Review: Qatar Airways Qsuites Business Class 777-300ER

My friend Yaroslav had the chance to recently try Qatar Airways’ new business class product, which became available between Doha and London as of this past weekend. While I still hope to review the product soon, I’m thrilled he shared his experience, given how new this product still is.

Yaroslav is a software entrepreneur and traveller from Kiev, Ukraine. In his free time he enjoys photography, filmmaking and writing endeavours, which he shares on his Apertoura.com project (https://medium.com/@apertoura)


For the past several years I have been fascinated with the rapid and continuing improvements that are happening in airlines’ premium cabins. Within less than a decade the whole concept of what a business class seat should be has shifted significantly. From just a recliner — to fully-flat, aisle accessible beds, offices and dining rooms — at 41,000 feet.

Earlier this year Qatar Airways announced a further improvement to the concept. Named QSuites, these fully enclosed seats, available as a single, double or quadruple pod, promise to enable passengers to spend time together with their family while flying or get work done in teams.

Having plans to visit Doha around the dates of the scheduled commencement into service, I decided to book my flight to Qatar via London, rather than Frankfurt, which would have been more convenient. Although Qatar Airways is infamous for their unpredictable delays and unrealistic promises — I thought the worst case scenario would be an extra hour or two spent in transit and I can easily switch to QR’s A350, A380 or 787 all of which fly from DOH to LHR daily (avoiding the significantly worse pre-QSuites 777 business class). And they all feature the great reverse herringbone seat, Wi-Fi and in case of the A380 — a bar. Not a bad proposition either way 🙂

For days I’ve constantly awaited alerts from flightradar24 about the whereabouts of A7-BED, the first 777–300ER in Qatar Airways’ fleet to be reconfigured with QSuites. At the end of May it left for Zurich, the location of the reconfiguration, had done a test flight for a few hours over Switzerland, flew to Le Bourget — to be demonstrated to the world and finally on the 24th of June — flew back to Doha, for the inaugural QSuites flight to London Heathrow, flight QR7. That gave me confidence that I will have the chance to try out their new product on the following day.

I left Paris early in the morning, taking Air France’s 787 (operated currently once per day with flight AF1680) and had almost 8 hours to kill until departing to Doha in the afternoon. The benefit was that I could check out the Qatar Premium Lounge in detail. The lounge is located in Terminal 4, nearby gate 6 and is open from 5AM to 9:30PM and welcomes Qatar Airways first and business class passengers.


The centerpiece of the lounge is a beautiful fountain

As I arrived during the morning rush hour — the lounge was fairly packed with most of the casual seating occupied, but the À la carte restaurant wasn’t as full. It’s amazing how Qatar Airways operates a decent restaurant for just 6 flights a day. At 11AM they were finishing serving the breakfast.


Qatar lounge granola and orange juice


Qatar lounge buffet display of fruits, smoothies and such

The lounge is beautiful. It isn’t too large, but if you arrive early — there will never be a lack of space. After the morning flight left, I was the only passenger for at least an hour and a half. The staff had been very pleasant and helpful, with a separate person greeting me, taking my luggage, providing a tour of the lounge, accepting an order, serving it and also — inquiring if I had enjoyed my meal. It is not understaffed for sure!


Qatar Premium Lounge dining area


Qatar Premium Lounge dining area


A snack station, where you can get chocolates, nuts, candy and put it all into a cute take-out style box to munch on at your seat


Qatar Premium Lounge


Qatar Premium Lounge


Qatar Premium Lounge

With several hours passing in work-related matters I was ready to have lunch. The staff had changed the buffet and presented Eid holiday menus along with the regular ones.

The lounge also has shower and business facilities, but as I didn’t use them I will not be reviewing them.


A delayed QR A380, with EK’s A380 taking off in the background

Hours pass quickly with good service, palatable food and comfortable seating and I was ready to try out the intriguing QSuites.


A7-BED, the first reconfigured 777–300ER with QSuites

The Qatar Airways Premium Lounge is located literally 30 seconds away from gate 6 gate, so moments later I found myself entering the coveted plane.


