Fiji Airways A330 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Bula!

As I mentioned in the weekly review, this week I’m finally taking the trip on Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui that I had booked earlier in the year. I’m now in Fiji, after having taken the Saturday night flight from Los Angeles to Nadi.

It goes without saying that I’ll have a full trip report soon, but in the meantime here’s my typical “10 pictures” teaser post, with my initial thoughts on the experience. As a reminder, I redeemed 55,000 Alaska miles for the one-way journey in business class, and part of what makes this such a great value is that you can fly from the US to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji at no extra cost. It’s a great way to visit a new destination on a stopover.

Fiji Airways’ A330s feature 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. These are the same seats that Singapore Airlines and China Airlines have on many of their A330s, which are primarily flown regionally.

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These seats are angled, and quite tight, so not ideal for the long 10hr30min transpacific flight. I’m a morning person nowadays, so the 11:30PM departure was already wayyyy past my bedtime. So thanks to the late night departure and my exhaustion, I still managed to recline for about six hours. I phrase it that way because I don’t think I got any “real” sleep, given that the bed wasn’t fully flat, but rather just dozed here and there.

That’s not me trying to sound like a diva, but rather I’m just someone who doesn’t need that much sleep and also really struggles to fall asleep in general. Conditions have to be perfect for me to fall asleep on the ground, let alone in the air.

So the seat certainly wasn’t as good as a fully flat bed, but then again, there’s not all that much competition between the US and Fiji, so they can get away with it. Fortunately business class was only about half full, so I had an empty seat next to me, which really helped.

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The meal service on the flight wasn’t that elaborate, given the very late night departure and very early morning arrival. That’s totally fine, as I don’t want a five course meal after midnight. However, the quality was exceptional.

There were virtually unlimited bottles of Fiji water (as you’d expect), and I had their signature cocktail, with Fiji rum and coconut liqueur.

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The sesame crusted tuna starter was fantastic.

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The same was true of the coconut crusted sea bass with orange beurre blanc, which I had as my main course.

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The mango lime and ginger cheesecake was delicious as well.

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The amenity kit was simple, though I liked the branding of it. For that matter, I loved Fiji Airways’ branding in general, as there were so many “local” touches to the service.

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Speaking of the service, that was probably the highlight of the flight. Based on the places I’ve traveled so far, I’d say Balinese people are the friendliest I’ve encountered anywhere. Fijians are giving them a run for their money. The crew was genuine and so sweet. When we landed the purser announced “we warmly welcome you to our home,” and it really felt that way.

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Upon arriving in Nadi there was an outside walkway, so we had a great view of the plane. There was also a band playing local music in the immigration hall, despite it being 5:30AM. The Fijians are proud of their country, and that was reflected in every aspect of the service.

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I had to laugh when I heard the announcements from the captain, though. I’ve certainly had American pilots on Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, etc., though for whatever reason I was expecting that Fiji Airways pilots would be Fijian. Nope. “Hi folks, captain Doug here…” I asked the crew about it, and they said they indeed have quite a few American pilots, though they’re still based in Nadi. Not that it matters, but I just found it amusing.

All-in-all I’d say Fiji Airways met my expectations. The soft product was great, from the delicious food, to the exceptional service, to the local flair. The seat obviously isn’t ideal, though at least as far as angled seats go, this is one of the more modern and comfortable ones out there.

So would I recommend this as a way of getting to Australia or New Zealand if you’re not planning on stopping over in Fiji? Ideally probably not, since a flat bed on a nonstop flight would be better. But those award seats can be really tough to come by.

Based on my impressions so far, I think redeeming Alaska miles to be able to do a stopover in Fiji enroute to Australia or New Zealand is a fantastic option, which I’d highly recommend.

How does this compare to what you were expecting from Fiji Airways?

Comments

  1. You picked a great time to visit! On Thursday, Fiji just won their first Olympic medal ever (and it was gold!) in Men’s Rugby Sevens.

