Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Nadi To Los Angeles

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
Depart: 9:40PM
Arrive: 1:25PM
Duration: 10hr45min
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.

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Fiji Airways A330 business class cabin

I had only assigned my seat at the airport (given that I booked only hours in advance), and ended up selecting seat 1B.

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Fiji Airways A330 bulkhead business class seats

I was curious to try the bulkhead, given that there was much more legroom.

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Fiji Airways A330 bulkhead business class legroom

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Fiji Airways A330 bulkhead business class 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.

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Fiji Airways A330 bulkhead business class legroom

Waiting at my seat was the same amenity kit and bottle of Fiji water I had on the flight out.

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Fiji Airways business class amenity kit & bottled water

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.

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Fiji Airways business class legroom

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.

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Fiji Airways business class pre-departure drink & hot towel

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.

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Fiji Airways business class menus

As we stood at the gate I took a look at the airshow, including the long Pacific crossing we’d be making.

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Fiji Airways airshow from Nadi to Los Angeles

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Fiji Airways airshow from Nadi to Los Angeles

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.

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 Fiji Airways business class entertainment

About 25 minutes after takeoff the flight attendants took drink and dinner orders.

The drink list read as follows:

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The menu read as follows:

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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.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner starter

The gin & tonic was great, but I didn’t love the texture of the chicken (and it’s not because it was stuffed).

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Fiji Airways business class dinner starter — baked chicken with pineapple and mint

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.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner main course — sweet potato gnocchi

I’ve never had sweet potato gnocchi before, though it was interesting, and I quite liked it.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner main course — sweet potato gnocchi

The side salad was good but small.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner — fresh garden salad

The rolls were decent, though I’m still a sucker for garlic bread and pretzel rolls on planes.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner — rolls

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.

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Fiji Airways business class dinner dessert — passionfruit tiramisu

Dinner service was done about 80 minutes after takeoff, at which point the cabin lights were dimmed.

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Fiji Airways business class cabin after dinner

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Fiji Airways airshow

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Fiji Airways airshow

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.

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Fiji Airways business class lavatory

There was even a rather interesting plant in the bathroom.

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Fiji Airways business class lavatory

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.

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Airshow approaching Los Angeles

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Airshow approaching Los Angeles

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Airshow approaching Los Angeles

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Airshow approaching Los Angeles

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.

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Fiji Airways business class entertainment

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:

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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.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — orange juice

For the starter I had fresh fruit, berry yogurt, a croissant, and a coconut bun.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — fresh fruit, yogurt, and bread

The fresh fruit was simple but tasty.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — fresh fruit

The yogurt was good as well.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — berry yogurt

The croissant was what you’d expect on a plane, though the coconut bun was sinfully delicious (probably because it was about half butter).

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — croissant and coconut bun

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.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — crepe with rice pudding

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.

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Fiji Airways business class breakfast — coffee

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.

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Fiji Airways business class entertainment

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.

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Why were you served the chicken as a starter when it’s listed on the menu as a main? In fact, what you were served looks a bit like the listed starter: wahoo mousse, are you sure that’s not what it was? That might explain why the texture was a bit odd if you were expecting chicken.

  2. Lucky, your comment about Customs & Border Protection reminded me of a question for you: given that you have Global Entry, on flights to the U.S., what do you generally do with the landing form? When I first got Global Entry, I used to refuse the form, but I soon gave up as I found that confused many flight attendants, particularly on foreign carriers.

  3. I’d be upset about giving up a bulkhead seat to go and sit in the middle of a family group. If a couple can’t spend 10 hours apart on a flight, they have serious issues…

  4. What everyone said regarding the appetizer…it being a fish dish may have contributed to the strange texture and taste…

  5. @ Lucky
    @Susan

    That was very considerate and kind of you to change seats in order that the couple may sit together for the 10 hour flight. I think a couple would have “serious issues” if they didn’t desire to sit together for a 10 hour flight . . . Susan. Some of us forget that flights like this may be a “once in a lifetime” trip for a couple. If this was the case, you made their day/trip Ben. If not the case, then you certainly made it a more memorable island experience.
    Having said that, it’s hard for me to understand why groups think that it’s OK to converse and pass items throughout the airplane. It’s Business Class folks, not Family Picnic Area. People pay extra for not only the upgraded service and space but also for the peace and quiet. I’m guessing that since there was no further mention by Ben, the “family” exercised “restaurant behavior” (something many passengers and parents have disregarded) and settled down.

    Vinaka

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