A7-BED, the first reconfigured 777–300ER with QSuites

I swiftly made my way down the jet bridge with excitement. For some reason it was winding and too long, giving second thoughts of whether I had gone in the right direction. Yet, shortly after I saw flight attendants greeting passengers at the plane’s door.

The crew seemed very cheerful about the new product and warmly introduced me to the second QR8 flight with QSuites. I think they were glad I was as happy as they were in trying out the new configuration, as for most people onboard this was a great, totally unexpected surprise. A very significant upgrade over the previous 2–2–2 configuration of the 777–300ER.

It was time to see the innovative hard product in real life!


Qatar Airways QSuites


Qatar Airways QSuites

The design is stunning. It’s all new, of course, fresh from the factory, with bright purple (Qatar colored) paint that gives off some alien vibe. The look is very sophisticated, you can easily get the impression that you are in a denser ANA or Emirates 777–300ER first class cabin. Absolutely does not look like business class. With each suite’s walls being fairly tall and overhead luggage bins being present — there is a small feeling that the cabin is very packed, but that would be the only drawback in terms of the general cabin look and feel.

The business class cabin is divided into 2 section, the front having 24 seats (12 single window seats and in the center — 3 quadruple seats, or 6 double seats, depending on the party who had booked). The back having 18 seats (8 single window seats, 2 quadruple and 1 double, or 5 doubles).

There are some complex rules as to how the different kinds of seats can be booked, but it all boils down to the number of passengers in your reservation. As I was traveling single — I could only choose the single (window) seats. When the Quadruple seats are broken down (i.e. a couple books half of it) — it opens to single travelers as well. And if you are a party of at least 3 — you can book the Quadruple.


Qatar Airways QSuites

During check-in I selected seat 8K, which resides in the rear cabin and is a rear-facing seat. The single window seats alternate between front facing seats, closer to the aisle, and rear facing seats, closer to the window.

While photographing my suite, the flight attendant who would be taking care of me, came to introduce herself. Her name was Kantamala and from her enthusiasm about the QSuite and Qatar Airways in general — I could anticipate attentive and pleasant service for the flight ahead. To my comment about this seat trouncing certain first class offerings, she responded that this was first class, just sold as business class. Confusing as that may be, their slogan is First in Business.

A hot towel and refreshing but sour lime & mint was brought shortly, just as I noticed the two pillows (a small one and a larger one), as well as a very soft and fuzzy blanket placed in the suite


Qatar Airways QSuites

The cabin was quickly filling up, with all but 1 seat occupied — a front-facing single seat. I tried it out and failed to find anything different from mine, it’s just rotated 180 degrees. In terms of privacy — they are the same, both have a door that closes. I like photographing the landscape during flight, so being a bit closer to the window is nice.


Qatar Airways QSuites

I didn’t have a chance to experience the quadruple seat, only briefly reviewed it with the passengers nearby, but essentially the seat is identical to the single ones, but they are together. As you can see, the quadruple seat has two passengers sitting together in very close proximity and two being well divided by the storage/handrest and divider.


Qatar Airways QSuites quadruple seat

Dividers can be raised and lowered by crew to accommodate the passengers. Although the idea of seating 4 people together provides great opportunities to communicate when traveling in a group, I see some scenarios where it won’t really work out.


Qatar Airways QSuites quadruple seat

For example, when 2 couples travel — it’s great. One couple could take the “close together” seats on the inbound, the other couple on the outbound, it doesn’t matter. But what if it’s work colleagues? As the “close together” or “honeymoon” seats convert into a double bed, wouldn’t it be awkward to sleep so close to a coworker? I guess the divider can be raised but you would still be very close to each other. It would work best for families of 4 though.

The ergonomics of the seat are top notch. Everything is located within reach and intuitively understood.

The Oryx One IFE system has a large screen, with crisp HD. The controller looks like a portable gaming console and is responsive, with a high resolution screen.

An abundance of ports — HDMI for displaying your own media, socket, double USB ports, slot for headphones and an NFC reader (did not try due to Apple’s iOS being extremely limited in this department).

The control buttons and a shelf, convenient for storing any devices you might be charging from the USB/Socket ports just below.


