Qatar Airways is introducing new economy class seating, though passengers are set for a long wait until they experience it. Despite various rumors 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.
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.”
The seats will initially be on the airline’s A320 Neos Cabin Flex aircraft, 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.
Baker said it would take between five and eight years after that initial date for the roll-out to be completed.
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. He was also keen to emphasize 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.
The new “Quisine” will see new tableware, a menu offering more choices, 25 per cent larger main courses, 20 per cent larger appetizers, and 50 per cent larger desserts.
The new options are also more environmentally sustainable, with “a significant increase in recyclable and biodegradable products and reduction in single-use plastic”.