One of the World's Top Airlines Is Ditching First Class

Qatar Airways is planning to pivot away from the offering on its newest long-haul planes.

Qatar Airways has a reputation as one of the most well-regarded and highest-rated airlines on this planet, so it’s huge news that its CEO Akbar Al Baker just stated in an interview that its next-generation long-haul aircraft will not feature first-class seating.

In an interview with Fortune published over the weekend, Al Baker said that he believes first-class seating is duplicative of the airline’s long-haul business-class Qsuites offering, which he believes has more long-term potential growth. Therefore, the airline’s future Boeing 777X aircraft—which will become the biggest planes in its fleet once they replace its Airbus A380s—will not have any first-class seating.

"I don't see the necessity," Al Baker told the publication.

This development wasn't entirely unexpected, as One Mile at a Time notes that the airline's recently delivered long-haul aircraft—Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s—also do not offer first-class seating.

Still, the Qatar Airways news comes at a time when major airlines seem to be in an arms race for the most over-the-top luxe offerings in the sky. Earlier this year, Lufthansa announced a new "Suite Plus" first class offering it is preparing for a 2024 debut, and Qantas is rolling out new first class seating options. Air France also debuted a new business class cabin earlier this year.

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Joe Erbentraut is the Editorial Director of News at Thrillist. Follow Joe on Twitter.