Back in November last year we had good news to report from Qatar Airways – the airline was shifting its entire Singapore – Doha schedule to the Airbus A350-1000 from 31st March 2019, meaning all three daily flights would feature the stunning Qsuite in Business Class.
Unfortunately the airline has been shuffling aircraft allocations around lately with some last minute changes for the northern summer season, which starts next weekend, and the Qsuite has been quietly withdrawn from many Singapore services.
Almost a fifth of Qatar Airways flights from Singapore to Doha between 1st April 2019 and 15th July 2019 will feature the older Collins Super Diamond seats instead of the Qsuite.
Qatar Airways flies three flights per day from Singapore to Doha:
- QR945 (Depart 02:15, Arrive 05:30)
- QR943 (Depart 10:45, Arrive 13:50)
- QR947 (Depart 21:25, Arrive 00:15*)
* Next day
From Doha to Singapore the same three aircraft operate as follows:
- QR946 (Depart 02:50, Arrive 15:45)
- QR944 (Depart 07:15, Arrive 20:15)
- QR942 (Depart 20:45, Arrive 09:05*)
* Next day
Originally from 31st March 2019 all three Qatar Airways flights between Singapore and Doha were scheduled to be operated by the A350-1000, featuring Qsuites in Business Class.
This will now only be the case from 16th July 2019, nearly four months from now, with over 30% of flights between 1st April and 15th July operated by the Airbus A350-900.
That doesn’t mean no Qsuites on those flights, around a fifth of Qatar’s A350-900s do now have the new product installed and so it’s a case of “some with, some without”.
Here’s how GDS shows the aircraft allocation and seat types between 1st April and 16th July, so you can easily see if your flight is affected, with the older Super Diamond seat highlighted in blue and the Qsuite in red.
* For QR942, departure from DOH is on the previous calendar day. Table shows departure date for flights ex-SIN.
As you can see the route is a bit of a mixed bag during April, with Qsuite consistency throughout May, followed by six weeks of the QR944/947 pairing returning to the Super Diamond seat in June and for the first half of July.
That’s a daytime service from Doha to Singapore, with an evening flight from Singapore to Doha. It’s also the only Qatar departure that allows any meaningful time in the best oneworld lounges at Changi’s T1 – the Qantas Singapore Lounge and the British Airways Singapore Lounge.
You can also squeeze a visit into the aforementioned lounges if you’re flying out on QR945 and arrive early – Qatar allows check-in up to 4 hours before departure at their early check in desk at T1 Row 3 (even though the Changi Airport website says 3 hours).
From 16th July the original plan is restored, with three Qsuite-equipped A350-1000s serving Singapore each day. That schedule is valid for the remainder of the summer 2019 season and into the northern winter timetable too.
The schedule above is correct at 22nd March and is, of course, subject to change (see ‘How to know your flight has Qsuite’ below to be certain).
Which Qatar Airways have the Qsuites?
Currently only newer Airbus A350-900s, all Airbus A350-1000s and selected Boeing 777-300ERs have the product installed. The only aircraft you’re guaranteed to get the Qsuite on is the A350-1000.
- A350-900: 23% (7/31)
- A350-1000: 100% (7/7)
- 777-200LR: 78% (7/9)
- 777-300ER: 45% (22/48)
Wide body aircraft without Qsuite:
- A330/340 (0/31)
- A380 (0/10)
- 787 (0/30)
In total 43 of Qatar Airways’ total wide body fleet are now fitted with Qsuite in Business Class, two years after launch. That’s still only 26% of the 166 aircraft, though if you exclude the A330/A340, A380 and 787, since the current Qsuite design doesn’t fit on these narrower aircraft, it’s a more respectable 45% completion rate.
Note that Qatar Airways also operates two additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which are leased from LATAM and have a 2-2-2 configuration in Business Class. These are not scheduled to fly on the Singapore route, but a substitution is not impossible.
What’s the Qsuite like?
We flew the Qsuite on the A350-1000 from Frankfurt to Doha in September last year. It wasn’t perfect – the food and service were a bit of a let-down, and the seat itself is smaller than it looks (certainly no First Class competitor in size terms).
Having said that, the design and finish of the product, the excellent privacy and the ‘proper’ double bed or quad / group style middle seating options simply make this a fantastic hard product.
If you haven’t tried it – you should!
What’s the alternative?
We shouldn’t talk about the ‘older’ Qatar Airways seats, the Collins Super Diamond product fitted to the non-Qsuite A350-900, in a derogatory way. This is a solid Business Class seat, indeed recently selected by British Airways for a long overdue renewal of its Club World cabin (albeit with a privacy door in that case).
This is the seat you will get to and from Singapore on the flights that don’t feature the Qsuite. If you are flying on an A350-900 with the Qsuite, it may also be substituted for this one.
While it’s no Qsuite in terms of privacy, the 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration in this cabin is still sufficiently private, especially if you can secure a window seat when flying solo.
For couples the middle pairs certainly don’t have the allure of the rear-facing E/F seats on the Qsuite (which convert into a double bed), but are still a good option.
That doesn’t change the fact of course that if you booked or redeemed purely to try the new Qsuite, this alternative simply won’t cut it for you.
Where else is Qsuite flying?
