The Longest Flight in the World
‘Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return’ – Leonardo da Vinci.
After flying Qatar Airways I see Leo got it spot on. At the beginning of 2017, Qatar Airways opened a new route, Doha to Auckland, New Zealand, the longest flight in the world.
About the Flight
- Total Distance 9031 miles or 14535 Kilometres
- Auckland to Doha time 17 hours 30 minutes
- 135 Tonnes of fuel aboard
- Boeing 777-200LR (Longer Range)
- 42 Business Class Seats
- 217 Economy Seats
Keen to go on this flight, I parted with my hard-earned cash, so what follows is an independent review of my experiences.
Firstly, we were shown to our seats and made ourselves comfortable. Our immaculately presented Cabin Crew member introduced herself offering pre-flight champagne. Choosing the Rosé, and with Tam, my significant other, strangely going for water, we settled back.
As you would expect legroom was ample. The seat layout made a cosy living space for the longest flight in the world. In addition to the comfortable beds, Qatar supplied pyjamas for us to wear. We also found socks and eye masks in our Brics toiletries bag along with other goodies such as earplugs and spray on moisturiser. With an intuitive control panel, the seat was infinitely adjustable to find that ‘just right’ position. As you would expect, a USB charging socket in the seat is standard. The stewardess returned with menus and wine lists for us to peruse.
Taxiing to the runway, we took our last look at New Zealand. The engines wound up, pressing us into our seats. Take off from Auckland gave us some excellent views as we climbed.
Soon after the seatbelt signs were off, our stewardess appeared asking what time we would like dinner. It was so nice to be given a choice! The stewardess told us we could choose anything from the menu at any time we wished. In light of the fact we were on the longest flight in the world and had seventeen and a half hours to pass, we preferred to wait an hour and have a glass of wine.
Qatar’s’ wine selection is exceptional, with something to suit every palette. Pleasing to see was a Saint Clair Family Estates Sauvignon Blanc, in light of the fact we had visited this particular winery on our Marlborough Wineries Tour, Tam made a beeline for that. Liking my fruity reds found me opting for the Margaux. (The other wine in the photo I had on the second leg of the flight). The screenshots are from an app I use on my phone called Vivino, full details can be found here.
Dinner for me was the Lamb Loin with Herb Crust and Rosemary Jus. The lamb, like all of the food onboard, was excellent! Some restaurants I have eaten in could benefit from some lessons from Qatar Airlines. Tam went for the Classic Arabic Mezze which she found tasty and filling.
Desserts we tried were White Chocolate and Ginger Cheese Cake and Gourmet Ice Cream, both delicious and stylishly presented.
The flight home took a different route to the inbound one. I wondered if this was because of cyclone Debbie, ripping through Queensland at the time or whether the southern routeing was a standard one. We’d had our fill of cyclone Debbie while in New Zealand, she made for a very wet few days!
Entertainment on the longest flight in the world
Oryx One, Qatar Airways in-flight entertainment system had plenty to keep us going. I watched a film and pleasingly found a nice collection of classical music to close my eyes to. The screens in Business Class were about 17 inches, large laptop size, although I didn’t have a tape measure to measure them. They were perfectly ample for our needs. Qatar’s noise-cancelling headphones were surprisingly effective negating the need for my own. I shall leave them at home the next time I fly to Qatar.
Doha from the air
After a couple of glasses of wine and the lamb, Morpheus found me and I managed 11 hours of good sleep throughout the flight in two bursts. By pressing a single button on the seat control it converted quickly into a bed. A fitted sheet over the seat, a duvet blanket and pillow made for a comfortable sleeping area. The supplied grey pyjamas were comfortable, available in several sizes of which none seemed to fit. But after me rolling up my trouser legs and Tam rolling up her sleeves, all was good. As a continuous line of people came shuffling back from the washrooms having changed into their pyjamas and slippers, the grey army of Business Class went to their slumbers.
With the supplied Brics toiletries bag and the toothbrushes and razors supplied in the washrooms, I was able to freshen up and arrived in Doha with energy that I rarely feel when stepping off a long-haul flight, let alone the longest flight in the world.
Qatar Airways, when opening a new route, traditionally run a sale. On the whole, in the UK, we tend not to have the best value flights due to air passenger duty among other things. By and large, for European airports, it gets better. We picked up Business Class returns from Berlin for just over £1200. Yes, that’s not a typo, it was stupidly cheap! (For U.K readers, I use Head for points to notify me of upcoming deals and Airline sales).
To get to Berlin TXL we used a short positioning flight by British Airways. From here we picked up our Qatar Airways flights.
Qatar Airways Business Class service is like a holiday in itself. Being waited on hand and foot by the attentive cabin crew, excellent food and wine and a great entertainment system all helped make the Qatar experience amazing. All in all, landing in Doha found me almost reluctant to leave the plane.
- Always keep hydrated on long haul flights.
- Don’t crack into the free booze too heavily – You’ll feel worse.
- Upgrade if you can, either via points or cash, it’s worth it.
- Get up and move around regularly to reduce the risk of DVTs
All photographs were taken with a Samsung s7