5 rea­sons to take the LONG­EST FLIGHT IN THE WORLD

All aboard for heav­enly ser­vice in the sky!

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Travel - Travel Edi­tor Sarah-Kate Lynch

At around 16 hours, this di­rect flight be­tween Doha, the cap­i­tal of Qatar in the Per­sian Gulf, and Auck­land is the long­est in the world, but did that put me off? To the con­trary ...

1 Why would you?

I’d never heard of Doha un­til Qatar Air­ways ap­peared on the radar, of­fer­ing well­priced tick­ets from New Zealand to Europe, with Doha as the stopover. The air­line now goes to 150 des­ti­na­tions from here and adds new ones – like Dublin and Prague – all the time. A quick look at the map re­veals that Qatar is on a penin­sula be­tween Bahrain and the United Arab Emi­rates. I flew in from Madrid and loved my overnight stay in the city, which was fa­mous for its pearls be­fore oil came along, and which now gleams with shiny sky­scrapers and amaz­ing mu­se­ums and gal­leries.

2 Busi­ness class

I’ve rarely had the good for­tune to fly at the pointy end, but when Qatar Air­ways of­fered me the chance on the long leg home, boy, did I jump! The lux­ury be­gan when the Gin­ger and I pulled up to a ded­i­cated busi­ness class door at Doha air­port and were met at the kerb to have our bags car­ried in­side. Check-in took a minute and the air­side lounge? One-off sculp­tures, a re­flect­ing lake and cham­pagne de­liv­ered to your comfy leather chair – hell-oo! Once on board, a travel pack was de­liv­ered com­plete with lovely toi­letries and – oh, joy – jim jams! The seat had three dif­fer­ent po­si­tions, sit­ting up, less so, and ly­ing flat. On a plane! In­stead of dread­ing take-off, I couldn’t wait for our Boe­ing 777-200 to get go­ing.

3 The flight

To be hon­est, I was a lit­tle ner­vous about be­ing in the air for that long, but it turned out to be no big deal at all. It helped that we had a plan. Our flight de­parted at 3am, so we de­cided that in­stead of hav­ing a meal first thing, as you usu­ally do, we would sleep, eat, then sleep again so that we’d be in OK shape for our 4.35am ar­rival home. It worked. In fact, I may have bro­ken a record for sleep­ing, snatch­ing al­most 11 hours shut-eye and catch­ing four episodes of BigLit­tleLies.

4 The food

What helped our plan suc­ceed was that we could ask for meals when­ever we wanted. My mid-flight din­ner con­sisted of Ara­bic mezze and grilled fish with seafood risotto. It was de­li­cious, as was the cho­co­late cake for dessert. I could’ve snacked and boozed my way through the whole 16 hours but no mat­ter where I’m sit­ting in a plane, I try not to go crazy. Overindulging is a recipe for hav­ing to go the loo too of­ten or ar­riv­ing at your des­ti­na­tion with a split­ting headache. I did man­age a cou­ple of glasses of wine, how­ever – I’m not that much of a wowser!

5 The tips for loooong haul

OK, so I’ll be fly­ing down the back with ev­ery­body else next time and on top of hav­ing a sleep­ing plan and not over­do­ing the free drinks, I’m also a stick­ler for drink­ing lots of wa­ter. I al­ways take at least two ex­tra lay­ers of cloth­ing be­cause planes can be cold and you can’t sleep prop­erly if you’re frozen. I also take my own noise-can­celling head­phones, ear plugs, a mask and a neck cush­ion. And there’s noth­ing to stop me tak­ing my own PJs! For my next Doha stopover, though, I won’t go in boil­ing hot July. I’ll try Oc­to­ber and get out to the desert for a camel ride.

When in Doha! A glass of bub­bly and the luxe air­side lounge were a per­fect pair­ing. that Be­ing up in the air all dream – I time proved to be a 11 hours! slum­bered for nearly

Here I am, safe and sound, back in Ta­maki Makau­rau.

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