Airports are stressful, loud places and airplanes are cramped cages where you're trapped with screaming babies and coughing strangers just inches from your face. The food is industrial and bland, your feet will swell inside your shoes, and jet-lag is inevitable. Right?
Flying Business Class with Qatar Airways is like a holiday in and of itself, and it will change everything you thought you knew about flying. It's no wonder it's been ranked the best Business Class in the world.
How could 17 hours onboard, for instance – the longest flight in the world – possibly be a pleasurable experience?
Well, let's find out.
Imagine you hopped on a Dreamliner from Scandinavia and you've just spent a day or two in Doha.
Next up: a flight across the Pacific to Auckland, New Zealand to meet an important client, negotiate a major acquisition, enjoy a romantic getaway (use your imagination – pick a reason that suits you).
12.30am Doha time / 10.30am Auckland time
After an evening on the town, making the most of your stopover in Doha, you return to Hamad International Airport.
Normally you might not be looking forward to being at the airport two hours before a 3am departure...but for Qatar Airways Business Class passengers, the earlier, the better. Not because you have to be there – but you want to.
You've already checked in online and after moving quickly through security, you head straight to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge.
You freshen up with a shower in the serene, spa-like facilities, and then find yourself a seat somewhere on the 10,000 square metre premises. (Yeah, that's about 10 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool.)
Perhaps you order a midnight snack – like a made-to-order omelette or a selection from the buffet, and ponder taking a quick nap in one of the quiet rooms.
But you don't – because you know an even better bed awaits you once you step onboard…
Qatar Airways' Business Class seats are a high-tech oasis, and so much more than a seat. Each seat has plenty of storage options, not just for your carryon – there's even a special compartment for your shoes. Just after takeoff you take a hot towel and order a nightcap – such as complimentary champagne - before putting on your pristine pyjamas and slippers (also complimentary) and lying down.
And we mean really lying down – not awkwardly shoving your knees one direction and your head another while trying not to drool on the arm of the traveler beside you. All of Qatar Airway's business seats can be transformed into a full-length horizontal bed, so you can get the shut-eye you need.
In the future you will even be able to combine two seats into a luxurious double bed with the brand new Q-suite(pretty much the coolest airplane seat in the world).
7.12am Doha time / 5.12pm Auckland time
You wake up rejuvenated after six hours of five-star sleep. You could sleep longer, but you know you'll want another nap later. The advanced LED lighting is already helping you adjust to the changing time zones, so you're not worried about jetlag.
Breakfast, like all meals in Qatar Airway's Business Class, is served a la carte and you can be as picky as you like. How does a glass of orange juice, a hot macchiato, fresh bread, and seasonal fruit with honey crème fraiche sound? Still hungry? Order yourself some cured salmon with cream cheese, followed by a frittata with chicken sausage, bell peppers, and feta.
All of the dishes on Qatar Airways are created in Doha, and are carefully researched and executed. A team of chefs considers factors like seasonal ingredients, local flavours, what's trendy in the food world at the moment, the passenger profile, and, of course, what will actually taste good in-air. And boy does it ever taste good!
8.43am Doha time / 6.43pm Auckland time
Having completed your leisurely breakfast, it's time to get some work done.
Naturally you have fast wifi, as well as a large working surface, your own power outlet and a USB plug. You check your email and prepare your next client presentation – all in the privacy of your own little nest. Or maybe you have a business meeting with your colleagues right then and there. Who said you can't be efficient in-air?
10.52am Doha time / 8.52pm Auckland time
After a couple of hours of work you order a freshly-brewed cup of tea - served in an individual porcelain set - and settle in for some entertainment. Qatar Airway's innovative Oryx One system offers hundreds of movies and games, and you can even play a game on your handheld while you enjoy a recent blockbuster on the screen in front of you.
Many flights with Qatar Airways even have onboard lounges, so you can socialize with the passengers around you. Enjoy fresh drinks and snacks, read a magazine, or chat with fellow travelers – you never know when you'll meet your next business partner or a new international friend.
1.18pm Doha time / 11.18pm Auckland time
With business cards exchanged and perhaps a few new contact requests on social media, you head back to your seat for your next meal. You start off with a glass from the extensive champagne and wine list, and indulge in an appetizer of roasted butternut squash soup, classic Arabic mezze, or smoked salmon - it's up to you.
For the main dish you might choose tikka masala or beef fillet with maple-glazed carrots and parsley potatoes, or maybe stuffed spinach crepes with mushrooms and cheese.
You top it off with a cheese platter - or, if you're in the mood for something lighter, lime panna cotta or just fresh fruit.
3:02pm Doha time / 1.02am Auckland time
As the relaxing LED lighting prepares you for another nap, it's time for some light reading. Whether it's the latest issue of the Economist or a new Nordic noir crime novel, you can recline your seat and turn the pages in peace and comfort.
No one likes feeling dehydrated, so you make sure to use your hydrating facial mist and exclusive lip balm before hitting the sack.
The amenities are from exclusive Italian brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio - a company dedicated to offering high quality, all-natural products made with environmentally friendly olive oil while eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. So you can pamper yourself with a clear conscience! And they come in beautiful little BRICS bags – an extra souvenir. Could it get any better?
5:17pm Doha time / 3:17am Auckland time
When you wake up there's less than an hour left until you arrive in Auckland.
You hydrate again, stretch in your spacious seat, and order a bakery basket and an invigorating pineapple margarita mocktail - you don't want to be sluggish when you arrive.
The plane touches down at 4:00am in New Zealand – and while being up at that hour normally would be a struggle, you're feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed thanks to your experience with Qatar Airway's Business Class.
At this rate you'll arrive at your hotel by 6:00am, and rather than crashing on the spot, you'll be ready to seize the day – whether you're wowing new clients or exploring Waiheke Island with your spouse. You almost feel sad to leave the aircraft – but you know you'll be back soon for your return flight!
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Qatar Airways.
*Photos are stock images from Qatar Airways. Actual layout and equipment on flights varies somewhat from aircraft to aircraft.