Qatar Airways have announced that they’re launching new fare structures. Sadly, this’d appear to be bad news for flyers.

Qatar Airways proudly boasts about its business class product. To be fair, they do so for good reason. Innovations such as the Qsuite have changed the way airlines approach their business class offering and have genuinely enhanced travel. Sadly, Qatar Airways are now set to follow the trend being set by many others. They’ve announced new fare types. This will mean a new Qatar Airways Unbundled business class fare.

There will now be three business class fare categories. These are ‘Classic’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Elite’. If you book a ‘Classic’ fare you’ll no longer receive the ‘classic’ service you might associate with a ticket in business class. You will no longer be able to gain lounge access, nor will you be able to choose your seat in advance. Once onboard, however, you should notice no difference.


This is a disappointing development from Qatar Airways, and we’re still to find out the finer details. Particularly how frequent flyers will be impacted. From what we know at the moment, in order to access the Al Mourjan business lounge in Doha or any other ‘Qatar Premium Lounge’ you’ll need to pay an additional fee. It’s currently not clear how much this will be.

Of course, there are other lounges at Doha which Qatar Airways already sends oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members to if they’re in economy. You can find our review of the First Class lounge here. Likewise, in locations such as Bangkok, Sapphire and Emerald members travelling in economy are used to being unable to access the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge Bangkok.

Qatar airways lounge Bangkok

As it stands, I’m not a huge fan of the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha, which I find impersonal and lacking the understated luxury of the Cathay Pacific lounges in Hong Kong. Likewise, I’ve always preferred the Cathay Pacific lounge in Bangkok to Qatar’s. Still, if travelling in business class, it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to use flagship business class lounges, regardless of ticket type.


I question the logic of this. The cost of providing lounge access is marginal. The Al Mourjan lounge is huge. How much money is really being saved by denying all business class passengers the ability to access it? Likewise, Qatar Airways have a problem. It’s far more convenient to fly from Europe directly to Southeast Asia. Often, Qatar Airways is a cheaper option. but it can come at the cost of inconvenient transfer times. Without lounge access Qatar Airways will be a less attractive option.

No doubt Qatar Airways will claim that this will allow them to offer ‘better value’ fares which are ‘optimised’ to meet traveller needs. I’d be highly surprised if the new ‘Classic’ business fare is any cheaper.

With passenger numbers expected to take until at least 2023 or 2024 to recover, I can’t help but question this move. Qatar Airways have long focussed on their reputation as a premium carrier. Sadly, unbundled business class fares don’t really fit the brief.

Let’s see what the details are when they emerge in full.