Qatar Airways, yesterday set a new standard in business travel when it unveiled the first-ever ‘party of four’ seating configuration plus the first-ever double bed available in Business Class.
The revolutionary and customizable private business suites, named QSuite, was unveiled at the ongoing ITB Berlin travel fare. QSuite is patented and had been in the making for two years.
QSuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed available in Business Class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room.
Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialize together.
These new features provide the ultimate customizable travel experience that enables passengers to create an environment that suits their own unique needs.
However, to enjoy the full benefits of the QSuite, especially the middle suites, business class passengers will always have to travel in groups of families or friends or at least colleagues.But this is not possible.
The QSuite strikes me more as a social semi private space which should be exploited and explored, however, except Qatar Airways will begin match-making families and friends, the possibility of seat mates not being familiar with one another will reduce this magnificent suite into a space full of shy passengers.
Or should the airline give passengers the opportunity to preview other passengers' profiles and preselect their seat mates at the point of online check-in?
The QSuite is perfect for a couple or a family of 4 and not a family of 3 or 5 or 7. And that is my problem with the QSuite, at least until I actually fly in them.
More importantly, my other problem with the ‘party of four’ seating configuration is 'noise'. I hope Qatar Airways will be able to manage the inevitable nuisance and distractions associated with social spaces especially with lively and exuberant seatmates.
Families might want to enjoy a game together which can potentially get rowdy, work colleagues might decide to do an emergency board meeting on board. Oh, what if you have those annoyingly noisy high school students travelling together for a field trip? Well, they usually fly economy! Don't they?
Chidozie Uzoezie is an aviation enthusiast, a frequent flyer, a freelance writer and a travel blogger. He is the editor and the publisher of The Afritraveller. He blogs and writes mostly about aviation, air travel and airlines products and services, especially with respect to passenger experience, #PaxEx. He is also the creator and the admin of the African Aviation Group on Facebook.