Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Los Angeles To Nadi

Introduction: A Very Short Trip To Fiji
Review: Los Angeles International Lounge LAX Airport
Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Los Angeles To Nadi
Review: Sheraton Fiji Resort
Review: Fiji Airways Lounge Nadi Airport
Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Nadi To Los Angeles


Fiji Airways 811
Los Angeles (LAX) – Nadi (NAN)
Saturday, August 13
Depart: 11:30PM
Arrive: 5:50AM (+2 days)
Duration: 11hr20min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 4J (Business Class)

After taking a bus to our remote stand, I boarded through door L2, where I was greeted by the purser with a “bula” (the typical Fijian greeting), and pointed left towards business class.

Fiji Airways has four A330s — three of them are A330-200 aircraft, while one is an A330-300 aircraft. I ended up on the airline’s one A330-300. While the business class cabins on all their planes are identical, there’s more room between the first and second door on the -300 version (since it’s stretched), so Fiji Airways puts a small economy cabin there with three rows of seats. They call this the Economy Quiet Zone, and it’s for passengers 18 and over only. You can only buy-up to this area at check-in, since I don’t believe Fiji Airways consistently schedules this larger plane on a specific route.

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Fiji Airways A330 Economy Quiet Zone

Fiji Airways’ business class cabin consists of a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

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Fiji Airways A330 business class cabin

I loved the cream colored finishes of the cabin and the pillows which provided nice contrast. The cabin felt very cheery and tropical, which is fitting for the airline.

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Fiji Airways A330 business class cabin

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Fiji Airways business class cabin A330

While the cabin looked fairly nice, unfortunately the seats are only angled. Fiji Airways doesn’t have much competition in the markets that they operate in, so I guess they can get away with it. These are the same seats I recently had on China Airlines’ regional A330, and you’ll also find these seats on Singapore Airlines’ A330s.

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Fiji Airways business class, seats 4D & 4E

I had assigned myself seat 4J, the aisle seat in the last row of the cabin on the right side (which is typically my seating preference).

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Fiji Airways business class, seats 4J & 4K

The personal televisions in this configuration are in the seat in front, and in the center section is a water bottle holder, literature pocket, and a couple of storage compartments, big enough for glasses, an amenity kit, etc.

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Fiji Airways A330 business class seats

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Fiji Airways business class seat storage

The entertainment controller was located to the left of my seat.

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Fiji Airways business class entertainment controllers

The seat controls were located immediately above it, also to the left of my seat.

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Fiji Airways business class seat controllers

There was a center console with some cupholders, as well as some storage units below it.

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Fiji Airways business class center console

The power port was also located underneath the center armrest.

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Fiji Airways business class power outlet

I appreciated that there was a fairly large privacy partition between seats. So even if the seats don’t go fully flat, at least you’ll have a bit of privacy while trying to sleep.

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Fiji Airways business class privacy partition

Waiting at my seat on boarding was an amenity kit, which was in a pouch that had “FIJI” printed in big letters.

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Fiji business class amenity kits

The kit was rather simple, and had eyeshades, earplugs, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and socks.

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Fiji business class amenity kit contents

Also waiting at my seat were headphones, which were okay, though I used my Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones instead.

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Fiji business class headphones

Since we were using a remote stand, business class only filled up very slowly. One of the flight attendants came by my seat to welcome me aboard, and he couldn’t have been nicer. That was true of the crew in general.

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Fiji A330 business class cabin view

Once settled in, one of the other flight attendants came by to offer me a hot towel, which had a great scent.

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Fiji business class hot towel

I was then offered a pre-departure beverage, with a choice between orange juice, champagne, and the “signature cocktail.” I chose the cocktail, which the flight attendant explained consisted of Fiji rum and coconut liqueur. It was delicious. There was also a bottle of Fiji water waiting at my seat on boarding, which I had with the pre-departure beverage.

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Fiji business class signature cocktail & Fiji water

A few minutes later the flight attendant came by to offer me the menu for the flight, which was printed on very high quality paper. She explained that dinner would be served after takeoff, and two hours before landing breakfast would be served. She asked me to fill out the breakfast card before takeoff, which I did.

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Fiji business class menu

As we waited for boarding to finish, I had a quick look at the personal television, including the airshow for our flight to Nadi.

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Fiji business class entertainment system

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Fiji business class airshow between Los Angeles and Nadi

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Fiji business class airshow between Los Angeles and Nadi

By 11:25PM boarding was complete, with only 14 of the 24 business class seats taken. The seat next to me, as well as the two seats across from me, were empty. I was very happy about that, since I’d much rather sleep in a window seat, but I also hate selecting it, since I don’t want to climb over someone to go to the bathroom.

