Donna McIntyre flies from Brussels to Doha, aboard Qatar Airways QR194.


Airbus A350. Incredibly quiet. Felt brand spanking new. Big improvement on the older craft I flew on on the reverse, equivalent leg up from New Zealand via Doha.

Class: Economy.


Price: You can get Economy Class return tickets from Auckland to Brussels for $1460.

Boarding: Lucky we didn‘t linger over that last Belgian beer at the airport bar. (Twice the price of a beer in a Brussels bar, half the price of an Auckland bar.)

Fellow passengers: Mixed bunch, a lot of retirees and only a few younger travellers.

Mainly European but hard to judge.

Entertainment: The choice was disappointing, as a lot of the movies hadn‘t changed since I flew over to Europe five weeks earlier. Qatar needs to have more new releases and a wider range of movies and music. I mean, You‘ve Got Mail has Meg Ryan using a dial-up modem. Mind you, having old movies like Eat Pray Love that you watched a few years ago means you don‘t care if you fall asleep before the end. The free Wi-Fi refused to load.

Airport experience: Brussels airport was a pleasant surprise. Quick check-in and friendly, polite staff with a sense of humour. Even got some VAT refunded (you can show your goods before you check your bags in, and then show the receipt on the other side to get your money back.) Luggage check-in up to 30kg economy, backpack and handbag carry-on.

Toilets: First person to use it on the flight (blame it on that large Belgian beer), so nice and clean. Toilet facilities included a syringe disposal, the first time I had seen that.

Service: Professional, efficient and polite.

Food and drinks: Dinner was chicken, beef or pasta, followed by wild berry crumble and a movie snack box. Beer, wine spirits, water, soft drinks, tea and coffee were also available.

Would I fly again? This is the easy part. It‘s the following long flight Doha to Auckland that takes it out of you.