The arrival last week of Qatar Airways into Auckland's airspace reignited the age-old debate about whether, on the way to Europe, you're better off doing two long flights or one really long flight and one shorter flight.

Flights 920 and 921 between Doha and Auckland cover a mind-boggling 14,534km. When you take off from Auckland, you're looking at 17hr 40min in the air. Once you're in Doha, London is 7hr 35min away.

Kiwis already have a similar option with Emirates through Dubai (which until eight days ago was the longest flight in the world), and from next March we'll be able to fly Perth to London with Qantas.

Give me the huge-flight/middling-flight combo any day over the standard pair of 12-hour hops. Once I'm settled in my seat - comfy in my travelling pyjamas and with a few good movies to watch - I'm fine. I'd rather cover as much mileage in one hit as possible. For me there's little difference in the unwashed wretchedness I feel after a 10-hour flight and the unwashed wretchedness from going beyond 15 hours.


Expect more of these mega-hauls. Rumour is Air NZ has looked at Chicago or even New York. The Big Apple is 14,185km. The 787 Dreamliner would be running on fumes by the time it covered that distance, but the 777s could handle it (a stripped-down 777-200 once flew 20,444km).

However much we might grizzle about the wearying toll of long-haul flights, they're going to get longer.