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 810
Nadi (NAN) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Monday, August 15
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 4E (Business Class)
While my previous flight was operated by Fiji Airways’ one A330-300, this flight was operated by one of the airlines’ three A330-200 aircraft.
The business class cabin on both planes is identical, though the one difference is that on the -300 there’s an economy cabin immediately behind business class, while on the -200 the entire space between doors one and two is taken up by business class.
So business class consisted of a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
I had only assigned my seat at the airport (given that I booked only hours in advance), and ended up selecting seat 1B.
I was curious to try the bulkhead, given that there was much more legroom.
Of course the downside is that there’s light from the galley and the TV is further away, but I figured it was worth trying.
Waiting at my seat was the same amenity kit and bottle of Fiji water I had on the flight out.
Well, about five minutes after settling in, a very apologetic flight attendant came up to me and asked if I wouldn’t mind switching seats. She explained that a couple was traveling together but were separated due to the full cabin. Sure, I didn’t want the couple to be seated apart for such a long flight, and I didn’t necessarily think the bulkhead was better than the other rows, so I made the switch.
I switched to seat 4E, which was the right-side aisle seat in center section of the last row.
Once settled in there, one of the flight attendants came by to offer me a hot towel and pre-departure beverage. I had the same pre-departure beverage I had on the way out, which was their delicious signature cocktail.
Several minutes later I was offered the menu and wine list for the flight, as well as a breakfast order form, which I was asked to fill out. The flights between Los Angeles and Nadi are similar in both directions, in the sense that dinner is served after takeoff, and then breakfast is served before landing.
As we stood at the gate I took a look at the airshow, including the long Pacific crossing we’d be making.
At around 9:30PM Captain John (who sounded Australian) came on the PA to add his welcome aboard, informing us of our flight time of 10hr38min, and generally smooth conditions enroute.
About 10 minutes later the main cabin door closed, with every business class seat taken. The other five seats in row four were taken by a family that was traveling together, including two grandparents, two parents, and then their son. Best I could tell the grandparents were Kiwi, as was the dad, while the mom and son had American accents. It was a bit awkward to be seated between them all, since the dad (seated to the left of me) often communicated with his parents (seated to the right of me), and they had me hand things between them.
As we began our pushback the purser added her welcome aboard. She rocked the announcements. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our home, on this Fiji Airways A330 bound for the City of Angels.” She then proceeded to name all the flight attendants onboard, and I loved the way she phrased it — “in the business class cabin we have [names of flight attendants] who are here to delight you.”
Our taxi to runway 20 was very quick, and we were airborne before 9:50PM.
The climb out was smooth, and the seatbelt sign was turned off about 20 minutes after takeoff. As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection, and decided to watch The Hangover III, which I’ve seen before, but was just as amusing the second time.
About 25 minutes after takeoff the flight attendants took drink and dinner orders.
The drink list read as follows:
The menu read as follows:
15 minutes later the first round of drinks was served, along with a starter. I ordered a gin & tonic, and was also served the baked chicken stuffed with pineapple and mint.
The gin & tonic was great, but I didn’t love the texture of the chicken (and it’s not because it was stuffed).
About 10 minutes later the main meal trays were brought out. I appreciate that Fiji Airways has a pretty efficient service, given that most of their longhaul flights are late at night.
On the tray was the gnocchi I had ordered, along with a side salad and some dinner rolls.
I’ve never had sweet potato gnocchi before, though it was interesting, and I quite liked it.
The side salad was good but small.
The rolls were decent, though I’m still a sucker for garlic bread and pretzel rolls on planes.
Once my main course was cleared I was offered the dessert, which consisted of passionfruit tiramisu. It was both sweet and refreshing — I loved it.
Dinner service was done about 80 minutes after takeoff, at which point the cabin lights were dimmed.
