Zodiac calls this the Fusio. Image: Zodiac Aerospace.

A couple of days ago at ITB in Berlin, Qatar Airways announced that they were finally going to do something about their aircraft not configured with the B/E Super Diamond or even the humble B/E Diamond (AKA their 777 fleet). Instead, they announced that they were also going to replace the amazing B/E Super Diamonds on their 787, A350, and A380 as well. Whatever they were going to do was described as a product rivaling first class. Thanks to Alan Joyce at Qantas, who describes the Thompson Vantage XL as a “mini-first class” my hopes were damped. A few days before ITB, I discovered some curious images on Zodiac’s website (above).

B/E Super Diamond business class seat on the Qatar A350 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Now, I know some people have said that B/E Aerospace is the supplier of what Qatar is installing. They might be right, and Qatar hasn’t said. It did give me a starting point to imagine what Qatar was actually doing.

This is an aerial view of a rear-facing QSuite – Image: Qatar Airways

Well, that’s impressive!

Is it a true first class replacement? No. Is it close? Yes.

The Qsuite is the first of any airline seat that can allow four people to interact whilst seated – Image: Qatar Airways

It also has quite a fascinating gimmick. As you can see above, families and groups of corporate travelers can push their screens aside and create a communal area.

Some of the middle seats can also be combined, somehow, to form a double bed – Image: Qatar Airways

To add even more incentives to couples and families traveling together; the closer of the pairs of middle seats can combine to create a double bed.

So, what do I think?

The stunning:

  • Doors
  • That enhanced seating cut out next to the main chair
  • The fact it seems to be quite a big bed
  • The color story of the design

The concerning:

  • Those middle seats that turn into a double bed whilst traveling solo. I know there are two privacy screens, but it still seems like a lesser experience compared to the window seats, or even the other middle seat pairs.
  • Potential for wear and tear on the movable screen sections. Can you imagine flying in a middle seat, but having the screen stuck away and having to look at a complete stranger? No thanks.

The questions:

  • Are those screens 4k?
  • Can they keep the catering quality up to this photo from ITB?

You know it’s amazing if it makes Chief smile – Photo: Qatar Airways

So, there you go. I really, really, want to give this thing a try. The first flights with it will commence in June. The first route will, of course, be Doha to London Heathrow. Other routes will soon follow as they plan to have every aircraft reconfigured within one year from that day.

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MANAGING CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Bernie has traveled around the world to learn about, experience, and photograph different types of planes. He will go anywhere to fly on anything. He spent four years in Australia learning about how to run an airline, while putting his learning into practice by mileage running around the world. You can usually find Bernie in his natural habitat: an airport. Email: bernie@airlinereporter.com.

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2 Comments

Any distinction between genuine First Class and Business Class has nearly vanished. BC has become a little better and FC is already gone, save a few airlines with stale airplanes that they do not want to upgrade. Some is also a marketing thing; many business flyer’s employer’s refuse to spring for FC, but easily pay for BC. Go figure! the best seats, food, and booze are at the pointy end and most front cabins are huge profit centers for the carriers. Make it a dumbed-down FC, call it BC and it will sell. What really matters to the carriers is the number of square inches consumed, the weight and last in line is catering and staffing. While the catering is not what it was 10-15 years ago, it remains reasonably good. Most of the time. Staffing and service are all over the map and even within a given line, can vary almost beyond belief; some FAs take extreme pride in their work, while others are wholly indifferent to their tasks. Recognizing the difference is not difficult. As a general rule. domestic branded carriers offer little, even on their profitable trans-anything flights. Many – most foreign flag carriers do a far better job up front, no matter what it is called. They get it; it sells bucks-up seats and a lot of folks prefer them. Ever wonder why?

Speedbird

Dear Lufthansa: This is the reason First Class is going away. If you want to remove First, improve your Business. Don’t think you can get away with an obsolete Business product and no First on routes to places like Dubai, Vancouver, and Seattle.

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