Qatar Airways QSuites

Most controls are done from this button panel — do not disturb to prevent FAs from checking in on you, the light above, upright, lounging and bed seat position, massage, lumbar support, and seat recline/movement.

On my right was the single large (fits 13′ MacBook Pro) storage facility, with a bottle of Vittel water, airline and Duty Free magazines, and headphones (noice cancelling, but average sounding, BOSE would be nice to have).


Qatar Airways QSuites


Qatar Airways QSuites

The storage nook also serves as an elbow rest that can be extended or retracted.

Amenity kits from Bric’s and Monte Vibiano were placed in each suite. Containing cream, facial mist, lip balm, eyeshade, and a pair of socks. Dental and shaving kits, as well as hand lotion were offered in the lavatories.

The table is stored underneath the IFE screen, is large, can be compacted roughly in the middle. In fully extended mode  it  does not move.


Qatar Airways QSuites


Qatar Airways QSuites

With the crew performing final preparations before the flight, I evaluated the actual space of the suite — was it enough? Being 6’4″ I had enough legroom — while sitting, while lying down and while lounging. Even a slightly taller person would be perfectly comfortable in this seat.


Qatar Airways QSuites

The seat itself is a bit on the firm side, with no stiffness setting, like Swiss Airlines, among others have in their longhaul business class seat. The materials — both the leather parts and the fabric ones are pleasant to touch, although one might wonder if the fabric part will look as good as new in a year or two.


Qatar Airways QSuites

Above the seat were individual air nozzles — they proved themselves extremely useful as the cabin was kept very warm throughout the whole flight. And on my right side was a coat hanger and a small lamp (that helped greatly in evening food photography).


Qatar Airways QSuites


Qatar Airways QSuites

The take-off and climb were exceptionally smooth, with seatbelt sign getting turned off about 15 minutes into the flight.

Almost instantly the flight attendants sprang into action, taking orders for meals. Qatar Airways has a dine-on-demand concept, allowing passengers to have their meals at any convenient time. I decided to have dinner an hour into the flight and in the meantime was offered warm nuts and a traditional masala-like drink called Karak with cardamom.

Menus were distributed prior to take-off. There were several choices for snacks, as well as starters, appetizers and main dish.

The wine list was expansive and presented in great detail. I don’t drink so didn’t order anything off it.

For dinner though I selected the roasted red pepper and tomato soup, goat cheese and roasted pumpkin salad, arabic spiced chicken kapsa with rice and a cheese plate.

I’ve also checked out the Oryx One entertainment system, which seemed to be filled with a number of recent movies as well as multiple popular series.

The only disappointing thing was the airshow — same as you would find on a 15 year old product — low resolution, no control over it, as it just cycles through the pre-programmed screens.


Qatar Airways QSuites

At this point I was feeling extremely satisfied by the product — the seat, as far as I saw it had no flaws, especially when taking into account that it is a business class seat. The service was impeccable — all flight attendants have been very friendly, helpful and positive.

The only significant flaw of QSuites at this point is the lack of inflight Wi-Fi. We’re halfway into 2017 and it’s such an oversight to not install it on the reconfigured A7-BED before it went into service, as even domestic European flights on carriers like Austrian and Lufthansa are starting to have it. Hopefully the only reason they forfeited the installation is because they wanted to launch the plane earlier, and future new planes or retrofits will have wi-fi straight away.

I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner. It might not have been exactly gourmet, but it was flavory and generally  delightful. The appetizer was spicy and surprisingly edible.


Chicken tikka masala

Soup — although simple — was very tasty, best soup I’ve had in the sky.


Bread basket with spicy olive oil


Roasted red pepper and tomato

The salad was the only disappointment, as it did not have any taste whatsoever.


Goat cheese and roasted pumpkin salad

The main dish was the highlight — hot, peppery, with the grilled vegetables complementing the spiced chicken bits nicely.


Arabic spiced chicken kapsa with rice

And the cheese plate — was as you would expect — a cheese plate.


Qatar Airways cheese plate

The whole meal service took about an hour, but I was enjoying it at my own pace, as most of the cabin had their dinner right after take-off and the flight attendants were no longer busy.


