As … After months of planning, it was finally my time to test Qatar Airways’ new business class seat called QSuite. Some center seats can be combined to form two- or four-suite blocs. In the morning, I used the complimentary Wi-Fi to send a few emails before setting off for my gate. While that still happened somewhat, it was much more condensed, with the appetizer and main, or main and dessert served on the same tray, and each component wrapped in plastic to ensure sanitary safety. Part of our motivation was the fact that we'd invested a lot into the trip, compared to what we normally spend when traveling, it was nonrefundable, and since there were no travel bans and we were both healthy, our travel insurance would not cover anything if we canceled. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. I recently flew Business Class in a Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 aircraft from Frankfurt Airport (Germany) to Doha’s Hamad International Airport (Qatar). His focus areas include aviation, hotels, luxury trends, food and wine. As you’ll read below, Qatar … A recap of all things electric vehicles, ride-hailing, airlines, and more. All passengers of business class will feel comfortable thanks to closed suites that have 180 degrees recline. Flying Qatar Airways seemed like the best possible option for my particular itinerary, not only because of the airline’s heightened pandemic security procedures, but also because of the social distancing allowed for by the airline’s Qsuites business class seats, as well as the extensive sanitation measures put in place at its hub in Doha. What’s more, the crew performed their duties just as flawlessly as ever, which was a feat considering the burdensome PPE in which they were attired, and the extensive new Covid-related protocols they must follow. As the holidays were approaching, flights were starting to reach capacity. It is also currently under strict Covid cleaning protocols, which even include virus-killing UV-C light sweeps on high-contact touch points. Mark Beyer March 11, 2019 Review Type: Flight; Review Type Location: International; Overview: Flight four of seven was on the top rated Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways currently has a fleet of 45 Airbus A350 series aircraft including 36 of the -900 variants and 9 -1000 variants with 33 still on order. Eric Rosen is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who regularly contributes to National Geographic Traveler, Travel Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Bloomberg. When she returned, she was carrying my drinks on a tray, as well as a set of The White Company pajamas. Qatar Airways A350-1000 Qsuite Business Class The Q Suite layout is designed in such a way that, if passengers so desire, a double bed can be made out of the two middle suits, if travelling with a partner; the 4 middle seats can also be converted into a small meeting room, if travelling in a group. A few years ago, I flew them in first class on the A380 so now it would be interesting to see what the … On the sides of the cabin, those that faced the rear had a wide armrest on the aisle and were closer to the window, providing quite a lot of privacy. Qatar Airways uses Honeywell’s Ultraviolet Cabin System, a beverage cart-size device that treats surfaces, seats, and cabins with germ-killing UV light without the need for toxic chemicals. When it was my turn to check in, the desk agent verified all my documents another time, then handed me my boarding passes for both flights. Business class Business Class. Review: Qatar Airways (A350-1000) QSuites Business Class from Doha to Singapore. The flight attendants were incredible throughout. So few, in fact, that I was separated from anyone else by a number of tables and at least 30 feet. That got me through the first hour, but then I spent a little while walking around to get the lay of the land. The forward business class cabin on the A350-1000 has a total of 38 seats spread across 10 rows, while there’s also a rear cabin with an additional eight seats, spread across two rows. So, based on what we knew at the time, we decided to leave for the trip, calculating a relatively low risk to us and others (again, this was before we knew what we know now). Inside, Qatar’s A350-1000 has an entirely different feel to the -900, which JT Genter reviewed last year. They call it ‘first in business class’. It wasn't the most relaxing flight, due to my anxiety over the coronavirus situation, my decision to stay connected to work, and my concerns about the rest of our trip, but in the end, I was still able to sit back and unwind for parts of it. Qatar Airways A350-1000 Qsuites Business Class. One interesting perk during my trip: the airline had decided to make Wi-Fi free for all passengers, so I could text, email, and perform some basic web-based work throughout my flight. I wiped down the room with my own disinfecting routine before a shower and watching the news on the 42-inch flatscreen. However, I decided that even while we stay distant from each other and watch the world as we know it change, possibly forever, it's worth remembering what we have to look forward to when we emerge from this. Here's what it was like flying the world's best business class on the Airbus A350-1000 from JFK in the days before the coronavirus outbreak reached pandemic proportions. Our flight was on an A350-1000 between Los Angeles and Doha. Every so often, an attendant would come by to check on me. Attendants also poured beverages in the galley individually, and in a new glass each time, so as to avoid inadvertently passing any germs from one passenger to another by simply refilling glasses from the same bottle on a pass through the cabin. I could keep the door closed throughout nearly the entire flight with a “do not disturb” indicator for complete solitude, or summon a crewmember for necessities with a call button. In 2019, I flew over 120,000 miles and took nearly 100 flights. Meals are no longer coursed out as much, and each item comes sealed in plastic. Qatar Airways was the launch customer of both A350 variants. At the time, we thought nothing of concepts like flattening the curve and social distancing. There were also easy-to-reach USB ports and a universal power plug to keep electronics charged in flight. All the better for