We were invited by Qatar Airways to celebrate the official launch of the new Q Suites from Adelaide to Doha. Whilst there was a soft launch in June on several dates, ongoing services started from 1 July on the A350-900 aircraft, which will be temporarily upgraded to the 777-300ER for several weeks in September to cater for additional inbound demand after the European summer season.
After boarding we had the opportunity to explore this incomparable product in both the single, twin and quad formations, whilst enjoying a glass of Taittinger champagne. This was followed by the signature dates and saffron-infused Arabic coffee served directly from the traditional dallah coffee pot at your seat.
The first thing that strikes you when entering the cabin is the unbelievable attention to detail and the extremely high quality finishing. Nothing has been overlooked or feels like an after-thought, it really exudes a feeling of first class, whilst being marketed and priced as a business class product. After experiencing many high quality business class cabins, we truly believe that nothing holds a candle to the Qatar Airways Q-Suite.
There is excellent storage, an amazing high definition entertainment screen, various configurations for your personal privacy and a great degree of control over the flat bed seat. To highlight that, Qatar are one of the few airlines that includes the ability to shift the seat forward and back without impacting the recline or incline of the bed. This enables you to bring your seat forward to the large tray table, and enjoy your meal without feeling like you need to bend forward.
The ottoman to the side of the seat provides a nice little spot for someone to sit and have a quick chat with you, as it can be moved up and down, and also creates a nice, deep storage option. Qatar Airways have added an air of whimsy to the cabin by adding a series of cute travel quotes to the pillows, which lightens the feel of this otherwise warm cabin. The atmosphere is enhanced during the meal service by the electric candles which add a lovely touch whilst enjoying your meal, with the cabin lighting really helping you settle in for a long and comfortable sleep.
The amenity kits are of the highest quality, and the change from the hard cased Brics amenity kit, to now a soft case, is very welcome as it's far easier to store in your carry on luggage when disembarking. The socks and eye mask are soft and comfortable, whilst the Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio skin care is exceptional, we are especially in favour of the hydrating facial mist. The high quality also extended to the complimentary slippers and pyjamas by the White Company, which were extremely soft and added a luxurious feel compared to other carries in the area who only provide pyjamas to first class.
The A350-900 features 4 'quad' seats for those travelling in a group of 4, Qatar Airways have a range of seating protocols to protect these for a group. The paired seats, which face backwards, are made up in a way which covers the partition and then a mattress topper is placed over the top to create a true double bed feeling. Whilst some may expect that being backwards is a negative, there really is no meaningful difference when up in the air and it's just something that is felt momentarily at take off and landing.
After a detailed look at the cabin we enjoyed a selection of the George Calombaris menu offered on-board Qatar Airways flights from Australia, needless to say the meals were absolutely delicious and served by the delightful Qatar Airways cabin crew. In the air, dining is truly on demand and there is even a tasting-menu for those seated in the quad seats which is designed to be shared. Whilst enjoying our meal we were able to have a conversation among the four of us in the quad, a unique experience when seated in business class.
Overall we couldn't be more impressed with the Qatar Airways Q-Suite product, from Adelaide it is light years in-front of any of the competing options. Whilst Qatar Airways entered the market with price points in the $5000-6000 range to establish a market presence, we now expect pricing to be from $6500-$8000 return to Europe and that still represents an outstanding value proposition if at least 2 of your 4 flights to Europe were on the Q-Suite product. Our expert consultants are on hand during your booking process to review seat maps and aircraft type to discuss when and where Q-Suite is available, as well as to handle the seat booking process for you.