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Fiji Airways business class seats A330

At around 11:30PM the captain came on the PA to add his welcome aboard. While lots of airlines have ex-pat pilots nowadays, for some reason I wasn’t expecting it on Fiji Airways. So I was a bit surprised to find we had an American captain and first officer. Captain Doug informed us of our flight time of 10hr25min, and anticipated we’d arrive in Nadi on-time.

I asked the flight attendant about this, and she explained that most Fiji Airways pilots were either from the US or Australia, but that they were slowly increasing the number of “local” pilots.

Moments later the purser added his welcome aboard — “bula ladies and gentlemen, a warm Fiji welcome to flight 811 to Nadi.” He invited us to “sit back, relax, and enjoy island time.” There was also some great boarding music throughout the boarding process, which I really enjoyed. I can’t find it online, so if anyone knows what they play, please do share!

We pushed back next to an Air Canada Airbus A320 at around 11:35PM, at which point the safety video began to play.

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Pushing back LAX

It’s worth noting that Fiji Airways doesn’t allow the use of electronics during taxi, takeoff, and landing, even in airplane mode. I’ve gotten so used to the rules in the US that I didn’t realize this was a regulation until after I got “caught.”

At 11:45PM we began our taxi, and we had some rather drastic Christmas-themed mood lighting in the cabin.

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Fiji Airways mood lighting

We were cleared for takeoff on runway 25R at around midnight (the taxi was long, despite our pilot taxiing with purpose), and had a long takeoff roll and gradual climb out of Los Angeles.

Moments after takeoff the purser shared more information about the flight, including introducing each one of the flight attendants by name. In business class we had Violet and Akanisi as the senior flight attendants. I also liked that the purser announced “flight attendants are here to provide you service, so please press your call button if you need anything.” That’s a far cry from the announcement on US airlines where they say “flight attendants are here primarily for your safety.”

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection more extensively.

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Fiji business class entertainment system

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Fiji business class entertainment system

The selection wasn’t great, but wasn’t horrible either. There were roughly 40 movies and 30 TV shows available.

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Fiji business class entertainment system

If I weren’t so tired at this point (I didn’t have the energy to read captions), I would have watched the below movie, which sounded… fascinating.

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Fiji business class entertainment system

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Fiji business class entertainment system

I wanted to sleep after dinner, so eventually decided to watch a few episodes of Impractical Jokers, which is hilarious. I liked that Fiji Airways doesn’t have any ads before their programming.

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Fiji business class entertainment system

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Fiji business class entertainment system

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff, at which point the curtains between cabins were closed.

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Fiji A330 business class cabin view after takeoff

About 20 minutes after takeoff a flight attendant came by to take my meal order.

The menu read as follows:

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The drink list read as follows:

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It took a while for the meal service to get started, though about 40 minutes after takeoff I was finally served the glass of sauvignon blanc I had ordered, as well as some pretzels (which didn’t taste especially fresh).

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Fiji business class dinner service — pretzels and sauvignon blanc

After that I took out my tray table so the flight attendant could place a tablecloth on it.

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Fiji business class tray table

Roughly an hour after takeoff I was served the starter, as well as a selection of bread and some cheese.

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Fiji business class dinner service — appetizer, bread, and cheese

The sesame crusted tuna starter was exceptional.

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Fiji business class dinner appetizer — sesame crusted tuna on watermelon slices

There were a couple of types of bread offered in the breadbasket, and I asked for one of each.

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Fiji business class dinner service — bread selection

The cheese selection was basic, though I appreciated the crackers, grapes, and dried apricots.

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Fiji business class dinner service — cheese with grapes, dried apricots, and crackers

I’m not sure what exactly was in the small container on the tray.

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Fiji business class dinner service

The main course was served about 75 minutes after takeoff, and was truly delicious. I ordered the coconut crusted seabass with orange beurre blanc, and it was bursting with flavor.

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Fiji business class dinner main course — coconut crusted seabass

Once that was cleared I was offered the dessert, consisting of mango lime and ginger cheesecake. Again, it had a very unique flavor, and was the perfect finish to a great meal.

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Fiji business class dinner dessert — mango lime and ginger cheesecake

The meal service was done a bit over 90 minutes into the flight. While Fiji’s meal service isn’t the most extensive out there, I thought the quality was excellent. The portion was also perfect, since you really don’t want more food than that at 1AM, in my opinion.

Service throughout the meal was also extremely friendly and genuine.