I finished my movie, and then checked out the lavatory. The benefit of the A330-200 over the A330-300 is that there are lavatories both in front of and behind the cabin. Meanwhile on the A330-300 there was a single lavatory in front of the cabin, and then just more lavatories behind the mini-economy cabin. So the A330-200 has a much better setup for business class passengers.
There was even a rather interesting plant in the bathroom.
Fiji Airways only has angled seats in business class, which aren’t especially comfortable. That being said, I was so tired at this point, so had no trouble getting about six hours of rest. Much like on the outbound it wasn’t real sleep, since I don’t sleep well on angled surfaces. But I had my eyes closed for most of it, so it was more rest than I usually get in a seat like this. I woke up about three hours before landing in Los Angeles, as we were just under 1,000 miles east of Hawaii.
I browsed the entertainment selection and decided to watch an episode of The Flintstones. It’s amazing how much animation has improved over the years. I remember watching the show as a kid and being amazed by it, but it was almost difficult to watch nowadays.
Breakfast was served very early, about 2hr30min before landing. I find it strange that Fiji Airways doesn’t have any midflight snacks, as most airlines do. Perhaps that’s why they serve breakfast so early, as most passengers already seemed to be awake.
The breakfast menu read as follows:
Service began with orange juice. As was the case on the outbound, I don’t think it was actually freshly squeezed, though the orange slice contributed nicely to the presentation.
For the starter I had fresh fruit, berry yogurt, a croissant, and a coconut bun.
The fresh fruit was simple but tasty.
The yogurt was good as well.
The croissant was what you’d expect on a plane, though the coconut bun was sinfully delicious (probably because it was about half butter).
For the main course I ordered the crepe, given that I had an omelet on the way out. While it was very sweet (given that it was doused in maple syrup — I would have rather they served it on the side), it was fantastic. I especially loved the rice pudding inside of it.
The one part of the breakfast service that was a bit off was the coffee. I’m someone who really cares about coffee, and I prefer it to be served before the meal, as it’s the first thing I like to have when waking up. In this instance the coffee was actually served after the meal service was finished. I asked a flight attendant about it a couple of times, but she said “my colleague is bringing it, don’t worry.” I finally got it an hour later.
On one hand I’d consider that to be pretty bad service, on the other hand Fiji is on island time, so I sort of think it comes with the territory.
Other than that, service throughout the flight was good. It wasn’t overly attentive or polished, but it was genuine and friendly, or more simply put, Fijian.
After breakfast we still had about 90 minutes to go, so I decided to watch Ice Age: Continental Drift, which I hadn’t seen before. It was very amusing. I’ve been getting into animated movies again since watching Zootopia. I think they’re almost more enjoyable to watch as an adult than as a kid.
At around 1PM Pacific Time, the Fijian first officer came on the PA to provide us with updated arrival information. He informed us we’d be landing in about 30 minutes.
Sure enough we touched down at around 1:30PM on runway 25L, and from there had a 15 minute taxi to our gate at Tom Bradley International Terminal.
When we arrived at the gate everyone got up as usual, though about five minutes later the captain said “ladies and gentlemen, the US customs & border protection agents have asked all passengers to please take a seat. We’ll let you know when you can get up.”
Okay, my assumption was that someone was about to be dragged off the plane, as I’ve seen several times before.
Moments later the captain emerged from the cockpit to apologize to business class passengers, and said “you know why you can’t get up, right?”
I was about to say “cause they’re looking for someone?” But he quickly explained that the facility was just so backed up that they couldn’t take any more passengers. Ah…
We sat on the plane for about another 15 minutes, and then were cleared to get up.
Fiji Airways business class bottom line
Overall I enjoyed my experience on Fiji Airways. While their hard product leaves a bit to be desired for such a long flight, every other aspect of the experience is pleasant. Their food is good, service friendly, and I love how they incorporate so many elements of Fiji into the overall experience.
Flying Fiji Airways between the US and Australia/Zealand with a stopover enroute is a great option, in my opinion.