Qatar Airways' 'Ascendent' New Business Class Takes To The Skies For The First Time

But is it as good as the Qsuite?

Qatar Airways today launches its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner passenger aircraft.

These new Dreamliner aircraft feature a brand new business class product for Qatar Airways – a carrier known for already having the best business class product in the skies (the Qsuite). The new product, however, has a new name: The Adient Ascent Business Class Suite.

Why change? Some believe it is because the fuselage of these new 787 jets is slightly narrower than of the A350 and 777 (which hold Qatar Airways’ Qsuites) and that the 787 isn’t wide enough to have four Qsuites per row. Qatar Airways may also have been looking to reduce the weight of the seats for both commercial and environmental reasons (discussed in more detail below).

Image: Qatar Airways

The new 787 jets will service a number of important routes to Europe and Asia (from Qatar), starting with the carrier’s Doha to Milan service on Friday 25 June 2021.

According to Flightradar24, this flight successfully departed at 8:35am local time this morning, and at the time of writing, is currently flying over Baghdad.

Image: Flightradar24. Screenshot taken by DMARGE at 10:30am Doha time (5:30pm AEST).

The new aircraft is scheduled for services from Doha to Athens, Barcelona, Dammam, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid and Milan and has a total passenger capacity of 311 seats. This is made up of 30 Business Class Suites and 281 seats in Economy Class.

Built with the “unique Qatar Airways design DNA,” Qatar Airways says “the new Adient Ascent Business Class Suite embodies a contemporary design that is truly personal, spacious and functional, allowing you to relax in your own private sanctuary.”

Image: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al-Baker, said: “In-line with our commitment to offering our passengers an unparalleled travel experience, we are pleased to introduce this much-anticipated Business Class Suite on Qatar Airways’ newest wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 which will debut onto a number of key routes within our network.”

“The new Business Class Suite sets yet another industry standard with a uniquely private experience for premium passengers travelling with us, which is becoming increasingly valuable during this pandemic, while showcasing Qatar Airways’ 5-star standards of excellence and Qatari hospitality that are quintessential on all of our flights.”

“Our passengers deserve the best and I am confident that they will appreciate the larger Dreamliner variant for its unmatched comfort in the sky. Passengers can rest assured that its responsible impact on the environment fully aligns with our ambition to achieve the highest levels of sustainability.”

Qatar Airways has also revealed further details about the new business class – it will feature fully flat beds the same length of that offered by the Qsuite, and still gives all business class passengers direct aisle access.

“Arranged in a herringbone pattern, in a 1-2-1 configuration, each suite has direct aisle access with a sliding door to ensure the ultimate in privacy and comfort. Passengers seated in adjoining centre suites can slide the privacy panels away at the touch of a button to create their very own enclosed private space,” Qatar Airways announced.

“The Business Class Suite, transforms into a 79 [inch] fully-flat bed, offering elevated levels of comfort on board. Passengers can relax during their flight, knowing their personal mobile device is stored safely in a dedicated phone holder, equipped with a wireless charging technology that is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.”

Image: Qatar Airways

The airline also shed information on the cuisine situation, explaining: “The Business Class Suite is complemented with the airline’s industry-leading onboard service from its award-winning cabin crew. This includes a wide selection of international cuisine, food and beverages, as well as healthy vegan meal options that are a part of Qatar Airways’ à la carte dine-on-demand menu.”

Will it be as good as the Qsuite? Until we try it for ourselves we’re reluctant to weigh in. But there’s nothing obvious that leads us to believe it will be worse.

As for Economy, it will enjoy Recaro-produced seats which Qatar Airways claims “exemplify the latest design and technology.”

Each seat has a 13-inch Panasonic IFE touch screen and a personal electronic device holder for both mobiles and iPads. The seat also has a rotatable armrest that can be completely stowed away to the backrest.

The Boeing 787-9 is the latest member of the Boeing aircraft in Qatar Airways’ fleet, and is also claimed to be a move towards sustainability.

Qatar Airways states: “As the Middle East launch customer for the Boeing 787, the airline has continued to fly its fleet of 30 787-8s throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to its strong fuel efficiency and excellent reliability record.”

“Qatar Airways’ investment in the 787-9 once again underscores the airline’s commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The airline also shared the following regarding the decision to ground its larger, four-engine jets.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. Qatar Airways’ fleet of 53 Airbus A350 and 37 Boeing 787 are the ideal mix for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.”

Not everyone is happy about this. Some fans of the airline have complained about the standing down of the A380 on social media. One user wrote in the comments of Qatar Airways’ announcing of the news on Instagram: “You don’t reactivate your A380s, so I boycott your airline. Don’t claim that low standard aircraft is better than the A380!”

Many others however welcomed the change, commenting things like “goodbye” to those that were threatening a boycott. Our take? The boycotters are missing the point.

In the end, though, only time (and tickets sold) will tell if it was a good business decision.

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