Hello from Cape Town. Thanks to an abundance of vacation time from work that will expire at the end of the year. Plus a wife and family who are very understanding and generous to let me get away, I’m currently in the midst of a fun trip. Part to get to places I had tried to visit in the past, but the pandemic changed those plans. Beyond that, I’ve been wanted to experience Qatar Airways flagship business class product, Qsuites for some time. So for this trip I was able to do both.
My trip began with another new experience for me United Polaris Business Class. I have flown United Business class many times, but never in their latest version, with Polaris seats. But that’s not the point of this post. Let’s talk about my first impressions of Qatar Airways Qsuites.
How this this come about?
Work travel has picked up for me somewhat this year. But despite various promotions, and reductions in status requirements, I am still short of miles to requalify for American Executive Platinum status this year. I had the miles, but not the EQDs. Even with some occasionally expensive domestic work trips, and the reduced EQD number for 2021, I needed some help. I found a decent fare from Frankfurt to Cape Town, and using some Chase points to pay for part of it, the cash price was quite manageable. Qatar is a oneworld partner of American, and EQDs are earned based on distance, so Frankfurt to Doha to Cape Town will earn a lot of EQM, but more importantly EQD based on the ~7500 miles of that routing. Qatar earning rates in the American program are listed below:
My discounted Business class ticket earns 20% of the distance flown as EQD, so around 1500 EQD. Enough to tip me over the threshold for EXP status. Is it the best value out there? No, but after many flights in the domestic US with many service cuts disguised as COVID safety measures, I figured spending time in Qsuites would be lovely.
Are Q Suites worth the hype?
Individuals need to answer that for themselves. But the hard product is excellent, service is good, meals are solid for airplane food. The only thing lacking is ground services at outstations. And in my case my long reserved rear-facing window seat magically disappeared after I checked in online. I still got a window seat, but in the last row of the cabin in a forward facing (less private) seat. Minor issue, especially on the relatively short flight from Frankfurt. But that was odd, and annoying.
First the bad. There were no lounge options at Frankfurt. Qatar has a deal with Lufthansa to grant access to business class passengers in one of the Lufthansa Business lounges, but the closest one to our departure gate was closed at 2pm, and departure time is 3:30. It wasn’t even that close to our gate, being on a different pier of the B concourse. Oddly, Qatar uses Terminal 1, while the rest of the Oneworld carriers fly out of Frankfurt terminal 2. So no lounge access in Frankfurt for the Qatar afternoon departure to Doha.
But once on board…
A pre departure beverage, in a real glass. Two nice bottles of champagne on offer. I generally only drink it at altitude, but it was tasty on the ground too.
For a sub-6 hour flight, the menu was somewhat limited compared to what I’ve seen reported for longer flights. Similar flight time to a North America transcon, but I’d say the service far surpassed those offerings. Dining is available on demand, and the wine list is extensive and pretty good quality bottles. Flight attendants are attentive, and cheerfully suggest using the call button if anything is needed outside their main services.
But the seat!
The Q-Suite is really smartly designed, rows alternate forward/rear facing seats. Odd numbered rows are rear facing, the window seats are close to the window, with space from the aisle. The center section seats in odd rows are close together and ideal for couples. Even rows are forward facing, and seats are close to the aisle. A set of 4 middle seats can make an extra large family suite.
The seats are wide, and very adjustable for sitting or lounging, and a nice surface for sleeping. The door isn’t very tall, but really is nice to have the extra privacy inflight. Its not like there is a lot of traffic, even in a full cabin, but the door is really a nice feature. Its only maybe 5 feet tall, and not all the way to the floor, so flight attendants can easily see over it when walking by. I mostly found it nice to have some more privacy from other passengers during the flight. Some rows seemed more private, where you couldn’t really see anyone else, and others people across the aisle are fully visible.
The seat itself isn’t that wide, and the footwell is a bit narrow, but still I find it very comfortable. Next to the seat there is a wide side table near the TV (foot space for the adjacent row), and a wide armrest with storage space underneath that moves up and down. Presumably that can be used as seating space, or lowered a place for your arms when laid flat. Excellent privacy for solo travelers and innovative options for couples or groups.
First Impressions Qatar Airways Qsuites
I’ll have a full review at same point later, but my first impression of Qatar Airways Business Class is that it is a very well done product. An excellent seat and space with solid food, service and amenities. I had 4 legs in Q-suites on this trip, so I will be able to hopefully have a thorough review.
Have you experienced Q-Suites? How does it compare to other products in the sky?