Simon Wilson flies aboard Qatar Airways QR921 from Auckland to Doha.
The plane: Boeing 777-200LR.
Price: Auckland to Doha return from $3379.
Flight time: The former longest flight in the world really is long. 17 hrs 40mins. You read, watch a movie, eat, watch a movie, sleep, eat, read, watch a movie, stare at your book and you're still only halfway there. We arrived 20 minutes early, as if it mattered.
My seat: Compact. I was on the aisle and felt very lucky not to have anyone next to me.
Fellow passengers: New Zealanders, mainly, but quite a lot of departing visitors too, heading for points all over Europe.
How full: 90 per cent full.
Entertainment: Qatar does not have a great entertainment service. Perhaps two or three big new-release movies, rather than the wide lineup of some other airlines, and a relatively modest selection of older titles. Searching for hidden treasures can be a disheartening experience. It's the same for TV and music too. Changes monthly.
The service: Friendly but a bit forgetful. That second cup of coffee might not arrive unless you remind them, and if you're asleep when they come round with breakfast you might miss out.
Food and drink: Standard European airline food with a standard Middle Eastern option as well.
The toilets: Very clean and well-maintained throughout.
Luggage: A generous 32kg allowance.
The airport experience: With the work that never ends, Auckland International Airport is an experience in itself. Transiting through Doha is a real treat: the place is vast and extremely clearly organised, although you'll be lucky to find a drink.
The stayover: Because my connecting flights were about 21 hours apart, the airline arranged a room in its transit hotel, the Oryx Rotana. Extremely comfortable, with helpful staff, although the online information about guided tours of Doha was misleading. Get reception to arrange for you. It's worth it: there are many great sites to visit around the waterfront, including the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by Norman Foster, with treasures from all over the Middle East and Islamic Europe; and the labyrinthine outdoor market, the Souk Waqif.
The bottomline: Qatar Airways gets you there with little fuss and little fancy either. It's better than a budget airline but there's nothing special. The safety video is awfully dull.