Stephanie Holmes flies from Auckland to Dubai on Emirates EK449.

The plane:


Class: Business


Check-in Experience: Smooth. I'd checked in online using the Emirates app so at the airport I just needed to drop off my luggage and pick up my boarding pass. I was given an Express Lane invitation to get through immigration faster.

The seat: 10B. Emirates' Business Class seats are spacious pods, with great privacy. The B seats are configured with the mini-bar console next to the window and the seat by the aisle, so you have to strain a little bit to get a good view — or that all important brag-worthy Instagram shot. For those hoping to watch the world go by you're best to book an A or K seat. But on a 17-hour night flight, you're not going to be seeing much anyway.

The seat turns into a fully lie-flat bed at the touch of a button, and is exceptionally comfortable. There's good space to stretch out, even when in an upright position, and plenty of room for your cabin baggage, including a storage locker.

On time: We pushed back from the gate three minutes early, and arrived ahead of schedule.

Flight time: 16 hours 35 minutes. It's a marathon slog, sure, but in Business Class you barely notice it.

Airport experience: Security screening at Auckland International was pretty busy, and not all of the available belts were in operation. But wait times were small and I was through to the impressive new Duty Free shopping area in no time at all. I eschewed shopping and headed straight to the Emirates lounge, which was peaceful with plenty of space, and high quality food and drinks. TVs were showing BBC World News and there was a great selection of magazines and newspapers to choose from.

Fellow passengers: An international mix, including Germans, French, Kiwis and our very own Hollywood superstar Karl Urban. I tried not to stare when I walked past to go the bathroom.

Food and drink: Excellent, from the Moet Grand Vintage 2009 champagne on take-off, to the pre-dinner warmed roasted nuts, to the satisfying three-course dinner and breakfast.

The menu includes healthy options if you want to indulge without being too indulgent. I chose the seafood appetiser (smoked salmon, lightly grilled tuna and fresh prawns with potato salad), followed by grilled chicken with crushed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

The appetiser was filling enough that I really didn't need the main. By breakfast 12 hours later, my stomach was rumbling again, so I had scrambled eggs with potatoes, mushrooms, tomato and spinach which really satisfied.

Entertainment: The ICE system is easy to use, with large touch screen TV, as well as tablet and hand-held remote to view on. The movie selection was excellent, with a good number of this year's Oscar nominees and winners, including The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and The Darkest Hour. The only issue I had was finding the volume much too loud, even at the very lowest level.

Service: Cabin manager Shivani and team were wonderful, with efficient service and pleasant communication.

Toilets: They all seemed to be clean and well-stocked throughout the flight.

Would I fly again? Absolutely. They're definitely doing things right to make a 17-hour flight feel like a breeze.