To see the report with all the pictures - over 70 in fact - please click here.
Nothing polarises opinion like ultra long haul flights. Some people instantly take a dislike to them, imagining being contorted in an economy class seat, their knees under their chin and surrounded by screaming babies with dirty nappies.
Obviously this Trip Report is of a flight in business class, so the babies are clearly better behaved and their nappies don't stink, so it's clearly another world altogether
Seriously though, the flight had a very healthy load down the back when I went for a visit and everyone seemed comfortable enough. Once a flight gets to 11 or 12 hours, the extra isn't really that big a deal.
I think it's actually less annoying to fly longer than to have a stop... you don't get that "oh, I have to get on another flight in 2 hours - I'm only half way through!" feeling. So, let's check out the world's longest flight.QR921 – Auckland to Doha (AKL-DOH)
11 September 2017
Boeing 777-200LR – A7-BBE
Seat: Business Class 1K
Departure: 14:55 Arrival: 22:55+1
The first Qantas service of the day from Sydney connects quite nicely to the Qatar Airways flight. It leaves no wiggle room for delays in Sydney so I was delighted when everything went well. After some time in the Qantas lounge, it is time to board.
My assigned seat for weeks had been 3A until someone selected the seat beside me. I continued to regularly check the seat map to see what might open up and a few days before flight 2A and 2B became free so I switched to 2A.
Once on board I settled in happily. Cabin crew immediately introduce themselves and offer a welcome drink and hot or cold towel. As usual I selected Champagne and it arrived promptly. Next, the menu, pyjamas and amenity kit are delivered.
A gentleman with a bag looked suspiciously like he was going to sit next to me and to my horror he did. The seat beside me was free right through to check-in so he must be one of those people who don’t choose a seat before flying. Horrified (
) I asked the crew member if there were any pairs of seats free to have no-one beside me and he said he would check. A bit later, the Cabin Supervisor introduced herself so I reiterated my question and was immediately directed to 1K.
Yes, for once I was that guy, the one asking things during boarding. Quite frankly 18 hours next to a stranger when there are seats free is not my cup of tea. I moved my bag, blanket, pillow, Champagne and hot towel across the cabin under the curious gaze of everyone seated. When the original crew member noticed I had moved, he apologised for not coming back to me sooner, explaining he was busy during boarding. It was no problem of course, and the apology demonstrates the Qatar training which is very good. Newspapers are offered next once everyone is on board.
Qatar Airways operate a dine on demand service in business class. This means you can eat what you want when you want and the menu on the longest flight in the network is quite extensive. Having flown on this flight once before, I knew I was going to be eating quite a bit of food. Therefore the menu is perhaps the most important document for me! Meal orders are taken during taxi to the runway and continue to be taken once in the air.
You receive a wine list along with the menu and this contains all the information on the Champagne, Wine and Port on board. I generally find the Champagne to be excellent. The taste of the wine varies mainly because I specifically like certain types of wine and the ones on flights usually are often not exactly to my liking.
For those that may wish to experience a little bit of the flight, I decided to take some video of the take off from Auckland. It is raining but it looks fine enough. Here's the link to the video on YouTube.
Looking back at it, the take off run isn’t as long as I would expect for a fully fueled aircraft heading out to fly for 18 hours. It is rather sprightly really!
Once the cabin crew are released from their seats they offer you a post departure drink which comes with nuts. I stuck to the Champagne even though it pairs really badly with nuts, I find. At this point I also changed into the Qatar Sleeper Suit or pyjamas for the rest of the flight. I opted for a snack after departure and the table is set with white linen. Next, a serviette is folded into a triangle and laid on your lap. Once all the elements are on the table, the amuse-bouche is delivered first. This is now being referred to as a palate pleaser.
Well it was palate pleasing indeed so I was happy with the dish. Salmon is usually inoffensive enough, so it is a good choice to hand out to everyone. By this time the cabin crew had cottoned on to the fact I was taking pictures of everything. They asked if I worked for Qatar Airways and when I replied I didn’t, they noted that I must like flying as I was a Sapphire with one
world. My seared fillet of beef and brioche roll sandwich arrived next.
Offered condiments, I chose both mustard and ketchup and duly added it to my snack. It was hot, tasty and beef-a-licious! The caramelised onion packs a wallop when it comes to the taste and the meat is pretty lean meaning an easy chew. Next in my extended snack service, I tried the assortment of hot savoury pastries.
