Alice Dunn flies Auckland to Doha on Qatar Airways QR921.
: A 9-year-old Boeing 777-200LR.
My seat : I had an Economy Class seat in the exit row, so I had plenty of leg room and easy accessibility. Not having to awkwardly climb over my neighbour and their dinner when I needed to stretch my legs or use the toilet was very much appreciated — particularly on a 16-hour flight. Each passenger in Economy was provided with a kit containing socks, earplugs, an eye mask, miniature toothpaste, toothbrush and lip balm.
The airport experience : There were long queues for the check-in desks at Auckland Airport, which were painfully slow. Once we had made it through I was dreading the security lines but in comparison they were quick and painless.
Flight time : We were early. The flight was scheduled to leave Auckland at 2.25pm, we left at 2.17pm and arrived in Doha at 10.15pm, 41 minutes ahead of schedule.
How full : Jam-packed. The overhead lockers were being used to capacity and many people missed out on their first meal options.
Food and drink : We were offered dinner, brunch, and a snack box between meals — and I have a suspicion there was another snack box that I slept through. Dinner options were chicken ragu and beef stew. I chose the chicken — which had a generous serving of meat, but the sauce was too gelatinous for me to finish it. Both dinner and brunch came with a Whittaker's milk chocolate bar to have with the tea or coffee that followed, which was a nice touch. The snack boxes were surplus to my requirements but they seemed a great addition — most people around me finished theirs.
Entertainment : There was a good selection of entertainment options but I was disappointed there were not as many recent movie or TV releases compared to other airlines. The touch-screen monitor was also not as responsive as we have all become accustomed to, which made navigating the options a frustrating experience. I settled for the new Tomb Raider and Asterix movies, then went back to my Kindle.
Verdict : Although this is a very long flight, after previous experiences travelling to the Middle East with a tiring stopover in Australia, flying direct from Auckland is a game-changer for me.