Travel

Review: Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class Barcelona to Doha

Qatar Airways has earned a stellar reputation for its exceptional business class offerings, and recently introduced a new generation of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners equipped with a brand-new “Business Suite”. This new business class product took to the skies back in June 2021, marking a new chapter in Qatar Airways’s already impressive business class lineup.

The Business Suite is engineered to deliver the same level of comfort and sophistication as the award-winning Qsuites; however, some modifications have been made to fit the 787-9 plane’s narrower frame.

With many prior trips with Qatar Airways under my belt and a keen interest in the latest innovations in air travel, I was curious to see how the Qatar Airways Business Suite stacked up to the airline’s other products.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Booking

Qatar Airways currently operates 11 wide-body 787-9 planes in its fleet, which have the capacity to fly to a wide range of long-haul destinations; however, the airline has largely chosen to deploy these planes on medium-haul routes for the time being. As a result, the Business Suites available on these planes can most often be found on flights between Doha and various European cities.

For award bookings, Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers highly competitive rates with minimal surcharges. In this case, I booked a one-way flight from Barcelona to Doha for 45,000 Qatar Airways Avios plus €90 ($130 CAD) in taxes and fees.

While redeeming Avios may incur higher costs compared to AAdvantage miles, it’s important to note that especially for Canadian travellers, earning Avios is often more accessible and convenient than accumulating AAdvantage miles. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to conserve your AAdvantage miles and instead opt to redeem Avios.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Ground Experience

Qatar Airways’s business class passengers departing from Barcelona typically receive access to the Joan Miro Lounge in the non-Schengen departures area.

This third-party lounge offers a pretty solid pre-flight experience with sleek and modern décor and a range of amenities, including a buffet spread, varied seating, workstations, and showers.

For those departing from Doha, you’ll have access to the flagship Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge, which represents a much more impressive option that’s in line with the lofty standards of Qatar Airways’s business class products.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Cabin

There are a total of 30 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each suite providing direct aisle access.

Upon entering the Qatar Airways 787-9 business class cabin, I immediately noted its stunning visual appeal, as one would expect from Qatar Airways. Furthermore, the cabin features a unique mix of reverse herringbone and herringbone seating that is not commonly seen.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Cabin

Throughout the cabin, the airline’s signature maroon branding tastefully accents the space, and an entryway at the rear of the cabin features a textured wall adorned with the Qatar Airways logo. Additionally, the cabin boasts a display of roses that adds an extra touch of sophistication to the space.

Despite my flight taking place in January, well after the 2022 FIFA World Cup had passed, I was surprised to find some themed amenities still present on board.

The cabin boasts a slick vaulted ceiling that runs the length of the space along with recessed overhead bins, giving it a spacious feel, albeit smaller and shorter than the Qsuites cabin. Moreover, the business class cabin has a neat little “walkway” that leads to the far aisle without having to go through the galley.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Cabin
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Cabin

Note that the middle seats in the business class cabin are angled towards the aisle and away from each other, which is an interesting feature compared to the usual setup with them angled towards each other.

As a result, couples may prefer to avoid the middle seats; however, the middle divider can be lowered electronically by pressing the “down” buttons on both sides of the partition simultaneously.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Middle seat

Overall, I highly recommend choosing window seats for the best experience, which also comes with a sliding door that provides a good amount of privacy.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Window seat
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Cabin with sliding doors closed

The first seven rows of the cabin are aligned with each other, while row eight is offset from the rest of the cabin, providing extra privacy for solo passengers.

It’s also worth noting that the suites in Row 5 do not have windows.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Seat

As I made my way through the business class cabin, I arrived at Seat 7K. The seat design immediately echoed that of the Qsuites, with faux marble consoles, rose-gold touches, and Qatar Airways’s signature burgundy accents, which happens to also be my favorite colour.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Seat

After settling in, I took a moment to start exploring the new seat. Positioned on the back of the seat in front of me was a large, high-resolution 18-inch high-definition entertainment screen.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Entertainment screen

On the back of the seat in front of me, there was a large literature pocket, which was flush into the vertical surface.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Literature pocket

Beneath the entertainment screen, there was a notably small footwell, with no under-seat storage available. A lack of storage seems to be a minor gripe that some passengers have with these new business class seats.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Footwell

The tray table was sturdy, and smoothly slides out from beneath the entertainment screen. It was also designed to swivel up to 90 degrees, allowing for easier access and movement even when the table was in use.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Tray table
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Tray table

Located to the right of the seat, the adjustable armrest could be lifted to the desired height or lowered to increase the seat’s width when in the upright or lie-flat positions.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Armrest

Situated to the left of the plush seat was a compact two-tiered console table, with adequate space for a few beverages or a small laptop.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Console

A panel situated above the console table was home to the in-flight entertainment controller, a universal power outlet, a USB port, and the headphone jack.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Entertainment controller & outlets

Along the edge of the console, I found the seat controls within easy reach, which included three preset positions, separate buttons for adjusting the leg rest, and a “Do Not Disturb” button.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Seat controls

Above the console, there was a storage compartment equipped with a mirror on the inside and a shallow storage compartment that came with a set of headphones.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Storage space

A larger light fixture complete with three different brightness settings could be found up top by your shoulders, as well as a secondary pop-up reading light.

Finally, the most notable feature of the Business Suites is, of course, the sliding door. The suite’s door provides a pleasant layer of added privacy, cocooning you in your own private space.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Sliding door

When shut, there is a slight discernible gap between the door and wall panel, and it’s slightly lower than the door in Qsuites.

The flight crew secures the door in the open position during taxi, takeoff, and landing, but it can be closed once the plane reached cruising altitude.