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

After dinner I quickly checked out the lavatory. This is the one big downside of the A330-300. On the A330-200, business class takes up the entire space between doors one and two, so business class gets the lavatory in front of the cabin, as well as one of the lavatories behind the cabin. On the A330-300 there’s an economy section between business class and the second door, meaning business class only has one dedicated lavatory in front of the cabin. That’s also shared with the crew, including the pilots. Fortunately business class wasn’t full, but if it were, that seems like a serious problem.

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Fiji Airways business class bathroom A330

Once back at my seat I reclined into the bed position, since I wanted to get some rest. The seat was angled and very tight.

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Fiji Airways business class seat in bed mode

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Fiji Airways business class seat in bed mode

I’d note that while the blanket was great, the pillow was on the small side, so they really should have a bigger one for sleeping, in my opinion.

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Fiji business class pillow & blanket

Despite the fact that I can usually only sleep on flat surfaces, I managed to rest for about six hours. It wasn’t the same solid sleep I’d get in Cathay Pacific first class, for example, but I managed to get some rest, even if it wasn’t deep sleep or continuous. The cabin did get a bit warm overnight, and unfortunately Fiji Airways doesn’t have individual air nozzles in business class.

I woke up about 2.5 hours before landing, and browsed the airshow.

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

While I’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, the rest of the South Pacific is mostly a mystery to me, so I was fascinated by all the islands we had passed, like Christmas Island.

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

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Airshow enroute to Nadi

I got some work done on my laptop for about half an hour, and then two hours before landing the breakfast service began. The menu read as follows:

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Fiji business class breakfast card

Service began with some delicious orange juice being distributed. I don’t think it was actually freshly squeezed, but somehow the fact that they put an orange slice into it made it taste better. 😉

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast service — orange juice and water

While the tablecloth was placed on my tray about two hours before landing, the actual meal was only served about 90 minutes out.

Service began with fresh fruit, blueberry greek yogurt, and two croissants.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast service

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — fresh fruit

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — blueberry greek yogurt

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — croissants

Everything was tasty, though I was a bit surprised to find that Fiji’s coffee seems to be powdered. It was among the better powdered coffee I’ve had, but still powdered…

The main course consisted of a cheese omelet with chicken sausage, mushrooms, and hash browns, and was excellent.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — omelet with chicken sausage, mushrooms, and hash browns

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — omelet with chicken sausage, mushrooms, and hash browns

About an hour before landing Fiji customs forms were distributed.

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Fiji landing card

I watched a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

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Fiji Airways entertainment

I was impressed by the number of bottles of Fiji water the crew gave me. Often airlines only cater one bottle of water per passenger, and then pour the rest of the water out of bigger bottles. However, on Fiji Airways I drank almost exclusively out of bottles, and they must have brought me a dozen bottles throughout the flight.

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Fiji water!

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Airshow approaching Nadi

We began our descent at around 4:50AM Fiji time, at which point a video played throughout the cabin, explaining the arrivals process.

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Airshow approaching Nadi

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Airshow approaching Nadi

Our descent was smooth, as was the entire flight — I don’t think we had any turbulence the entire flight.

At 5:25AM we had a gorgeous touchdown with minimal reverse thrust. At that point the purser announced “bula and welcome to our home, Fiji.”

Our taxi to our arrival gate took only about five minutes.

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Arriving at gate in Nadi

Upon deplaning there was someone at the door of the plane saying “hello and welcome to Fiji” to each passenger. Further down the hall was a group playing traditional Fijian music, even though it was before dawn.

Nadi Airport has outdoor airside walkways, so I got to walk right past the A330 that just took me from Los Angeles, which was pretty awesome.

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Fiji Airways A330 on arrival in Nadi

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Fiji Airways A330 on arrival in Nadi

Immigration was painless (the officer was even friendly), and within two minutes I was in a taxi headed to my hotel.

Fiji Airways business class bottom line

Fiji Airways’ business class hard product is underwhelming, given what long flights they operate. The cabin itself feels fresh and is in great condition, but angled seats in 2016 just don’t cut it anymore.

I enjoyed everything else about the flight, from the food, to the service, to the cute Fijian touches. I’d definitely recommend Fiji Airways, especially if it allows you to do a stopover in Fiji enroute to Australia or New Zealand.

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Comments

  1. ” They call this the Economy Quiet Zone, and it’s for passengers 18 and over only. You can only buy-up to this area at check-in, since I don’t believe Fiji Airways consistently schedules this larger plane on a specific route.”

