It dawns on me sitting at the gate in Doha that I am about to fly on the longest flight in the world by distance. The return leg is the longest by flight time but this one is scheduled at a hefty 16 hours on its own.
Doha and Auckland are 9,032 miles apart which is why the flight takes so long. Even though I will be in the business class cabin how will it actually be spending so long in the air?
QR920 – Doha to Auckland (DOH-AKL)
13 April 2017
Boeing 777-200LR – A7-BBB
Seat: Business Class 3A
Departure: 03:01 Arrival: 04:00+1
Business class passengers board last on Qatar Airways and this is no different at home base in Doha. When I arrived at the gate, I tried to board and was refused as it was not time for us yet.
Eventually a bus arrived and transported all the business class passengers to the aircraft. It is kind of romantic boarding a large jet aircraft through a covered stairway from the tarmac after two in the morning.
Our Moody Boeing 777 Business Class Cabin
Once at the top of the stairs, the crew direct you to your seat. On first impression the cabin seems spacious, cool and really nicely designed. My first impression was very positive!
Seats in business class are arranged two by two by two and are fully flat. They are spaced some distance from each other so there is lots of space in front. The seats are quite wide too, which is excellent.
One of my crew members noticed I was taking pictures and offered to take one of me. Before that though, she asked what I would like as my welcome drink and whether I would prefer a hot or cold towel. It is very warm in Doha so a cold towel for me, please!
Looking around I could see that tonight’s flight rated slippers and a mattress pad, both of which were stored nearby. Menus are also delivered while on the ground.
What Is The Menu Like On Such A Long Flight?
Dine on demand is offered on Qatar Airways which really comes into its own on such a long flight. Rather than being given food immediately after take-off and then never seeing the crew again, you can eat when it suits you.
The menu is divided into three parts. There is a breakfast menu, light options and what appears to be a full dinner menu. To see the covers and the drinks menu, you can see those in my review of the flight from Pisa to Doha.
Grey pyjamas are provided to all passengers before take-off and I was advised that if the size was incorrect they could be swapped over once we were flying.
During our taxi to the active runway the crew asked if we would like breakfast once in the air. I decided against it and opted for the octopus, enoki mushroom and chive salad by Nobu instead. After that, I planned to try to sleep.
My Bed From Doha to Auckland
Cue much delight when doors closed and I realised the seat next to me was vacant! During boarding in Doha, I asked if the seat next to me was free and was told it wasn’t. Looks like it must have been blocked. Happy days!
Once in the air my drink order was delivered along with some nuts. When asked if there was anything else, I requested my seat be made up into a bed. I planned to keep 3A as a bed for the night, and sit in 3B for movie watching and reading.
It took the crew member a very short time to make up the bed and it looked glorious! It is also terribly difficult to photograph in a dimly lit cabin while climbing to cruising altitude!
The words that spring to mind when it comes to the bed are firm, wide and private. The seats on this aircraft are firm and really quite wide, which is notable as I am used to British Airways Club World which is much more narrow. Private of course as I had no-one sitting next to me.
A Snack Before Bed
On my previous flight I had not quite finished watching Driving Miss Daisy so I found that on the Qatar entertainment system Oryx One. Noise cancelling headphones are provided and I started watching the rest of the movie. Soon enough, my table was laid with white linen and my snack was brought to me.
Nobu is a chef famous for Japanese cuisine and I loved the food when I tried it at the InterContinental Hong Kong. This dish is tart and tasty – exactly what I needed at this point in the trip.
Dozing and Breakfast Time
Deciding to try sleep, I popped across to 3A, popped in some ear plugs from the amenity kit, grabbed the blanket and laid down. I believe I may have had a light sleep. The seat is so spacious it was easy to roll over or to assume an unusual position.
Qatar crew must have a sixth sense as I was awake only a little while before someone swung by to ask if I wanted anything. I decided to have breakfast and to start with I ordered the date and cinnamon smoothie as well as the cucumber, mint and apple energiser. The smoothie tasted better than the energiser!
Tray tables are laid with fresh white linen and you receive a little bowl with three types of bread.
I decided a croissant with honey would be a tasty treat and so it was!
The Main Event
Bircher muesli is a favourite of mine and the one on Qatar comes with blueberries, a strawberry and red things. No issues with taste here!
After this is the breakfast main course which is tomato and chive scrambled egg with grilled fillet of beef. Unfortunately, the meat was incredibly tough and almost impossible to cut. I avoided that part of the meal and ate the rest which was totally fine.
Interestingly I felt tired after all of this food, so I went and laid down again for a while. I may have napped, I may not have, but it was restful either way.
Bringing Sexy Back!
Flights between Doha and Auckland get pyjamas which are issued prior to take off. Mine were L/XL which is no good, so I swapped them for S/M when in the air and changed into them immediately. When boarding the 777, I noticed there is a large light up Oryx that looks quite fetching. Later in the flight I took a picture and the crew noticed and asked if I wanted to be in one.
Naturally I said yes and therefore there is a picture of me, the Oryx and the pyjamas probably somewhere over the Indian Ocean. I decided to watch the movie Fences later on which is not the most cheerful thing to watch on a flight. Great movie though!
Another Meal To Devour
Dine on demand is a great thing as I got to eat exactly when I felt like it. Knowing I was connecting in Auckland to another flight, I decided to have the final meal approximately 2 hours before landing. What’s another four courses between friends? The starter is a beef bresaola, mozzarella, basil and pine nut pesto salad.
Happily the portion sizes are not excessive which means you can just keep shoveling it in. Next up, it was Soup of the Day which I found out was lentil.
While I would not actively choose lentil soup, I had no complaints about this. It was a nod to being slightly healthy at any rate!
Just Keep On Eating!
Next up on my odyssey of eating is the lamb loin with herb crust and rosemary jus. Quite delicious and again a nice portion size.
All good so far and the dessert, which was a hazelnut and salted caramel tart, rounded everything off perfectly.
It is amazing how much one person can eat on one flight and I am very glad I tried most things on the menu. Whenever I was awake there always seemed to be someone eating something.
One More For The Road
With a little time to go, I decided on a mocktail, the Pineapple Margarita, which came with a salted rim. I was asked if I wanted any biscuits and when I couldn’t decide, the crew member said he would bring them all.
Not actually being that much of a pig (though you may disagree!), I only had one packet of biscuits. There is only so much someone can eat. After this everything was cleared away and we descended and landed into Auckland without incident.
Over the tannoy, the cockpit crew apologised for our late arrival. We were 20 minutes late as we were delayed by a queue of traffic in Doha that meant around half an hour on the ground waiting to go. No-one really seemed to mind!
Thinking about it, there are multiple reasons for this. First, the seats are wide and long when in bed mode meaning there is plenty of room to sleep. Next, the provision of nice loose comfortable pyjamas – which everyone changed into – meant no constricting clothing. Finally, dine on demand.
The fact you can dine on demand means you can listen to your body or plan when you want to eat so it suits your schedule. This is a major factor in enhancing comfort on a flight. The length of the flight is probably also beneficial as you know you can sleep as long as you want. It really was just an utterly fantastic flight!
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.