Donna McIntyre flies aboard TG935 from Brussels to Bangkok.

The plane:

Boeing 777-300ER.

Class: Economy.

Price: $2115 for a return flight between Auckland and Brussels, going through Bangkok.


Flight time: On time or maybe slightly shorter.

My seat: 69A - seated beside a "space invader" for most of the flight. Okay, he perhaps can't help his size, but he was sitting beside his son so why doesn't he encroach on a relative's space instead of a stranger's?

Fellow passengers: Most on their way to Bangkok or Manila.

Entertainment: Movies mostly a bit dated. New release Jungle Book for the younger passengers, but I was hoping for recent releases beyond Hollywood. Bit disappointing, but it was an incentive to try to sleep.

How full: 99 per cent, I reckon. My fellow stranger/passenger took up 20 per cent of my seat, too, so it felt over-full.

The service: Wonderful. Full plane and still the service is great.

Food and drink: I chose vegetarian, which proved to be a good choice, with enjoyable food and good wine. Food like this makes a full plane in Economy Class seem a little more bearable.

The toilets: All good. Clean. Basic. And, happily, there was not too long to wait to use them.

Luggage: Economy passengers get a 30kg allowance of checked-in luggage, and 7kg in carry on.

The airport experience: Where do I start? Brussels' Zaventem has lots of room for improvement. Sure everyone has freaked out since the terrorist attack but the airport's knee-jerk reaction is going to drive people away. There was a security check to get from train into airport. Fair enough. Allow an extra half hour for that. But two hours plus standing in a line moving slower than a snail? And then a Customs official sent me (and most of the other TG935 passengers) to the wrong part of the terminal.

After a gate change just before final boarding time we were queuing for the second time at Customs. I got to the gate just as the plane doors were closing - despite being at the airport three and a half hours before departure. I know security has to be tight but much of the delays we experienced weren't security related. People will vote with their feet and bypass Brussels for customer friendly places like Amsterdam ... Barcelona ... Hamburg. That will serve only to make the terrorists feel they have achieved something.

Would I fly this again? Thai, yes. Brussels if it sorts its act out.