    On a full flight, they’re basically presuming 24 people are going to buy it. What if they don’t? They either have to IDB people or risk putting people who have no desire to be quiet in the quiet zone… I suppose you could call adults up to the desk in the gate area and ask if they’d like a comp “upgrade” to the quiet zone, but no guarantees…

  2. Ben,

    I though you departed from a remote stand at LAX? The picture you have of your flight pushing back is next to an Air Canada plane that is at an air bridge. Did u put the wrong picture in or does LAX not use air stairs for remote stands and just has remote terminals? Thanks

  3. Yes I know those seats from SQ. Uncomfortable for more than 2 hours. I never understand how airlines decide to end up with such crappy seats. Clearly the selection panel must consist of no-flyers.

  4. @ Justin — Well typically they’re not actually selling this plane to capacity, since they plan on every flight being operated by an A330-200. So it’s unlikely that there will be more passengers than can be seated in the non-quiet zone. That being said, just like an operational upgrade to business class, they could also upgrade adults to this zone for free, which is what I suspect they would do.

  5. @ Ted — LAX has some odd remote gates. Basically it’s a remote terminal, but it’s not actually a terminal. Instead each “gate” is just stairs leading up to a jet bridge, from which you board the plane.

  6. “Often airlines only cater one bottle of water per passenger, and then pour the rest of the water out of bigger bottles.”

    Actually I’ve only ever seen this unhygienic practice done on US carriers; almost all worldwide carriers give you a fresh (sealed) bottle of water when you consume the one you already have.

  7. H.T — I’ve seen it on several airlines, including non-US ones. Some do indeed have more than one bottle, but often they run out about halfway through the flight. Happens more often than not.

  8. Avoid row 1 like the plague. So much galley noise/light/movement. I barely slept on a midnight departure flight.

  9. “The cabin itself feels fresh and is in great condition, but angled seats in 2016 just don’t cut it anymore. I enjoyed everything else about the flight, from the seat, to the service, to the cute Fijian touches.”

    So did you like the seat or not like the seat??

  10. @ H.T. on AA long-haul international (J class) I didn’t receive a bottle of water, woke up and was offered a glass of water for the plane’s water tank (no more bottles I was told). I declined the water (as I believe these tanks are not very hygienic) and the FA rolled her eyes and condescendingly told me that it was a new plane that the water is clean and safe. Only on AA!
    Wrote aa.com, they didn’t even acknowledge it. (10+ years as EXP)

  11. FWIW on the water bottle thing. I currently, for business, travel internationally every week (and have for the past ~year) to various destinations. My company only flies me coach, and we use Delta. I’ve gotten 5+ new bottles of water during my flight, no problem. I know AA is really stringent, and sure others have had your experiences on DL too, but has never been an issue for me.

  12. I think that little container held your pineapple, red onion and basil salsa that was to go with your tuna appetizer.

  13. Last time I flew business class overnight I positioned the fully flat seat like an angled seat because I found it more comfortable.

  14. When are you coming to Greece Ben? Maybe you could get a chance to fly on our home airline-Aegean? It’s not that good (it’s a regional airline after all) but it would be a nice experience … I hope

  15. Sadly, it lookss like Fiji is not making any Business class redemptions available through Alaska for LAX/NAN or NAN/LAX anymore (or they just became as rare as Qantas 1st!).

  16. What is award availability like? I would imagine most people wanting to redeem miles for the route would be doing so with at least one other travel companion. Is it possible to snag two award seats? Thanks for the review.

  17. I think the container probably had the pineapple and basil salsa that was supposed to accompany your tuna starter (per the menu description).

  18. Hmmmm. Christmas Island. Unless there are two this is a glitch in the map. The Christmas Island I know is an Australian Territory adjacent to the south of Java in Indonesia. Perhaps there are two?

  19. @Ben
    Nice report on FJ. The aircraft and interiors are merely a function of price. What can’t be purchased is the outstanding graciousness and hospitality of the Fijian crews and the Fijian people in general. It appears that Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific) has upped the menu offerings and quality. Having been an expat pilot for FJ and domiciled at LAX (yep, may have been one of the PA’s from the Captain with a slight Texas accent you previously referenced) I continue to be very impressed with all aspects of their operation. Pilot training was excellent and conducted to exceed Qantas specifications and standards (minority owner of Air Pacific). The only drawback I see with FJ is their early cancellation of their B787 purchases and options and their switch to Airbus 330 (part of the plan of departed CEO David Pflieger on whom I will refrain from any comment). Rumor is they are currently rethinking his decision. I certainly hope so as I’d love to go back for a vacation. “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going”.

