Editorial note: Review scores are based against the best possible business class experiences available across all airlines, in regards to each criterion.
The greatest fun in running a large travel blog is the obligation to try lots of different airline seats. We buy tickets, we test, we compare. The hardest part of running a large travel blog is knowing which are the best, and ending up on others. After flying Qatar Airways Qsuite business class on the new Airbus A350-1000, it’s really quite hard to compare it to any other business class experience. Though it felt cheesy at the time, Qatar Airways moniker of “first in business class” really seems fair.
Here’s what it’s like to fly A350 Qsuites, including where to sit, some menu favourites and a few seat features which really separate this experience from just about anything else you’ll find in business class. I don’t mean to be biased, but after you fly it, you’ll understand why it’s hard not to be…
Stunning is an often overused word, but from the moment you step on board, you’ll see why it’s deserved here. On its own, the A350 is one of the newest planes in the sky, and Qatar has kitted their A350’s out with state of the art mood lighting and removed overhead bins from the central aisle to give this plane an extra feeling of open space.
Each Qsuite offers a privacy door, which makes each suite completely private from eye level. If someone is standing up and walking down the aisle, they can conceivably see into the suite, but from passenger to passenger, you’re totally hidden. The main benefit: you don’t need to worry about your ass being on display if you change into the lovely pyjamas provided, and end up sleeping sideways.
The other main benefit of the privacy door is that you’re not as subject to light or noise from other passengers screens, conversations or windows. When you’re trying to maximise sleep, which is obviously a key benefit in business class – it’s a big difference maker.
All Qatar A350’s offer a few seats which are arguably better than others. If you’re traveling solo, the window seats which have the seat closest to the window are definitely the best play. If you’re traveling with a couple, you’ll clearly see on the Qatar seat maps the rows which are meant for couples and be converted into a double bed.
On the Qatar Airways A350-1000, the best Qsuites for solo travellers are window seats in rows: 1, 3, 5, and 11. These seats all have the actual seat and bed nearest the window, rather than the aisle. Row 11 is near the galley, but offers the smaller mini cabin near the most commonly used exit door, which is generally quieter and experiences far less foot traffic.
If you’re travelling with a loved one, rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 11 are also your best bet, in seats E and F respectively. If you’re solo, or with a colleague and window seats are taken, aim for even numbered rows in seats B, D, G, or J. In all seats, the footwell offers very solid room, which allows even taller travellers to move around in their sleep, within reason.
As far as features go, this seat is action packed. There’s a do not disturb button, as well as ample charging ports with both AC and USB connectivity. Unlike many airline seat designs, the charging ports on the Qsuite are well located in a place where you’re highly unlikely to dislodge them in your sleep.
For any entertainment connoisseurs, the pièce de résistance in this business class cabin is the entertainment system. The Qsuite screen is fully HD, suitably sized at 22” and allows you to scroll through the selection like an iPad. It’s wicked fast and incredibly responsive to the touch. And yes, there’s also a remote to control it while laying down.
On all flights, I’ve always found the entertainment selection to be well varied with everything from latest Hollywood blockbuster to classic TV box sets, with a heavy HBO partnership. I certainly never mind.
Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class Food And Drinks
There’s no telling exactly how long it will last, but Qatar Airways has brought back some outrageous selections to its business class wine menu, including Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne. Here’s a peek at the wines currently offered in Qsuites business class, as viewed in Vivino, my favourite wine app…
As always, the airline uses a dine on demand concept for business class, which means that you can eat whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like. In practice, crews are happy to serve you at any point and the more you communicate your wishes in advance, the better and more tailored the service tends to become.
You can’t go wrong with a Qatar Airways Biryani or any of the spiced chicken main dishes and the desserts are almost always worth an indulgence. The coconut pudding pictured above certainly was. All washed down nicely of course with a cup of Karak Chai tea.
You now know where to sit and have a good idea of what to drink. In terms of extra tips, there are a few. For starters, you’ll inevitably connect in Doha on your journey. If at all possible, it’s best to try and avoid connections which put you in Doha between 11PM-230AM, as this is when the Qatar Al Mourjan lounge tends to be rammed.
If you do find yourself there during these hours, travellers on paid business class tickets can upgrade to Al Safwa First Class lounge access for 600QAR, which is about $150USD. It’s an awful lot of money, when there’s another lounge available, but if you need a shower, a nap room or an incredible wine bar, this could easily be justified.
For picky eaters, there’s always the option to pre-order meals online, using Qatar Airways website. You can still enjoy things from the a la carte dine on demand menu as you wish, but it’s a good way to guarantee whatever it is you want, or cater to a specific interest.
With plenty of overhead bin access, there’s no real reason to board first, unless you like the privilege of doing so. I generally always prefer enjoying fresh air elsewhere to being stuck in a composite tube, so if you feel the same way, don’t worry too much about finding space for your belongings. Between storage in your seat, and the oversized bins above, there’s no reason to fret, even with the insane amounts of duty free you occasionally see leaving Doha!
This may very well be the world’s best business class experience.