Qatar Airways to introduce new economy class seating

6 Mar 2019 by Tom Otley

Qatar Airways is to introduce new economy class seating, though passengers are set for a long wait until they experience it.

Despite various rumours of a staggered formation to the seating, the seat is in a traditional configuration. What is different is the design which allows the seat to recline by the seat pan and lumbar region to move forward with a fixed shell.

The seat is made by Italian company Optimares.

You can see details of the seat on its website

Qatar Airways has also tweeted details about it below.

The new seats have a semi-fixed back shell so passengers can recline the seat from the take-off and landing position of 6 degrees recline to a maximum 19 degree recline without causing problems for the passenger in the seat behind.

The seat will have new 13.3 inch 4K inflight entertainment screens and USB Type-C with fast charging capabilities.

Connectivity will also be improved, with “up to 10 times faster broadband, as well as more than 4,000 entertainment options on Qatar Airways’ Oryx One in-flight entertainment system”.

Qatar Airways slide 2 economy

The seats will initially be on the airline’s A320 Neos ‘Cabin Flex’, but the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker said they will be rolled out across the fleet and also be installed on new aircraft deliveries.

At present the first seats will not be seen until the aircraft receives its delivery, and that is estimated to be the end of 2020 or even the beginning of 2021.

Mr Al Baker said it would take between five and eight years after that initial date for the roll-out to be completed.

When asked about when the first customers would experience the new seat, Al Baker told Business Traveller

“Hopefully the end of next year or maybe the beginning of 2021, because we want [the aircraft] with the enhanced cabin.”

The first aircraft with the new seat will be one of Qatar’s new A321 aircraft.

On what routes will it be seen?

Al Baker said that as these aircraft are replacing the current A320s and A321s, then it would be on the same routes.

“Plus we have 10 A321LRs which will be the first ones delivered and these have an intercontinental range and are used on routes which are very thin, or where we are swopping planes for routes with a low seasonal demand.”

In business class the seat will give passengers the option of privacy if they want it, according to Mr Al Baker. It is likely the seat will be similar to that the Jetblue seat on its narrow body aircraft. Details will be released in another 12 months, and so if that is March 2020 it gives some indication that the new deliveries will not be until end of 2020 or 2021.

QR economy slide

Mr Al Baker was also keen to emphasise that the new economy seating would be accompanied by an upgrade in the food and service elements, including more choice and more generous portions, and that this upgrade would be happening from next month, well ahead of the seats.

This new ‘Quisine’, will see new tableware, a menu offering more choices, 25 per cent larger main courses, 20 per cent larger appetisers, and 50 per cent larger desserts.

The new options are also more environmentally sustainable, with  “a significant increase in rotable, recyclable and biodegradable products and reduction in single-use plastic”.

Qatar Airways QSuine

The airline also introduced seven new destinations:

  • Izmir (3 frequencies per week)
  • Rabat (3 frequencies per week)
  • Malta (daily)
  • Davao (1 weekly)
  • Lisbon (weekly) plus two new
  • Mogadishu (three times weekly)
  • Langkawi (Five times weekly)

We will give further details of the exact commencement dates when they are confirmed later today.

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