5 reasons to take the LONGEST FLIGHT IN THE WORLD
All aboard for heavenly service in the sky!
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.