Will Qatar Airways Install Suites In Its New Narrow-Body Aircraft?

a plane flying in the sky

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Qatar Airways revolutionised Business Class seating when it introduced the world to its QSuite product back in 2017 and now it looks like there’s a chance that the airline will add a suite-like product to the Business Class cabins of its soon-to-be-delivered A321 aircraft.

Once again Aviation Analyst has the scoop here (that was also the source for the news that Qatar Airways will be retiring its A380s from 2024) and it all comes down to a conversation with the Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Qatar Airways has outstanding orders for the A321neo and the A321LR and Al Baker has confirmed that the incoming aircraft will have a brand new Business Class seat “that’s not [currently] in Qatar Airways’ fleet“.

Most of the current Qatar Airways A320’s (reviewed here) offer true lie-flat Business Class seats in a similar 2-2 configuration that you’ll find on American’s A321 transcontinental aircraft (some are still configured in a regional configuration)….

a row of seats on an airplane
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class Cabin

…but the new aircrafts’ Business Class cabin may look very different to this.

When pushed for more information Al Baker didn’t give too much away but suggested that the new cabin would offer “lots of privacy”.

As good as I think the current lie-flat cabin is (for a narrow-body aircraft) there’s no way that it could be described as offering lots of privacy and I cannot imagine a cabin with a 2-2 layout that fits that description.

Only a cabin with a 1-1 layout could house a truly private seat and that suggests Qatar Airways may be installing a product similar to the JetBlue Mint suites….

a seat in a plane
JetBlue Mint Suite – Image courtesy of JetBlue

….in a configuration that we see in the First Class cabin of American’s A321 transcontinental aircraft.

American Airlines A321 First Class
American Airlines A321 Transcontinental First Class

I wouldn’t call American’s A321 First Class seats all that private so Al Baker’s comments (taken at face value) would suggest a door will be installed at all the sets to give that added privacy.

The Qatar Airways A321neos and A321LRs are being brought it to take over routes that the older A320s are currently operating as well as a number of routes currently served by the airlines Airbus A330s.

Al Baker is quoted as saying that flights to Phuket and Krabi in low season are likely to offer the A321s and the aircraft may also be used to open up new destinations in Africa.

According to Airbus the A321LR has the longest range of any single-aisle jetliner with the ability to operate routes of up to 4,000 nm with 206 passengers so, as this range map shows…..

a map of the world

…there aren’t all that many routes that Qatar Airways flys that are out of the aircraft’s range.

On that note Al Baker confirmed that the airline would also consider using the new aircraft on European routes “where the destination does not really have the volume for a widebody aircraft

I would image this would include the airline’s routes to destinations like Malta, Pisa and possibly even some of the Nordic countries.

Bottom Line

Sometimes its hard to know just how much of what Akbar Al Baker says to believe and how much of it is hyperbole and bluster (we’re still waiting for a number of routes to open up that he promised over two years ago) but you have to take it seriously when the man who brought us the QSuites says that the A321s will have a new and “private” seat.

JetBlue already offers a very nice private suite in its Mint cabins so, even though Qatar Airways would have to fit considerably more such suites to its aircraft than JetBlue has done, it’s not out of the realms of possibility that we’ll see something similar on the new Qatar Airways aircraft – that will be yet another reason to fly with the airline.

Qatar Airways is currently offering some excellent Business Class fares between two US cities and Asia which offer the QSuite Business Class cabin

Featured image courtesy of Airbus