Qatar Airways is always at the forefront of innovation. They released their QSuites all suite business class product back in June of 2017 and it’s hands down the best business class in the sky. We would argue that it’s even better than some first class products. This year at ITB Berlin Qatar took most of the attention again as they announced a new “revolutionary” economy class product. While we don’t think the product is revolutionary, it certainly is a nice enhancement.
So whats new about Qatar’s Economy seat?
- Semi-fixed back shell design with a 19 degree recline system
- Pre-reclined of six degrees for takeoff and landing
- Adjustable, lightweight headrest
- 2 multi-function tray tables for maximum adaptability and table space
- 13.3 inch 4K in-flight entertainment screens
- USB Type C outlets
How can you fly in the new Economy?
The simple answer, is that you can’t right now. The first plane to get the new seats will be the A321neo. Qatar is taking delivery of their first A321neo this year. Outside of the A321neo, Qatar has plans to install the new seats across the fleet in the next 5-8 years. It’s unclear if Qatar is retrofitting the economy cabins with these new seats at the same time that they add in QSuites to the existing fleet.
The new product looks great and is definitely more evolutionary, not revolutionary. The existing Qatar economy product is already very good so it’s not a huge deal to see this process take 5-8 years to complete. The one concern that we have is whether the enhancements are actually necessary. Most in flight video content that the airlines are receiving are nowhere near 4k quality and how much of a difference will it make going from an HD screen to a 4k screen that is 12″ in front of your face? Probably not much. The one thing we like seeing is that they plan to have Type C ports in these seats, as an early adopter of new technology, its annoying carrying separate cables that perform the same function for 2 different USB ports. Also hope they include at least one USB Type A port in the seat as well, at least in the near term until USB Type C is more widely used.
What do you make of Qatar’s new seats?