Overall, the seat is remarkably comfortable and provides a decent amount of privacy. The only downside was the lack of storage space, but on the other hand, the seat had plenty of shoulder room.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Amenities

As we progressed towards take-off, the flight crew kindly offered me a choice of welcome drink, and I opted to start with the Charles Heidsieck Rosé Reserve, as I often associate Qatar Airways with rosé. The airline is one of the few to offer a selection of brut and rosé, and the airline’s branding also reminds me of the colours commonly found in rosé wines.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Welcome drink

During the flight, I also had a chance to examine the Diptyque amenity kit that was left at my seat. While the brand is well-respected, I couldn’t help but feel that the paper box it came in seemed a bit cheap.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Amenity kit

Nevertheless, as I’ve already collected a few of them, I decided to hold onto the kit to give it away to my friends and family later during my trip.

Inside the kit, there was lip balm, body lotion, face cream, and Diptyque eau de toilette perfume.

The flight attendants also presented me with the business class menus: one for food and one for beverages. 

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Food & drinks menu

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Meal Service

Once we reached cruising altitude, the in-flight service began in earnest. The flight attendants had already taken my order prior to take off, after I’d had a chance to peruse through the menus.

The food and non-alcoholic beverage menu for my flight read as follows:

And the alcoholic beverage menu for my flight read as follows:

 

I began with a glass of mango juice before the meal and later switched to the Laurent-Perrier Champagne during meal service. At this point, Qatar Airways’s signature vibrant purple mood lighting was turned on just in time for meal service.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Laurent-Perrier Champagne

To start, a shrimp amuse bouche was followed by a smoked red pepper soup appetizer. This was a pretty tasty start to the flight, but the smoked red pepper soup lacked the spicy kick I was hoping for.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Shrimp amuse bouche
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Shrimp amuse bouche
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Smoked red pepper soup appetizer

Next up was an Arabic mezze appetizer of muhammara, tabbouleh, and hummus served with fresh pita bread. The dishes offered a range of flavors and textures to savour, and were as delicious as always.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Arabic mezze appetizer
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Muhammara, tabbouleh, & hummus appetizer

For my main course, I opted for the saloona giant prawns with saffron-infused rice, which was definitely a highlight.

The prawns were of a generous size and cooked to perfection, and came slathered in a zesty sauce that added a wonderful burst of flavor to the dish.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Saloona giant prawns with saffron-infused rice main course

For dessert, I opted for the fruit salad, which was excellent. I was especially impressed by the generous chunks of mango in it.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Fruit salad dessert

In between meals, there was also a snack and fruit basket set up in the walkway at the back of the business class cabin, which was convenient for those who wanted to grab a quick bite.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Walkway with snacks & fruit basket
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Fruit basket
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Snacks

It’s worth noting that service onboard this flight was somewhat hit or miss. There were times when my water or drink wasn’t topped up, and my tray wasn’t withdrawn for a while after I was finished.

While the overall level of service on Qatar Airways is usually very good, I’ve found over the course of many flights that it may not be flawless, as exemplified on this particular journey where it was somewhat below the usual standards.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Bed

Before putting the seat into lie-flat mode, I decided to check out the restrooms. There are two located at the very back of the business class cabin.

Inside the restroom, you’ll find a generously sized space that boasts some impressive features, such as touchless sinks and windows. A baby-changing station can be lowered on top of the toilet seat, and the restroom is thoughtfully stocked with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and luxurious Diptyque amenities.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Restroom
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Restroom change table
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Restroom amenities

Heading back to my seat, the business class seat easily converts into a lie-flat bed with just the touch of a button. It measures a comfortable 77 inches long, which is slightly shorter than the bed found in Qsuites.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Bed
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Bed
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Bed

It’s important to keep in mind that in lie-flat mode, the 787-9 business class seat is narrower than Qsuites and has a more limited footwell. For shorter flights within Europe and South East Asia, this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue; however, for longer journeys, I’d recommend opting for Qsuites for the most comfortable sleeping experience.

For those travelling as a couple, it’s also worth noting that these business class seats don’t form a complete double bed like the ones found in Qsuites. Instead, only the heads of both passengers are located next to each other, while the bodies face away.

Qatar Airways 787-9 Business Class – Entertainment

Each business class seat is equipped with a generous 18-inch high-definition entertainment screen, with access to Qatar Airways’s personalized in-flight entertainment system, Oryx One.

Oryx One offers a wide selection of entertainment options, including over 1,000 movies and popular TV shows. The system’s intuitive interface is easy to navigate.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Movie selection
Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – TV selection

In addition to its impressive selection of entertainment options, Qatar Airways’s 787-9 Dreamliner also features two outdoor cameras, one facing forward and one facing downward.

The forward-facing camera captures breathtaking views of the plane’s flight path, while the downward-facing camera provides a bird’s-eye view of the landscape below.

Qatar Airways 787-9 business class – Airshow en route to Doha

Conclusion

The Business Suite on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Qatar Airways is certainly in line with the airline’s award-winning business class offerings, and serves as a worthy alternative to Qsuites.

Although it doesn’t provide quite the same level of spaciousness or a complete double bed in the sky as found in Qsuites, the Business Suite still manages to deliver on comfort and privacy, and remains highly competitive against many other airlines thanks to its well-thought-out seat design and sliding door.

Despite some minor drawbacks on this particular flight, such as the occasional lapses in service, I was quite impressed with my experience in Qatar Airways’s 787-9 Business Suite – although I’ll definitely continue to seek out Qsuites whenever possible in the future for an additional level of comfort.



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