avoiding other passengers, I thought. It will cost you 70,000 AAdvantage miles to get your own Qsuite – and there are plenty of U.S. gateways from which Qatar flies its Qsuite. Subscriber I waited until the cabin was fully boarded until I took a few sips of the champagne, so as to avoid having my mask down while people were actively passing my seat. But this could be the absolute best use of American AAdvantage miles. Flight attendants in full PPE greeted customers at the door. since, “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention”. Lounge attendants were constantly on hand and visibly wiping everything down. The gate from which my flight was departing was one of the only busy areas. When I was done, I headed to the lavatory to change into my pajamas while a flight attendant reclined my seat, put a cover on it, and laid out a blanket for me. It was early March, as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading and getting worse, but before we knew anything that we know today. By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Business Insider I spent my overnight layover on the way back at Doha Hamad International’s Oryx Airport Hotel. Here's Etihad's take on the refreshing drink. Visitors could not serve themselves, though. Qatar Airways A350-900 business class Then there’s a rear business class cabin with another three rows, for an … My return flight from Doha to Los Angeles was much the same, though for that one I selected a backward-facing seat so as to have even more separation from the aisle. On both my outbound to Doha and my return, I decided to spend the first three hours of the flight working – masked and with my face shield on – while most of my fellow travelers ate and went to sleep. Once satisfied that everything was in order, she gestured me toward the short line to the counters. Disclosure: The author traveled as a guest of Qatar Airways, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own. Before the pandemic, Qatar Airways coursed out the dishes during meal service, sort of like you would find in a restaurant. Nowadays, Qatar Airways offers one of the best business class products in the world: the Qsuites. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I arrived at LAX nearly three hours before my departure. As part of the trip — really the impetus for it — we had booked our flights to and from South Africa in Qatar Airways' business class using American Airlines miles. However, I was able to camp out in a secondary area with tables and booths where there were far fewer people. Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish the trip. Author: Andrew: Date: September 2018: Among Business Class flights: Rating: 4 out of 5 The cabana was cleaned just before I arrived, though I went over everything with disinfectant wipes, and donned a mask except for when I was actually in the shower itself. There are a handful of ways to book your own Qsuite. Speaking of which, the crew made sure to tidy up and disinfect them between each passenger. Flying from the U.S. to Doha? Business Class. Ready to fly, wearing the mandatory mask and face shield for boarding. Maneuvering champagne around a mask and face shield was well worth the challenge. While other passenger were boarding, I performed a thorough wipe down of my seating area with my own disinfecting wipes, but I found it to have been cleaned extremely thoroughly before my arrival, with nary a crumb nor smudge in sight, which was reassuring. Then I had a second item from the breakfast menu – hearty saffron upma with palak veda spinach patties and tomato chutney about two hours before landing back in Los Angeles. Qatar Airways offers dine-on-demand service in business class, even these days, so you can pretty much just order anything on the menu at any time you wish (with reason). Qatar Airways is the World's first launch customer for A350-1000 series. The seat is exceptionally comfortable, the product is innovative and interesting, and the food and service was phenomenal. He is also one of the nation’s foremost experts on airline, hotel and credit card loyalty programs. The Qatar Airways Business Class Q-Suite The A350-1000 aircraft is fitted with rows of 4 private Q – Suite pods that span Business Class. Seats are arranged in a 1 – 2 – 1 pattern. I awoke about seven hours later and watched a movie, then did a little more work. Instead, servers plated dishes and brought them to the table, as well as filling drink orders. May 18, 20198 min read. As with most modern Business Class cabins, the Qatar Airways Qsuites are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout across the aircraft so each suite offers its occupant direct access to one of the aircraft’s two aisles…but that’s where the Qsuite’s similarity to most other Business Class cabins ends. That involved waiting at some moments, but it did make me feel better about bathroom breaks, as did the no-touch sensors on the sinks and toilets. I've been incredibly fortunate to fly with a ton of different airlines, in a ton of different seats and cabins, both for my job, and for fun. The latter was actually from the menu for the flight’s second meal, but the cabin crew were only too happy to make it for my breakfast. The second was on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with the Qatar Airways’ older reverse-herringbone seats. Eventually, I headed upstairs to the dining area, which remained busy throughout my stay. The chair was 21.5 inches wide, though the space itself was much wider, and it reclines to a bed that is 79 inches long. This is a Business Class cabin that offers a variety of seating o… Here’s what it was like flying Qatar Airways business class during the pandemic. It feels like years ago at this point, but in the days before "social distancing" entered the global lexicon — just over a month ago — I went on vacation. Eventually, the captain made his pre-flight announcement, and we taxied for takeoff. Get it now on Libro.fm using the button below. Flying back was a surreal experience. I declined the seat instructions, but opted for a glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée-Rosé and a glass of water. After collecting my belongings, I took a stroll through the terminal, which felt abandoned. It turned out I did not have too much time to spare, though, since the check-in