I’ve received many questions asking whether I prefer Qatar Airways First Class or fancy new Qsuite Business Class. Here’s a comparison of the two products.
Qatar Airways still offers first class aboard its A380-800 aircraft. Thus far, Qsuite Business Class is only available onboard its 777-300ERs. I’ll be comparing a flight from Doha to Paris aboard the A380 in first class with the flight from New York to Doha aboard the 777 in Qsuite Business Class.
I’ll compare the following items:
- Ground Service
- Food + Drink
The difference between first class and business class ground service is quite substantial. First Class passengers have access to the Al-Safwa Lounge in DOH. This beautiful lounge is tranquil and offers a high level of personalized service. A la carte dining is available and private sleeping room are complimentary.
Qsuite Business Class passengers have access to the more limited service Al-Mourjan Lounge. This is still an excellent lounge, but gets crowded and does not offer a la carte dining (beyond sandwiches).
Neither first class no Qsuite passengers receive personal escorts or car service from the lounge to the aircraft.
The first class seat is large, roomy, and comfortable. There is plenty of room to spread out and the seat is very comfortable in lie-flat mode. But there is also limited privacy. Partitions can be raised, but the seat still does not have the same privacy as Qsuite.
Meanwhile, the Qsuite is quite spacious, but feels much more constrained than the first class seat. That said, doors can be closed and the suite is very thoughtfully laid out, maximizing productivity and storage.
I prefer the first class seat, even though the cabin is much more open.
I found service in the two cabins to be identical. It was good, but not great. FAs were well intentioned, generally polished, but not quite as attentive as I would have liked. For example, in both cabins dishes were not promptly cleared away.
But first class service does have extra touches. For example, the flight begins with Arabic coffee and a date, something Qatar no longer offers in business class.
The FA to passenger ratio is also greater in first class.
One of the highlights of my first class flight was spending time at the beautiful onboard bar, but business class passengers also have access to that.
I’d say the potential for good service is better in first class, but I did not notice a difference. It certainly was nothing like flying Emirates or Lufthansa in first class versus business class. That speaks much more highly of Qatar business class than poorly of first class.
Food + Drink
I’ll start with the obvious. First Class still has Krug. Of course, like every respectable Qatar Airways first class trip report, I had to have the obligatory glass and take a picture with the bottle.
First Class also has better wine and additional spirits. In terms of food, though, I did not notice much difference. Both cabins offer on-demand a la carte dining. Brunch items in first class were identical to what I’ve had in business class before. Plates are round in first class and square in business class. Silverware is identical. First Class does receive a caviar course.
Qsuite Business Class:
Both first class and business class passengers receive pajamas and amenity kits. Currently, both cabins receive Bric’s amenity kits. Noise cancelling headphones and bedding are also identical in both cabins. IFE is identical too.
On the A380, Qatar has beautiful large lavatories for first class passengers. Additional amenities are also available.
The Qsuite Business Class lavatories are not bad, just not nearly as spacious.
Verdict: I Prefer Qatar Airways First Class Over Qsuite Business Class
Despite the more open seating plan, I prefer first class over Qsuite business class due to the combination of better ground experience and more comfortable seat. Is first class really necessary on Qatar Airways? Probably not. But I’ll always spend the extra miles for first class if available.