These delicious little bites are quite nice indeed, with one tasting like a ham and cheese quiche and another seemed to have some prawn in it. The accompanying sauce tasted a bit like tartar. Once you are finished with your meal, the crew offer another drink and bring by a hot or cold towel and Godiva chocolates. During this time the people in 1A and 1B complained their screens were dirty, so the Cabin Supervisor came out with spray and a cloth and cleaned them up. I found that interesting.
I was offered another drink so I chose an Apple Cooler from the mocktail menu. It’s quite refreshing! No point being drunk during 18 hours of flight so I am glad the mocktails are universally delicious! You are going to need a pit stop or three when flying for 18 hours which is quite unavoidable really. Here is an example of the bathroom on board the aircraft.
Cabin crew keep the facilities pretty spotless throughout the flight on Qatar Airways which is some achievement. It is also extremely nice to know you’re not going to find any nasty surprises when you visit so kudos to the crew on this!
Why do I make such a fuss about having the seat beside me free? When it is free, you can have the crew convert the seat beside the window to a bed and use the aisle seat for watching movies. Having two seats also makes you feel like you have all the space in the world and I quite like that feeling. To celebrate I had some more of the delicious Champagne.
For the only time on a Qatar Airways flight, I decided to go for a walk down the back to check out economy class. The flight was fairly busy and no blocks of seats were free meaning I couldn’t try them out without disturbing someone, alas.
After taking one picture, I high tailed it back to my own seat. The water bottle available in the arm rest for each passenger is quite nice and saves having to ask for water when you need it – and I always need it.
Sitting in the first row means you are subject to light pollution when the cabin crew go back and forth through the curtain. They attempt to do so with minimal disturbance but it is impossible to stop the distracting light. One of the great features of the British Airways Club World London City service is the double curtain. They have one as you see above and another a little further inside. This means light leakage is minimal and it is very effective. Qatar should look into this, especially for a flight of 18 hours.
Oryx One is the name of the Qatar Airways inflight entertainment system. Since Alien Covenant is one of the new releases on board, other Alien movies such as Alien and Aliens were available to watch. It is good when related movies are added to the system as it is logical you might be inspired to watch one. I’d love to see the viewing figures for on board entertainment one day, that would be quite fascinating.
Later on in the flight it is time for dinner, remembering you can have this at any time you like. I selected to start with the soup and followed up with the cured salmon with horseradish and chive potato salad.
Soup is delivered with a flourish – it is delivered with a lid which is removed immediately for you. The soup is always good on Qatar. The salmon starter is quite decent and I love horseradish so happy days. It was not too overpowering so everyone would have liked it.
There is a vegetable Thai green curry available on the menu at the moment. I had this on one of my other flights and it is really spicy and really delicious so I had no hesitation having it again. It’s so good!
Happily it is just as good second time around as it was the first. Once I inhaled that, dessert arrived and I found it to be quite lovely. At this point I was stuffed full of food.
Before turning in I decided to have some Sencha Green tea. I find it is perfect after a meal and after imbibing the odd drink. It came hot and I finished it before switching over to my other seat to lay down and sleep.
Sleeping on the Boeing 777-200LR is easy. The seats are exceptionally large and spacious meaning you can turn over easily or assume other positions as may be your wont. These are the oldest seats in the Qatar fleet and I vote them the best. I happily slept blissfully for several hours.
I did mention this flight takes 18 hours, right? It’s probably taking just as much time to read this review! Not feeling like tackling the energiser, I decided on a pineapple punch mocktail and the banana smoothie to drink along with the waffles.
Despite eight breakfast options being available, I literally could not fit anything else in so I had just one. The waffles are exactly what I needed and the caramelised banana and strawberry coulis complimented it perfectly. Very nice!
Near enough to descent, I decided I wouldn’t mind another Thai curry. Alas, there was none left at all. The crew, who by now had wriggled out of me that I am a travel blogger, offered me a salmon and rice dish instead. Sure!
It was hard to complete because it was so filling. A definite case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach! We continued flying and soon enough we descended into Doha and landed almost an hour early. Efficient!
Spending the guts of 18 hours on a flight is totally fine if you’re in business class on Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR. My only regret on the flight is that I ate too much at the beginning which meant no room for more of the breakfast options. Throughout the flight the service lived up to the usual standards on Qatar Airways. This means attentive without being fawning, quick to realise when you’re awake when you were previously asleep and offering alternatives when required. It really is top notch!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. Remember, to see the report with all the pictures - over 70 in total - please click here.