Next week is the ITB exhibition in Berlin, where airlines will be revealing their new products. I shall be attending so I can share the eagerly awaited new Qatar Airways business class seats. If you want to see the photos live from the show make sure you sign up to follow me on Twitter or Facebook at the top right of this page.
It is hard to see how Qatar can possibly improve their business class seats from the current A350 and B787 offerings. I reviewed them in this article. According to Australian Business Traveller, the new design will be like a suite with sliding doors. This has only been seen previously in some airline’s first class cabins. As you may be aware, Qatar only offer first class on a very limited number of routes on the A380. This new design is meant to offer a first class seat at business class prices. Although in the case of an ex EU sale fare, it is more like premium economy prices or even less! The current business class offering is already not far off the BA First experience. There is also talk of a double bed concept for the middle seats.
Qatar have announced that they will be launching a new route to Skopje in Macedonia. This may not sound that interesting if you are in the UK, but it may be a cheap choice for an ex EU in the future. Getting to Skopje is not that easy unless you live close to Luton. Wizz Air do fly direct at least, and relatively cheaply. If the price is right it may be worth considering. Skopje is a beautiful city, so worth a stop over on the way. I always advise an overnight prior to the main journey on ex EU.
The airline will fly the A320 aircraft direct to Skopje four times a week. It will feature a two-class cabin configuration with 12 seats in Business Class and 132 Economy Class seats. The seats are similar to the B777 seats and are in a 2-2 configuration. This is not ideal for solo travellers. However, the flight time is only likely to be around 5 hours. The Qatar flights will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Improvement to baggage check through for Ex EU fliers
In 2015 Oneworld introduced unpopular new rules. This meant if you were travelling on separate tickets on Oneworld connecting flights, there was no requirement for the airline to check baggage through. BA went one step further and announced that this would also apply to passengers connecting onto another BA flight.
Cathay was the first airline to buck the rules but now Qatar have reportedly said that they will do the same. From 1 March 2017, they will be checking bags through on separate Oneworld tickets. This won’t help leaving the UK on an ex EU, but at least on the way back you can check your luggage all the way through if you are connecting onto BA. The only stipulation is that you meet the minimum connection times at the transfer airport.