The two Middle Eastern airline giants are battling it out for New Zealand passengers with offers including $1 seat upgrades, air miles offers and knocking hundreds of dollars off fares.

Qatar Airways and Emirates compete daily through their hubs in Doha and Dubai respectively, with 17-hour-plus legs there, then flights of four to seven hours to dozens of European destinations.

The airlines' state owners are bitter political rivals, with the United Arab Emirates part of a two-year-old regional blockade of Qatar that includes an airspace ban.

The airlines, both with young fleets over 250-strong and luxurious premium cabins, have this

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