Sunset over Romania

As the flight proceeded over Eastern Europe I decided to try out the fully flat bed (comically — on a plane registered as A7-BED).


seat in fully flat position


When in the fully flat position a small switch becomes accessible for controlling the overhead light and turning the bed into a seat

I didn’t get any sleep as it’s a daytime flight and it’s a short one, but I recon dozing off for a full 6–8 hours during a ultra long haul to LAX or SYD would be a breeze. Although, as mentioned before, the seat is slightly on the hard side, mattress pads will be offered on longer flights. And pajamas will be provided as well. There was enough legroom to sleep on the back or on the side, and the surface of the bed is wide enough to permit moving side to side a bit.

With the door closed, when lying down there may be some small claustrophobic feelings, as you are enclosed, but the only suite with a door without such a feeling would be the Etihad A380 first class apartment. The benefit though is the absolute privacy. You might see the top of someone’s head as they pass by, but if they’re not actively trying to look into your suite — they won’t disturb you with their glances.

Doors remain open during take-off and landing (the crew locks/unlocks them with a tool-key). Unlike Emirates first class suite doors — these open manually.


Qatar Airways QSuites


Qatar Airways QSuites

Half an hour later I requested another cup of the delicious Karak tea, and it was swiftly brought, along with a warm towel and a small box of Godiva chocolates.


Karak tea


Chocolates

It’s worth noting again that the service on the flight was amazing — during meal service you receive a lot of attention — glasses are never empty, completed meals are retrieved instantly, any requests are attended to without delay. After meal service, on the other hand — the focus is on maximizing rest, so check-ups happen very rarely, maybe once an hour — but if something is needed the call button will be answered within 15 seconds.


Highlighted seat numbers

I managed to get some work done for a few hours and hadn’t noticed that the plane was just an hour shy of landing. Having eyed an interesting dessert in the snack menu I ordered a victoria sponge and a hot chocolate. The drink was wonderful, but the sponge cake was too sweet and too dry for my liking.


Victoria sponge and hot chocolate

Once the meal was cleared — the crew started preparing for landing. We passed Bahrain island and were flying alongside the Northern tip of Qatar. Moments later the magnificent West Bay view came into sight.


West Bay, Doha, Qatar, minutes before landing

The plane landed moderately hard right on schedule and after a surprisingly long taxi arrived at a remote stand. I bid farewell to the splendid crew and made my way towards the summer Doha heat.

I enjoyed this QSuites flight in every way possible. The seat is a significant step forward for business class. A private suite in the sky, that is available with an attainable miles and cash cost. That in a year or two will be widely available throughout Qatar Airways fleet. Both the hard product and soft product have lived up to the hype surrounding the release and apart from some minor fixable details like Wi-Fi on the 777–300ERs — it’s a brilliant product that I would gladly fly again and again.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Wow, this is amazing! Qatar will commence A380 service from Melbourne from July which will be fitted with the Qsuites.

    I’m so disappointed that last month I wasted my hard earned points and flew Qantas A380 business class to London. When I compare business class products and offerings from other airlines. From my experience Qantas doesn’t even meet the standard now, however they charge near or if not same amount as Qatar.

  2. @Rob Schultz

    Virgin Australia B777 have a better business class product then Qantas A380.

  3. @PhatMiles, @Robert – it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer 😉 I would know, I have an expensive camera yet still don’t take very good pictures with it.

  4. I agree that this was s very good review overall. It could have used a bit more editing/proofreading, though.

  5. Nicely done review of an interesting product. Lucky needs to hire Yaroslav and fire Daniel.

    @Lukas – Yes indeed a skilled photographer makes all the difference.

  6. Very nice review.

    Ps Bahrain is its own country. Don’t try the airline though. Not worth it.

  7. @RF agreed. Very well done and thorough review with great pictures. I see no rush for you to fly this now Lucky.

  8. My only question. Are there armrests on both sides of the seat? From what I can tell, there is one for one side of the seat, but maybe not one for the other side. Is this correct? If only one armrest, that would be extremely disappointing. What do I do with my other arm? It would probably keep me from flying on this product.

