Qatar Airways has a large variety of business class seats. From a simple recliner and outdated 2-2-2 configurations, to modern reverse herringbone seats and the extensively advertised Qsuite, the selection is diverse, to say the least. Recently, a new option became available for travellers in the premium cabin.
With the introduction of the B787-9, Qatar Airways launched a novel iteration of the Qsuite, tailored specifically for this narrower-bodied jet. Often referred to as the “mini Qsuite”, it includes sliding doors for privacy, a modern comfortable seat, and clever tech features to keep devices powered up.
I had the opportunity to experience this seat on a red-eye flight from Doha to Barcelona last year. Unfortunately, the nocturnal conditions were far from optimal for photography. However, I soon realised that Qatar had begun using the B787-9 on the Oslo route, providing a perfect daytime opportunity to scrutinise the product in detail.
In this post:
Booking Qatar Airways Business B787-9
Although Qatar Airways operates an extensive fleet of B787s, most of them are fitted with the older reverse herringbone configuration, which continues to lead its class, although it does lack privacy. If you’re after the mini Qsuite, you need to look for the B787-9, as these aircraft exclusively feature the new seat.
Taking advantage of Qatar Airways’ typically competitive fares departing from Scandinavian countries, I booked a multi-city cash fare that reduced the cost of a return trip from Europe to Asia to a reasonable AU$3,200 in business. My itinerary consisted of Oslo-Doha-Bangkok and Denpasar-Doha-Brussels on the return. In this review, we’re taking a look at QR176 from Oslo to Doha.
To book Qatar Airways using points, you will need to have access to their loyalty program, which is Privilege Club Avios. Soon, American Express members will get access to this program in Australia which will open up exceptional redemption opportunities with business class flights from Australia to Europe, only costing 90,000 Avios! The best credit cards for earning Qatar Airways Avios are Amex Platinum, Amex Explorer and Amex Platinum Edge.
Check-in – Ground Experience
Like all Scandinavian airports, Oslo International Airport is clean, organised, modern and easily navigable. As I arrived from Brussels with SAS, I collected my bags before proceeding upstairs to check in for my Qatar Airways flight. After this, I passed through security and entered the main airport terminal. Bear in mind, international flights out of Oslo require immigration clearance, so be sure to allow sufficient time. Automated gates expedite the process for European passport holders, but non-EU passengers may face queues during peak departure times.
In Oslo, Qatar Airways uses the OSL Lounge. Due to time constraints, I opted to skip the lounge experience; having visited in the past, it’s pretty lacklustre and not worth your time.
Boarding Qatar Airways Mini Qsuite
Boarding commenced promptly for our flight to Doha. Once on board, the crew stopped by to welcome passengers back and offer a welcome drink. Crew members receive notes on passenger status to tailor their greetings appropriately, such as welcoming return passengers or introducing first-timers to their seats.
Contrary to Qatar Airways’ standard procedure, only non-alcoholic beverages were offered pre-flight, even though they usually offer champagne as well. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their signature mint and lime drink, which is always refreshing despite its questionable aesthetic appeal, which closely resembles swamp water. Qatar Airways used to be famous for offering either a cold or hot towel during boarding and I’m disappointed to report that this feature is still missing. These days passengers get a disposable Diptyque towel which I feel is somewhat wasteful.
The Seat – Qatar Airways B787-9 Qsuite
For this flight, I selected seat 8K, the last one in the cabin of 30 business suites. As I was taking photos and videos, I found this seat offered more privacy and minimised disturbance to other passengers. While the toilets are positioned in the back, an open galley area, which also offers snack baskets for passengers, separates them from the business cabin.
The seat itself was modern and comfortable, with a design very in line with Qatar Airways’ brand aesthetic. It came with a variety of amenities, including a full-size power point, USB connection, and a wireless charging pocket. Unfortunately, my wireless charging pocket either didn’t work or hadn’t been activated. Unlike the bigger Qsuite, the B787-9 cabin doesn’t have staggered business class seating, so each window seat will be facing the window, and all middle seats are facing the aisle.
The swivelling table with a satisfying magnetic click was a nice touch, offering a practical space for work or dining. In terms of legroom and space in the footwell, it’s not overly generous but it’s by far one of the best reverse herringbone configurations on the market.
Business Class Food & Drinks
Qatar Airways shines in the dining department, outclassing their competitors.
With an à la carte, on-demand service, there’s no tray or trolley service. Cutlery is placed for each course and promptly cleared when finished, setting a high bar that other airlines can only aspire to.
I chose the smoked red pepper soup to start, followed by a salmon and prawn carpaccio, and then the oven-roasted chicken breast for the main course.
To my surprise, the chicken breast was not overcooked. I couldn’t resist the passionfruit panna cotta for dessert, purely for review purposes, of course!
Qatar Airways boasts an extensive wine list. I personally enjoyed several glasses of the Laurent-Perrier Grande Cuvée Alexandra Rosé 2007 vintage, an impressive offering considering a bottle would retail for around $400.
Qatar Airways Crew & Service
Qatar Airways’ crew are among the most efficient in the industry. They not only arrange individual cutlery for guests but also cater to their preferred meal times. I find their crew extremely professional but would like to see more individual character on show as well. From talking with QR crew over the years, they all seem to agree that Qatar Airways management is very strict as to how they interact with guests. If you’ve ever flown with Emirates for example, I find their crew to be more relaxed and able/allowed to interact with guests on a personal level.
While the 17-inch IFE display is very nice, I find the operation somewhat clunky. In terms of content, you can expect the latest blockbusters and your favourite TV shows. I’d say Qatar Airways provides one of the better in-flight movie selections, but it’s by no stretch the best in the business. I think in terms of content Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Emirates sometimes have more on offer. Qatar Airways provides noise cancelling headphone which are pretty good, however I till recommend brining your own if audio quality and comfort are a priority.
Amenities & Wifi
On shorter flights, Qatar Airways often provides an amenity box by Diptique, including lotions, potions, and a perfume. This cardboard version is more environmentally friendly and sensible, considering most passengers either connect or come from longer flights where a traditional kit would have been offered. In addition, 2 pillows are provided at your seat as well as a comfortable blanket. (night time flights receive a full turndown service with mattress topper).
Business class passengers can enjoy complimentary wifi on most flights although it’s time-limited (1h) with additional time available for purchase. While it’s not particularly fast, it provides sufficient speed for browsing and messaging in-flight.
Summing Up – Qatar Airways B787-9 Business Class
Overall, the new Qatar Airways B787-9 business seat is a welcome and comfortable addition to their extensive business class lineup. While it may not be the most spacious seat, I appreciate the styling and the added privacy provided by the sliding doors.