Qatar Airways, known for its excellent performance and being named the “World’s Best Airline,” has announced that its new long-haul aircraft will not have first-class seats. The CEO, Akbar Al Baker, believes that the investment in luxurious first-class seats does not bring enough benefits, especially when the airline’s business class offers similar amenities.
In an exclusive interview, Al Baker explained that he doesn’t see the need to invest in a separate class that duplicates the perks of first class. He believes that the future lies in Qatar’s business class, known as the “Q-suite.” This decision has surprised the aviation industry, as Qatar Airways plans to retire its Airbus A380s, which still have first-class seats, and replace them with the next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft.
First class is often seen as a luxury indulgence sought by passengers looking for a special travel experience or as a perk for top executives of corporate clients. Qatar Airways’ decision may influence other airlines, although some are skeptical about whether first class should be abolished as it goes against the five-star image.
Competitors like Qantas Airways Ltd and Air France are already striving to provide high-end facilities and services to passengers. First class and economy class are typically two different seating options on commercial airplanes, offering varying levels of comfort, amenities, and services.
In first class, passengers enjoy a luxurious and premium travel experience with spacious and comfortable seats that can often fully recline or convert into a bed for long-haul flights. They also receive personalized service from dedicated cabin crew members, priority boarding, access to exclusive lounges, and enhanced meal options.
In contrast, economy class provides a more affordable option with smaller seats, less legroom, and limited recline. Amenities are basic, with smaller personal screens, standard meal options, and regular headphones. Economy class passengers receive standard service from flight attendants and do not have access to the exclusive perks enjoyed by first-class passengers.