appeared to be a soft launch without and rumors getting out before!

  15. Al Baker is NOT the Trump of the airline industry.

    Baker knows what he’s doing and he’s created one of the best airlines in the world.

    Trump’s created a trail of garbage.

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