Stephanie Holmes flies aboard Qatar's QR921 from Doha to Rome Fiumuncino

Plane:

Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner.

Class: Economy.

Advertisement

Price: Auckland to Rome return fares are from $1445.

Luggage: 30kg of checked baggage/7kg of hand luggage.

Check-in: After checking in online, at Auckland Airport my luggage was checked all the way through to Split, my final destination. So I had nothing to do at Doha other than go through transit security screening.

Airport experience: Getting off the Auckland-to-Doha flight, we walked down steps on to the tarmac and got buses to the terminal. Walking out of the plane was like walking into a steam room - 11pm and still 35C. Luckily the airport's air con was cranking. Hamad International was calm, quiet and peaceful. Plenty of shops to browse, but I just headed to my gate.

Flight time: 5 hours 35 minutes.

On time: About 20 minutes late to leave.

Seat: 29H, an aisle seat in the last cabin. It felt like a tight squeeze with people in both seats next to me. And after sitting through a 17 hours 15 minutes' flight previously, this shorter flight felt really long and my back was sore from so much sitting.

How full: About 95 per cent. No chance of finding a spare row to stretch out.

Entertainment: The Oryx One system, which had fewer movies to choose from on the Dreamliner than there had been on the 777. I mostly tried to sleep.

Food and drink: A light snack was available after take-off, but I slept through it. Breakfast before landing was a flavourful chicken frittata, garlic mushrooms and potato wedges. My neighbour had the sweet bread pudding which looked pretty good too.

Service: The crew were super-helpful - especially when I realised I'd left my reusable water bottle at the boarding gate. They wouldn't let me off to go and get it, instead delivering it to me at my seat before we took off, with no fuss. Throughout the flight water and juice was served, and the crew were immaculately presented at all times.

Fellow passengers: A large Asian tour group, as well as some stylish Italians.

Toilets: Clean and well-stocked, with a welcome eau de toilette spray to help me mask my long-haul odour.

Would I fly this again: Yes, but next time I'd find a quiet spot at Hamad International and do some yoga stretches in between flights.