Check Out Qatar's All-Business-Class Airbus A319 Jet
Most intercontinental airliners offer at least two classes of service — business and economy, at a minimum — with the world's largest airlines operating three classes or more. There are a handful of planes with only a business-class cabin floating around, however, though they're few and far between. Until recently, SAS offered such a product, and Singapore discontinued its nonstop all-biz Newark-SIN flight, but British Airways still flies an all-biz plane on long-haul trips, as does La Compagnie. And, as I discovered at the Farnborough Air Show this week, so does Qatar Airways.
Qatar operates a pair of all-business-class Airbus A319s as part of its Qatar Executive fleet. For a short time, the planes were used to fly scheduled service between Doha and London, but the airline has since pulled the aircraft from that route. In general, Qatar's A380 offers a better ride between the two cities, anyway, so it's not a huge loss.
Instead of DOH-LHR, the A319 is now used for charter service, flying executives, large (wealthy) families and other customers to and from nearly any airport in the world, on demand. The plane has a range of just under 4,000 miles, so while it could fly across the Atlantic, operating, say, London to New York, it's a better fit for flights out of Qatar's Doha hub, instead. You can see where the aircraft can take you without a stop via the map below:
The plane offers plenty of amenities, including in-flight Wi-Fi. It still has its QR commercial branding, including the Oneworld logo (since Qatar is a member), however you likely won't be able to earn any partner miles on charter flights.
Up front, you'll find a standard A319 cockpit.
The Executive fleet has its own pilots, however this particular aircraft is (very) occasionally used for scheduled service, such as on flights from Doha to Jeddah, in which case QR commercial pilots will fly the plane.
The Business-Class Cabin
The aircraft consists of 40 lie-flat business-class seats in a 2-2 configuration.
There are four rows of seats in the forward cabin, and six rows of seats in the rear.
When fully flat, the seats measure 79 inches long, so even taller passengers should have enough room to sleep comfortably.
The seats may look familiar — it's the B/E Aerospace Diamond model, which is used by American, Delta and United on transcon 757 flights, and on long-haul United flights.
Qatar's seats are a bit more comfortable, however — they feel more luxurious thanks to the high-quality leather.
QR also provides a mattress pad, full-size pillow and a comforter — the same offered on longer commercial flights.
Entertainment and Amenities
Each seat has a pair of noise-canceling headphones, a USB port for charging and an audio jack (that also accommodates personal headphones). All seats offer universal power ports as well.
There's also a water bottle holder (and a water bottle).
The seat controls are responsive and intuitive — they're identical to what United offers on the 787-9.
Each seat also has a 15.4-inch touchscreen on-demand entertainment system.
You can watch a moving map, of course, or choose from a variety of movies and TV shows.
There's also a handheld touchscreen remote. And passengers receive amenity kits (the same version offered on commercial flights).
The bathrooms are also quite nice, though they're hardly gigantic.
Additional amenities are available here as well, just as on QR commercial flights.
Food and Beverage
On charter flights, you can eat pretty much anything you want — as long as it's loaded before departure.
You can choose from multi-course menus or you can opt to serve nothing at all (on a late-night redeye, perhaps).
Fresh fruit and chocolates are available throughout the flight as well.
Qatar Executive allows the airline to show of its in-flight product to an entirely different audience. Unfortunately QR reps weren't able to quote pricing, though they did say it's "less expensive than you may think." Still, you can expect to pay a pretty penny to charter your very own A319 for a 6+ hour flight.
While this plane had been used on regular flights to London, it's now (mostly) only available for charter operations. If it does return to scheduled service, however, it's definitely worth checking out if it fits within your travel plans!
See below for more from Farnborough 2016:
- Bumping into British PM David Cameron at the Farnborough Air Show
- Tour Boeing’s Brand New 737 MAX, Launching with Southwest in 2017
- Inside the E2, Embraer’s Next-Gen Regional Jet
- Touring the Bombardier CSeries Jet, Now Flying with Swiss
- Watch an F-35 Fighter Jet Hover at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show
- Check Out Qatar’s All-Business-Class Airbus A319 Jet
- Inside the Gulfstream G650, One of the World’s Fastest Business Jets
- Explore Qatar Airways’ Incredible Gulfstream G650 Private Jet
- Take a Look Inside Honda’s $4.5 Million Private Jet
- Comparing Economy Seat Pitch, from 29 to 34 Inches
Have you flown Qatar's all-business A319?