procedures were much more robust than those usually in force pre-pandemic. Their sunny attitude, to a person, made it feel like it was not only okay to travel, but okay to enjoy it, and I was thoroughly impressed at how seamlessly they pulled that off. Sign up for Insider Transportation. Ultimately, we weren't able to finish the two-week trip. There was plenty of entertainment to last throughout the flight. That was a bit of extra effort, but it was a lot less onerous than I had been anticipating. The A350-1000 has a longer body than its predecessor, the currently operating A350-900, enabling it to fit 40 additional seats across business and economy class. I was interested to see that even the bread came wrapped in plastic this time. Seat Map and Seating Chart Airbus A350 1000 Qatar Airways Qsuite. I also ordered a bottle of water to minimize my contact with the wait staff, though I did notice two servers keeping an eye on me throughout my stay to see if I needed anything. Although the seat did not move in as many configurations as some other models out there, where individual components are more adjustable, it was more than serviceable with intuitive button controls. Even though travel is one of the most important things to both of us, and we're lucky to have traveled a lot, this trip was going to be a special one, and a major item knocked off of our lifetime bucket lists. Due to the timing of my flights, I had eight-hour layovers on both sides of my journey. It even beat the first class seats I've flown in! The mezze platter looked a bit different this time thanks to all the wrapping. Review: Qatar Airways Qsuite A350-1000 World's Best Business Class - GoTravelYourWay - The Airline Blog LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal was nearly empty. By contrast, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, I traveled on just four flights in 2020 for a total distance of around 15,000 miles, all of which took place before mid-February. Here, flight assistants can be seen preparing the seats with amenities such as inflight pajamas. The situation had gotten significantly worse in New York and the US, and so many airlines had canceled routes that we weren't sure we'd be able to get home. I enjoyed a Chilean Syrah from Leyda with my meal. What was more striking, though, was just how genuinely warm and welcoming they managed to be, even swaddled in medical gowns and behind masks and goggles. What struck me even more than the rigorous cleaning protocols I saw throughout my itinerary, though, was how heartfelt and welcoming the crew and airline staff managed to be despite difficult circumstances. After flying Qatar Airways Qsuite business class on the new Airbus A350-1000, it’s really quite hard to compare it to virtually any other business class experience, with the exception of ANA’s “The Room”, which launched in late 2019. Additionally, the A350-1000 was the first Airbus aircraft to be fitted with the renowned Qsuite business class seats. Qatar Airways' Al Mourjan business class lounge was pretty empty most of the time I was there. Normally bustling with international travelers, there were no people in one entire wing of it. Feeling how much they appreciated having passengers on board and still seemed to enjoy what they were doing, not to mention the constant attention to sanitation they took, were what made flying the airline feel worthwhile and (almost) normal again. Just wear a mask when leaving the suites. The long 15+ hours flight from LAX to DOH flew by, no pun intended. I was told that 40 of them were occupied on my flight, and that the plane was 80% full in all. Side Qsuites offer privacy for solo travelers. The airline provided a small amenity kit stocked with Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio skincare products, an eye mask, earplugs, and socks. The Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 features seats in a 1 cabin configuration. On my return flight from Doha to Los Angeles, I started with the airline’s traditional Arabic mezze trio of hummus, eggplant moutabel, and tabbouleh. Business Class. There are nine full rows plus a tenth with just two seats in the forward cabin, and two rows of four seats each in the mini-cabin toward the rear. You may opt-out by. The entertainment screen was also 21.5 inches wide, and the airline provided disinfected and sealed headphones along with a bottle of water inside the wider armrest, which doubled as a storage cubby that could also fit my laptop. Even with the door closed, though, the seat felt roomy. Once onboard, business class passengers can remove ppe. It wasn't hard to maintain a social distance in the lounge. Qatar Airways, winner of the Editors’ Choice award for “Best International Business-Class Product” for the second year in a row at the TPG Awards, has announced that it will be expanding its A350-1000 service in the U.S. to include flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as well as … Since I had would eat on my flight from Nairobi, and just wanted to shower and sleep while avoiding contact with others, the hotel seemed my best option. At that point, I ordered a cappuccino while the crew prepared my next meal. There are six rows of seats between doors one and two, so there are a total of 24 seats there. Food items were plated individually under plastic, and passengers were not allowed to help ... [+] themselves. Carrying a negative Covid PCR test from the day before my flight, a passenger consent form with my testing details, and an arsenal of pandemic travel supplies including boxes of medical masks and latex gloves as well as splash-proof goggles, a stash of hand sanitizer, and two different kinds of alcohol-based disinfectant wipes, I headed to the airport to begin my journey. I decided to spend my outbound layover in the airline’s palatial Al Mourjan business class lounge, but booked a room at the Oryx Airport Hotel for my overnight return, where room rates start at $251 in the coming months. That was fine by me since it cut down on extraneous interactions with the crew. Once the cabin was quiet, I hit the call button to alert the crew I was ready to eat. I left mine that way through the flight, except infrequent trips to the lavatory. I had selected one of the side Qsuites for privacy. 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