  20. Lucky- You never share any of your extracurricular activities. So do you get “lucky” on these trips or what? Your fans would love to know!

  21. Does anyone know any particulars (performers and titles) on the boarding music, or from who I could find out.? It is very smooooth and relaxing.

  22. Thanks for how helpful and informative your blog is. I’m travelling to Fiji for the first time in May, 2017. Having been to Australia already, years ago, before Premium Economy and affordable First/Business Class fares I vividly recall my SUFFERING in Economy on Quantas for the flights from HNL-SYD-LAX. I KNOW the importance of being comfortable on Trans-Pacific flights. Therefore, LAX-NAN-LAX will all be in Fiji Airways Business Class, which I automatically know will be a WAY more pleasurable experience. I live in California, so I’m using my Alaska Mileage Plus account to earn all the miles from travel on Fiji. So HANDY that Alaska and Fiji are airline partners, which is a HUGE + !

    Staying at First Landing Resort in Lautoka on Viti Levu the first five days of my stay in Fiji, and from what online research I have done on the Resort, it looks beautiful, and has gotten excellent online reviews. My friend and I are staying in a Beachfront Spa Bure there, so hopefully the real-life experience lives up to what I’ve seen online. Any sightseeing, restaurant etc…tips for Viti Levu you can recommend would be GREAT!

    Then off on a 4 day cruise with Captain Cook Cruises on the MV Reef Endeavour to the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands near Viti Levu, which I am sure will be fabulous for Kayaking, Snorkeling and Scuba diving (we are planning to dive on Viti Levu also pre-cruise) which Fiji is world-famous for of course.

    Any tips, recommendations or must-sees are HIGHLY appreciated.

    I would appreciate your Ben-to-Ben candor.

    Thanks.

  23. <>

    Can you clarify that statement? These seats do not look angled to me. At first I assumed you were talking about angled recline, but later you showed a fully flat bed.

    Great review!

  24. @ Geoff — The seats are at an angle to the ground — they’re not parallel, so you’ll have the sensation of sliding down when you fully recline the seat and lie down.

  25. @Lucky, I was thinking of using Alaska miles to get to New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji. But as mentioned above, business class award availability between LAX and NAN seems very hard to find, though there is quite a bit of availability between NAN and New Zealand. I was interested to hear your business class section was half empty. Do you think if one had a business class award ticket but had an economy seat, that they would upgrade at the gate to business class if there are empty seats?

  26. I have been scouring the fijiairways.com website TRYING to find how to book a Business Class seat from LAX to Nadi. The only option that appears is for Economy. As a 6 foot, 63 year old female, I am more than happy to pay for the leg room and service in Business Class if I could only figure out how to access and book it. Please advise.

  27. I’ve been saving up ALaska miles for 2 business class tickets on Fiji for USA to New Zealand (stopover of course in Fiji). Was hoping to do this trip next year or 2, but I can’t seem to find any availability. I’ve checked some dates into next April which is as far out as Alaska’s calendar goes on their app. Is there a trick? Frustrating. What good is partnering with Fiji if you can’t actually use your AS miles on them?

  28. Got back from Fiji two days ago, and I have to say, Fiji Airways Business Class was PRETTY AWESOME! Going out of LAX-NAN was the overnight flight on the Island of Rotuma plane, which is the same flight featured here in the blog. I was in 1K, the bulkhead row window seat, which was a HUGE thumbs up all the way — I was able to SLEEP! True, the seats aren’t like an actual bed, BUT, the blankets and duvets they give are comfortable enough to make it seem like a bed. 4J coming back was fine also, but I believe I had more room overall in the bulkhead row. The meal service wasn’t exceptional, certainly lower standards than I would expect in business class, but not the most horrible food I’ve ever eaten. Breakfast was better than dinner I recall. Out of LAX I had Fish, coming back I had Chicken — c’est la vie. Overall, I WOULD fly Fiji Airways again, BUT, I think my next South Pacific trip is going to be on Air New Zealand, so the next trip on Fiji will have to wait. Overall, I have to agree with you Ben, Fiji Airways was good, but NOT exceptional.

  29. Does anyone have any info on the bula bid and the approximate price it would go for on an off-season flight from LAX to Nadi (late Jan)?

  30. Just wanted to say that I am one of the few who’s been successful at getting the LAX to NAN business class award space on Fiji airways. The trick was that I reserved that space almost 365 days out. I was able to get 2 seats, and now I’m trying to add a 3rd seat, and even in economy, space is non-existent.

    Right now, I’m slightly less than 90 days out from our trip. Really hoping that award space (even coach) shows up soon!

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