TRIED AND TESTED FLIGHT
DOHA HAMAD INTERNATIONAL – LONDON HEATHROW
Qatar Airways QSuite
Doha – London Heathrow
BACKGROUND Qatar Airways new business class, the Qsuite, was introduced in March 2017, and is gradually being rolled out across the carrier’s entire long-haul fleet. This flight was operated aboard the new A350-1000 aircraft outfitted with the QSuite product.
CHECK-IN When I arrived at Hamad International at 10 AM, there were no lines at premium check-in for either first or business class. I asked to move seats from a window to a center seat so I could experience the phenomenon of putting four seats together, both forward- and backward-facing.
Once through security, I made my way to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, located on Level 3. At 11:30 I made my way to Gate C1 and upon boarding, I was welcomed and offered a choice of drinks, including champagne.
THESE AT The Q Suite setup is very different from normal business class. On the A350-1000 there are 46 seats across two business class cabins, a main cabin with 38 seats, nine rows at the side and ten rows in the middle, all in a 1-2-1 configuration. The second, smaller cabin has just eight seats, just two rows, also in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are forward- then backward facing, like train seats. Row 1 has four backward-facing seats and row 2 has four forward-facing seats. Thus the center seats can make a four-seat private suite if the dividers are configured that way. In addition, each seat has a sliding door for privacy. The center divider is operated by the passenger, but the flight attendant operates the fore and aft divider.
The seat was roomy and quite comfortable and the 15-inch display offered an abundance of movies and entertainment, and was on for the entire trip gate-to-gate. The seat reclines so that your feet meet the footrest beneath the IFE screen, or you can rest your feet on the floor even when the seat is reclined.
THE FLIGHT Before take-off menus had been handed around and orders taken, although it was made clear we could also have dine on demand. The menu was a good one, starting with soup of the day and a choice of appetizers. Main course options were chicken maqlooba, herb-crusted loin of lamb or vegetable jalfrezi. I had this last option, which was delicious.
The wine selection was extensive and included two champagnes, plus a selection of whites and reds, and dessert wines. The dessert options included banoffee pie with crème anglaise, fresh berries with almond syrup or an ice cream selection.
ARRIVAL We arrived at Heathrow slightly early, only to circle around the airport for 20 minutes and then spend a further 15 minutes waiting to get to our gate. Once there, we were quickly off. I had no checked luggage, so in short order was landside for the journey into central London.
VERDICT The QSuite is Qatar Airways’ bid to add a touch of first class to the business cabin. The unorthodox layout may confuse some passengers but can be truly convenient for others. Seat configuration notwithstanding, the service was exemplary, and the food and wine choices were all top class.