  2. Well if I was an international Pilot and had to be station somewhere….I GUESS Nadi can work *tsk tsk* 😉

  3. Please, please don’t hole up at the Intercontinental on Viti Levu and say Fiji is over rated. Please get out on the Yasawas and experience a few islands and get to know some folks. I’d be happy to put you in touch/give suggestions. Fiji is magical.

  4. I know those A330 seats from SQ. They are a disaster for even a 5 hours flight. I always wonder if the idiots selecting the seats have actually sat in fhem for 8 hours or so.

  5. Nearly travelled with them when they first got these seats. The introductory fares were amazing. Even now they can seasonally be very competitive – saving around $1000 to AU$1,500 compared to direct business. I await your full review, but on the strength of your preview, I would definitely consider as away of travelling between Sydney and the US west coast.

  6. I flew with them LAX-NAD back in, what?, 2005 when they had the $0 mistake fare and it was Air Pacific. So, roundtrip for about $55 if I recall correctly. Granted that was economy class but my experience was similar. Very friendly service. The overnight flight from LAX is a real grind though. From the mayhem of the, old, TBIT, to boarding a completely packed flight full of fijians and aussie backpackers. I believe it was one of those glass of wine + Ambien type of flights; I really don’t recall much. I am 90% sure though that both my flights were on the 747. Did they have A340s though? Am I dreaming that?

    Fiji is nice, but not the greatest. I only stayed at the Sheraton though.

    The return was quite nice as the flight was thinly loaded redeye and I had 3 seats to sleep across so that was nice.

  7. Well, that didn’t take long. Ambien and alcohol? Willy wins my rarely given worst post of the day prize. Nothing else even comes close.

    I trust that everyone reading this knows better than to try that stunt.

  8. Heh, if you take medical advice from a random stranger posting blog comments, then you should not be too surprised to find that natural selection is pretty cruel.

  9. I flew NAD-LAX recently on this product and those seats were horrible to sleep on. Fiji air flies a redeye both ways and I thought I would be able to get some sleep given the timing, but I got maybe 1.5 hours of sleep because of how uncomfortable those seats were.

    Also, NAD-LAX can be had for ~$1k USD (one way) fairly regularly so not worth spending miles on this route IMO.

  10. I flew Fiji last year on the new planes, directly out to SYD with 2 hours in NAN. BNE-LAX with 1 week stopover in Fiji on the return. I found the seats to be slightly more comfortable than the Air Tahiti Nui seats that are, at first glance, very similar. Either way, much better than coach.

    J cost for this was much less than direct to Australia, and I earned so many Alaksa miles I made MVP Gold last year with my other travels added in. And I spent a week in Fiji too – can’t do that on a Quantas direct flight

    If you fly to Fiji and never leave Nadi – Sheraton/Westin/etc – then you haven’t visited Fiji. I love Fiji, but hate these hotels, but with flight times, you often need to stay somewhere before getting out to the real Fiji.

  11. LOL! Ok, since now I’m handing out medical advice; here is the proper dosage:

    10+ hours trans pac or trans atlantic = 1 whole Ambien + 1 plastic cup of red wine
    7 – 9.9 hour trans atlantic or Hawaii redeye = 3/4 Ambien + 1 plastic cup of red wine
    5 – 6.9 hour domestic redeye or trans atlantic east coast = 1/2 Ambien + plastic cup of red wine
    Flights with Tom = 2+ Ambien + bottle of wine

    Dosage instructions: Ambien (or sleeping aid of choice) 1 hour prior to takeoff time unless delays expected. Wine in a plastic cup as served in economy class, generally 6oz. after takeoff with dinner. Remember to hydrate with some water prior and after.

    Wake up groggy but rested in destination (hopefully) 🙂

  12. This is great timing as I was just looking into planning a trip on this route. I would love a lie flat seat though. Is it worth splurging for first?

  13. @sunny morris — The Fiji Airways flight from LAX to NAN does not have a first class. Business class, with angled flat seats, is the best you can do on that flight.

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