  9. @Robert, Ben didn’t make this report, His friend did and that friend is apparently a photographer so that’s why the photos are good quality. Ben just wanted to share the QSuites experience with us. Now thats not to say Ben doesnt take good photos 😉 but his friend takes better photos :p

  10. “The lounge also has shower and business facilities, but as I didn’t use them I will not be reviewing them.”

    It would have been nice to see pics of them anyway, just for a complete review.

    Was the chicken tikka masala offered as an amuse bouche? It isn’t on the menu…

  11. Thank you everyone for such delightful comments, I am extremly glad that you enjoyed the article and photography!

    @tda – no doubt, but it was written during a sleep deprived 24 hours 🙂

    @MarkP – it’s a Leica SL with a 24-90 lens

    @Ryan – there is no armrest under the left hand – but honestly, during the 6.5 hour flight I hadn’t boticed that omission at all. It sounds worse than it is and should certainly not prevent you from flying the wonderful product

  12. What a great review Yaroslav and fantastic to get it so early after the new QSuites are released. Well done Lucky to have this posted. A+

    I need to vent (pun intended) about those air-nozzles. The more I travel those magical air-nozzles are becoming more important. Is it me or are cabins getting hotter? I don’t understand this need to keep the planes like ovens. Why do the do it? For me it has gotten to a point that I prefer to fly business class on Emirates A380, rather than First, because I sleep better in the business class having the air-nozzles pointing at me and keeping me cool. No air-nozzles in Emirates First.

    Have also been on Cathay First and heard several passenger complain repeatedly about how hot the cabin was, including me. Nothing happened with the temperature the whole 15 hour flight, apart for about an hour before landing when it got a bit cooler and more bearable. I could not get a wink of sleep because how hot it was. Now I always look for planes with air-vents where one has some level of control of temperature, so Qatar’s QSuites on the 777 is definitely on my list.

    Is this just me being overly sensitive to the temperature or do others feel the same?

  13. @Julia – yep, my bad. In my defense I can only say this is my first ever trip report and I’ll surely take this into account for my next review.

    And yes, the chicken tikka masala was an amuse bouche (a very tasty one indeed 🙂

  14. Is there frette linen?, is there a separate pillow for sleeping – the qsuites ones seem cheap?, were laureé desserts offered. Was nobu offered. Were any vineet Bhatia dishes offered. So many questions.

  15. Yaroslav – I thoroughly enjoyed your photography skills. Absolutely stunning! You captured flying in a whole new way – thank you!!

  16. The Leica made all the difference. Lucky, hire him. Fire your other contributors.

  17. wonderful flight ..better than the etihad Residence report lucky….i just my national flag carrier in the background of the take off video-KENYA AIRWAYS ……lucky is it possible to review my home airline ..???love your reports

    Guys am travelling from Nairobi to Tokyo-Narita on september in business class.i have a lot of airlines to chose ;;Emirates,Ethiopian,Etihad,KLM,Air france etc help me the best…….

  18. This is a wonderful review with exquisite photography. Great job, Yaroslav! But before anyone compares Ben’s photos too negatively, remember that he shoots on a $450 compact camera, while this report features photos taken on a $7500 full-frame camera with a $5000 lens.

    The NFC point on the seat is presumably to pair Bluetooth headphones, I frequently see it on newer gym equipment.

  19. @Lucky- Will will you be reviewing the Qsuites. Not that I’m in a rush, as this was a good review. Well done to both of you.

  20. What a great and refreshing review! Very well written with excellent photography. I really enjoyed reading it.

  21. Well done Yaroslav! Thank you for the beautiful review of a stunning product. Can’t wait to fly it.

  22. @RF what’s wrong with Daniel??? I love his posts! But agree about featuring Yaroslav more regularly–terrific pics and review! It’s not a zero sum game, the more the merrier I say!

  23. Those pictures are amazing. I’m not surprised it’s a Leica. I’d be happy to read (and see) more posts of you, Yaroslav.
    That being said, I had the chance to see the Qsuites at ITB Berlin this year and was very impressed.

  24. Were you able to tell how much of a seam/gap exists for the couples bed once converted? Enough for a bottle to fall through for example?

    Just curious if it’s a legit two-person bed, or sorta still a bed with a big crack in it.

