Jeremy Rees flies from Auckland to Paris with Qatar Airways.

The plane:

Qatar Airways Boeing 777.

Class: Business.


Price: $5925.

Flight time: Auckland to Doha, 17 hours. Then Doha to Paris, seven hours. Plus return. No delays at all, in fact we were ahead of schedule on all of our legs.

My seat: Fabulous. As a newcomer to Business Class, it was everything I wanted in a seat — but especially it had loads of leg room. I am 190cm tall.

Fellow passengers: Unsure. They seemed very nice but I was far too busy enjoying every comfort I was granted to engage them in conversation. Did I mention it was my first time in Business Class?

How full: Reasonably full on three of the four legs, but Doha to Auckland was barely half full. This meant it felt like individual service. Bliss.

Entertainment: Good. I had done a lot of recent travelling and had seen many of the in-flight movies, so I plumped for obscure Japanese murder noir movies and sports documentaries on Steve Waugh and Sugar Ray Leonard. Cricket, mystery and boxing — is there any better entertainment for a 17-hour flight?

The service: Very, very good. Attentive, kind and — on one leg — almost individual. If I had one gripe, it was that I was constantly asked whether there was anything they could do better! I couldn't think of anything.

Food and drink: Again, very good. I could tell you the champagne in Business Class (Lanson Black Label, French) is very, very good but that might be a bit hard on those elsewhere on the plane. Only hiccup occurred when I misunderstood the attendant and ordered a brioche for my main course. The confusion was sorted out by the addition of slow cooked Middle Eastern lamb.


The toilets: Good, thank you.

Luggage: 30kg. Some passengers seemed to need all 30kg after weekend shopping in Paris and returning to Doha.

The airport experience: Doha is modern, clean, efficient, easy to navigate and has good showers. Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2 is an odd relic of the days of funky 60s design and concrete. The Paris Qatar Airways lounge is huge. The only other person there was an ex-British Army officer returning to Doha for work who believed most things had gone to hell in a handcart since Thatcher. Entertaining bloke.

The bottomline: Great fun. Good airline and good value. If you are going to do 17 hours in one leg you may as well do it in style.