APEX Insight: APEX Media Spotlight focuses on passenger experience announcements, launches and issues while providing different perspectives from top industry sources. In this installment, we highlight the media’s reactions to Qatar Airways’ QSuite.
Billed as “The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show,” ITB Berlin 2017 was an opportunity for some of the biggest airlines to show off their aircraft cabin and PaxEx innovations earlier this month. Qatar Airways’ new business-class seat launch was one of the most eagerly anticipated announcements, and it garnered plenty of media attention because of the airline’s claim that it’s the industry’s first double bed in business class. The Doha-based carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker proclaimed QSuite “the future of premium travel” and cheekily joked: “You can take your honeymoon on Qatar Airways, but you’ll have to keep silent.” The media was not quiet in response to Qatar’s announcement; here’s what they had to say about the QSuite.
Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com, was at the event in Berlin and praised the “spaciousness” of the mock-up QSuite on display. “It seems Qatar has found the right balance between providing sufficient footwell space while not compromising seat width,” he said.
Johnny Clark of The DesignAir liked what was on offer, but was skeptical about whether the QSuite is as innovative as Qatar Airways claims:“Don’t get us wrong, we are also impressed, but as we take a closer look at the product’s offerings on paper, we start to question how many of these new innovations are unique to Qatar Airways.”
Writing for Skift, Brian Sumers said the QSuite announcement demonstrated that “Qatar Airways is making the right decision in focusing on business class, rather than first … calculating the massive seats and over-the-top service of first class no longer makes sense in a competitive market.”
Runway Girl’s Seth Miller was impressed with the creativity of the seating layout and finishes, but doubted QSuite’s appeal to business travelers. “For a family of four traveling together, I think the product is hard to beat … But I also found myself questioning the use case for business travelers,” he opined. Similarly, John Walton questioned what percentage of Qatar Airways’ business-class customer segment is made up of four passengers traveling together. He also probed whether the cabins offer soundproofing “to ensure that lively four-person conversations, tedious work discussions or rowdy games of Snap don’t bounce straight off the plastic ceiling panels into neighbouring seats?”