Within an approximate 5-hour flying radius of Singapore (a length probably worth going to in our opinion if you can secure a low fare or a good redemption), the following Asia-Pacific cities are also served by Qsuite flights this summer season as follows:
- QR638/639 (77W)
- QR870/871 (77W)
Shanghai – Doha is an all-Qsuite route this summer.
- QR815/816 (77W)
- QR817/818 (77W)
Hong Kong – Doha is an all-Qsuite route this summer.
- QR844/845 (359)
Note: This flight switches to the Qsuite from 15th July 2019 (16th July 2019 ex-KUL).
- QR672/673 (359)
- QR674/675 (359)
- QR830/831 (77W)
- QR832/833 (77W) from 15th July 2019
From 15th July 2019, both morning and evening 777-300ER flights to / from Bangkok have Qsuite Business Class, until then only the morning flight has it.
How to know your flight has Qsuite
Before you book or redeem, check the seat map at ExpertFlyer. A free account is sufficient. If your flight has the Qsuite it will look like this:
If the flight is operated by an A350-900 with the Super Diamond seat it will look like this:
If you’re flying from Bangkok or Hong Kong on the 777-300ER, again it’s pretty obvious using ExpertFlyer whether your flight has Qsuites (left) or the older 2-2-2 layout (right):
Once you have a booking, you can select your seat on the Qatar Airways website using your PNR (booking reference), even if you book through another airline (e.g. BA Avios or American AAdvantage). There the seat map will also be obvious if you have the Qsuite (some of the seats face backwards):
You can keep checking the seat map this way once you have a booking to make sure your flight still has a Qsuite configuration.
Finally if you’re flying from Singapore to Doha in Business Class on Qatar Airways, you can put your mind at ease (or accept your fate) and find out for sure by checking whether your flight will have Qsuites around 9-14 hours before departure, by looking at which aircraft has departed from Doha to Singapore to operate your flight.
You can do this using a site or app like flightradar24.
- SIN-DOH QR943: Check QR942 from 00:45 SGT
- SIN-DOH QR945: Check QR944 from 12:15 SGT
- SIN-DOH QR947: Check QR946 from 07:25 SGT
If the aircraft is on its way from Doha is an A350-1000, you’ve got the Qsuite. If it is an A350-900, check the updated list of aircraft registrations which have the Qsuite installed on this FlyerTalk wiki thread.
For example if I were flying on QR945 tonight at 2am, I can already see that an A350-900 will be flying the flight:
The FlyerTalk post above shows that this aircraft, A7-AMH, does have the Qsuite.
Qsuite award pricing
The following table shows how many miles or points you’ll need to redeem a Qsuite between Singapore and Doha with a variety of frequent flyer programs.
|Qatar Qsuite redemption Singapore-Doha|
Searching Qsuite award flights
An important factor to consider when searching Qatar Airways redemptions is that they enforce ‘married segment’ award availability in some cases.
In other words there may be award space on a flight with an aircraft change in Doha en route, for example from Singapore to Paris via Doha, but no award space between Singapore and Doha when searching the first flight in isolation.
Qatar is holding back inventory for what the majority of its customers want to do – transit Doha on the way from City A to City B.
No offence to Doha or the state of Qatar, but most of our readers in Singapore don’t actually want to go there. It’s more likely you want to go to all the way to Europe or the USA.
For example if you want to go to Europe, you may logically choose to start by searching Singapore to Doha availability, to then determine which date you can travel on, before searching for an onward Europe flight. That’s not the best way to do it.
As you can see below, searching Singapore to Doha in isolation on 8th February using the BA Avios site reveals no Business Class award seats on QR945.
Searching instead for Singapore to Paris on the same date shows you can in fact redeem on QR945, provided you are making an onward connection and not terminating your journey in Doha.
The problem with this is knowing which European city has availability, assuming you don’t mind where in Europe you start your trip. That might mean making multiple searches (e.g. Paris, London, Frankfurt, etc…)
Singapore sadly has to wait a bit longer then we first thought to become a dedicated Qsuite route for Qatar Airways. The new seat is a fantastic industry-leading product, so it’s no surprise many people want to try it. For those who booked or redeemed and now find themselves in the older seat – bad luck. If the sole or main purpose of your trip was to try the new product, you might want to change flights, dates or cancel.
Qsuite is never guaranteed due to the possibility of equipment swaps right up to day of operation. The only aircraft that definitely has it is the A350-1000, so if that’s the type operating your flight and it’s still showing the same the day before or on the day itself, you’re almost 100% safe.
Checking the seat map is another way to make sure your flight is scheduled for the new product. Keep checking right up to the day of departure, as you may want to change to a different flight or cancel the ticket / redemption if a swap occurs.
The aircraft type with the highest chance of a swap to the older seat types is the A350-900. Only 21% of these have the Qsuite and substitutions will inevitably occur.
In our opinion that makes Bangkok and Hong Kong (both of which are served by 777-300ER Qsuite planes) safer options as a backup when there is no availability from Singapore (rather than KL), though even these routes can be swapped at the last minute.
The downside there is that if your 777-300ER is swapped to an older version, it’s the much older 2-2-2 configuration, whereas if your A350-900 is swapped to an older version you still have a more private and newer 1-2-1 config.
Lastly remember when searching for award space (for example through BA or American Airlines sites) to look for as many cities as you would consider fly to, assuming you aren’t just flying to or from Doha. There may be ‘hidden’ availability which doesn’t show simply be searching a single sector.
(Cover Photo: Qatar Airways)