  25. It’s uncanny how much better the pics are. Did he really use a $12k camera setup?

    Lucky,

    Considering the improvement and the fact that the camera is a legitimate business expense for you, I highly recommend an upgrade.

  26. Yaroslav,

    Did you do a lot of “post production” work? If so what did you use? The Victoria sponge pic is perfect.

  27. @VarunSusarla I’m afraid none of the bedding, meals were labeled by 3rd party brands. At least I didn’t notice anything like that.

    @RM Unfortunately the family traveling in the quadruple seat next to me didn’t recline their seats into a bed so it was hard to tell. And I did snoop around the cabin during the flight, hoping to find someone using the double bed properly, but to no avail. Even the passengers who were sleeping had the divider up. My guess is a bottle would not fall through, the gap is less in width.

    @John I use Lightroom for fine-tuning the RAW photos – it enables incredible flexibility, especially with the Leica files. I wouldn’t say I did a LOT of work on each, but at least a few minutes was spent on each photograph.

    And thanks again to everyone for the beautiful responses – you’ve really made my day 🙂

  28. Great review, thanks.

    It would be really helpful to add the airport name next to the lounge images, I’m still confused which airport you actually started from!

  29. +1 to more of Yaroslav please! – excellent photography AND writing, a rare and valuable combination of skills on OMAAT and in aviation blogging in general.

    To those who are complimenting the expensive equipment: Yaroslav could have taken 90% of the shots, with the same excellent composition and lighting, using Lucky’s point and shoot camera. As a photographer I can tell you that there were very few shots that Yaroslav posted that *required* “$7500 full frame camera and $5000 lens” (I don’t even know of any gear that costs so much nowadays lol), but better gear is more efficient at getting the job done in skilled hands.

    In short, please congratulate Yaroslav for his skills and not his gear. Also (with full respect) Lucky’s money would be better spent not upgrading his camera, but paying Yaroslav to contribute more content. Getting some photography lessons from Yaroslav might also be handy (and I’m sure he’d be more than happy to pass on some tips!)

  30. @vand I see how it could be confusing 🙂 In the morning I flew from Paris to London and in the afternoon – from London to Doha. The lounge reviewed in the article is the London Heathrow Terminal 4 Qatar Airways Premium Lounge

  31. Great review. I would mention the incredible 1st class lounge facility in Doha includes shower rooms that include a bedroom for taking a nap on extended layovers

  32. Awesome review!!

    I’m slightly concerned about the width of the seats, particularly the seats next to the doors. Those seats look like your shoulders would be against the door. Any idea on what the seat width is?

  33. Please keep Yaroslav around for more reviews. The quality of the photos and detail of the review really are excellent.

  34. Just want to chime in and add my admiration for the photos in this review. Really the best I’ve seen for a trip report. And while I’m sure the better equipment helped, the framing, lighting, editing, etc that the reviewer did made a ton of difference. The pictures of the lounge could be used in a promotional package. This isn’t a photo blog obviously, but the difference here is just stunning. Would love to see more like this in the future.

  35. Fantastic Review! We should have Yaroslav on as a regular poster. Amazing pictures. Waiting to try out Qatar’s 777. I hope they fit these seats on their Doha-Miami flight by Jan 2018.

  36. Fantastic review, thank you Yaroslav! I’m going to chime in with everyone here and say we’d love to see more reviews (and especially more photos) from you! Truly gorgeous photography that really gives you a sense of the luxury, out-of-this-world experience.

  37. I’m surprised to see that their featured red wine is d’arenberg Jump Stump. This is an Australian wine which I wouldn’t classify as premium in either price or quality (it retails for around $9-15 Australian dollars ($7-12 US) depending whether it is on promo).

    In fact, drink selections are one of the things I find most puzzling about flying. For example, airlines don’t hesitate to supply $50 bottles of champagne but then you can’t even get a cup of loose leaf tea (Emirates First Lounge), or a beer other than Heineken (LATAM Brasil), or mixers other than Schweppes (just about every airline).

  38. I was so excited to see the Air Mauritius A340-300 on the take-off video at 00.19!

    I hope one day you shall review our airline one day, the first A350 coming October this year!!

    And as usual, I really enjoyed this review!!! 🙂

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