It was March 8, 2017, and I was at ITB Berlin, one of the biggest travel industry shows in the world. Qatar Airways had a huge announcement, and all travel media were there. None other than His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, stepped to the podium to unveil the new Qatar Airways Business Class.
It was amazing. It caught everyone by surprise and all the travel journalists were going nuts (including me!)
I was excited to be where the news was happening and couldn’t wait to fly in the new seat…but it just never worked out. As Qatar rolled out the QSuites across its longhaul fleet, I saw so many bloggers and fellow media members rave about the space, the luxurious appointments, and the wonderful Qatar service. I kept waiting for the time to be right for me to test out the long-venerated QSuites, to experience firsthand the Qatar slogan for it (“First in Business”), and to see every last detail insisted upon by His Excellency.
It finally happened, suddenly, in the last week of 2022. And it wasn’t just that I got to be in QSuites…I got to ride in QSuites for 50 hours in a week. Let’s get to the review.
How I booked Qatar QSuites using American Airlines AAdvantage miles
I went through a minute-by-minute (almost) recap of how I booked this award ticket in this post. I truly believe that QSuites to South Africa from the US is one of the best award redemptions in all of aviation, just don’t do it last minute like I did!
To sum up the How I Booked It post: I spent 150,000 AAdvantage miles and just $100 or so in fees from DFW to Cape Town and back.
The QSuite Seat
The QSuite seat is spacious, luxurious, and comfortable. It is by far the best business class seat experience in the sky, by far, and it’s probably better than some First Class seats.
QSuites face both forward and backward. When you board, the cabin is bathed in magenta hues, accentuating the color palette of the cabin itself.
There’s a very large shelf, of sorts, which is actually the footwell of the seat in front of you. The shelf is wonderful for storage space throughout the flight. The TV is enormous and gorgeous. I don’t spend much time watching in-flight entertainment these days, but the selection was excellent when I glanced through it.
Other times that I boarded the dramatic lighting wasn’t there but the seat stood out just as much.
Underneath the white marble-esque shelf area is another “amenity” shelf, a great place to put your amenity kit or cell phone. The seating controls are underneath this little shelf.
In addition to the large touchscreen TV, you can control things from the usual handheld device.
Next to the seat itself is a pretty ingenious storage compartment. It’s perfect for a pair of shoes or to store your Qatar pajamas until you change into them. It has the look of a seating area when you’re sitting there but the top opens into the storage area.
The storage bin also rises up to form an armrest while you’re seated.
When it comes time for a sleep, the seat lies completely flat and the flight attendants will put down a mattress pad for you. Combined with the blanket, it’s a very comfortable bed and I managed to grab many hours of good sleep!
As is the trend these days, the QSuites have sliding doors, which I hate, but everyone else seems to fawn over.
The seat numbers double as Do Not Disturb indicators, turning red to let the flight attendants know that you’d prefer not to be disturbed at the moment.
A business class seat has to be functional. I don’t care how cool it looks, if the functionality is not there, I won’t enjoy it. QSuites are smartly designed and have room for all of a typical passenger’s stuff.
While looking through all of the various storage areas and getting settled into your seat, it’s easy to look past just how beautiful the cabin is! The seats are luxuriously adorned and the details are just gorgeous.
The Qatar QSuites Food and Beverage Service
I flew on four long-haul flights with Qatar so I feel like I got to experience the full gamut of their dining options. Each flight tended to have two meal services but had some mid-flight snacks that you could ring your call button and the flight attendants would bring it to you quickly.
Since my trip spanned New Years, I got to see both varieties of their menus. I didn’t get actual menu pictures, since they cycle dishes quite often (none of my menus were the same). Similar to the above section about the seats, I’m going to share about the food in groups, not necessarily chronologically flight-by-flight.
Every flight began with a glass of champagne (they always asked if I preferred Brut or Rose). It was served promptly with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Before the courses began, my table was set with silverware and a flickering light “candle” to make it all fancy. Breads were served with a few different options for oils, I usually went with the classic olive oil and vinaigrette.
I had a wide variety of amuse bouches (is that the right way to pluralize amuse bouche?) and appetizers. They were all delicious and plated extravagantly.
My advice? If it looks good, ask for it, even if it means asking for 2-3. The food is international, exotic, and all of it tasted absolutely wonderful.
The main courses
Bear in mind that I had both breakfast and dinner on these flights. That said, the main courses followed the high standard set by the appetizers. The plating was wonderful and the food had rich flavors without being overpowering.
My advice: again, if something looks good, order it! I tried some dishes I normally wouldn’t have ever tried back home and really liked them!
The desserts (including the World Cup dessert!)
I loved the desserts, they ranged from cheese plates to a Christmas yule log to their special World Cup dessert.
The World Cup dessert was a chocolate orb with a raspberry cake inside, with cream and a raspberry sauce around.
One of my flight attendants asked me for honest feedback about it because she said it wasn’t very popular with guests. I told her that I enjoyed it but that’s because I’m an overweight American who has a huge sweet tooth. It’s a great dessert for overweight Americans with huge sweet teeth! She laughed and said that made a little more sense then.
The Qatar Service
Ok, this is a bit of a needlessly complicated answer. When it comes to in-cabin service, there are two types of airlines:
- Don’t Hit The Call Button Because Flight Attendants Are Walking Through The Aisles Airlines – most US airlines and Singapore Airlines
- Hit The Call Button When You Need Something Because The Flight Attendants Don’t Want to Disturb You Airlines – Cathay Pacific and most of the rest of the airlines
It took me a while to figure out that Qatar was part of the latter group of airlines, but once I did it took my experience from great to wonderful! I believe that Qatar Airways service should be mentioned in the rare air of Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Where Singapore’s service is over-the-top and Cathay’s is a bit “warmer” (I don’t know if that makes sense), I would classify Qatar’s service as energetic. Anytime I asked for anything, it was delivered promptly with a smile.
So, was it worth the wait? Did it live up to the hype?
Listen. Getting to South Africa from the USA involves some long flights if you’re oneworld-loyal. There’s no better way of getting there than Qatar’s QSuites. The seat lived up to the hype, the food was immaculate, and the service was wonderful. The only stain on the experience was the confusing lounge rules at DOH, but I knew about those in advance and expected it.
Hope you enjoyed this mega-review of Qatar QSuites and get to experience them for yourself someday soon!
Have you flown Qatar’s QSuites? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!