Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330-2, Los Angeles – Nadi
Fiji Airways is one of the smaller carriers operating international flights in the South Pacific. With a small fleet of 5 wide body aircrafts, it operates flights to and from Fiji with connecting flights through Nadi International Airport. As a member of One World Select, it offers some reciprocal benefits with One World Carriers. Through a redemption with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, we’d get an opportunity to test them out on their Airbus 330 international business class services from North America to Nadi.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Fiji, New Zealand & French Polynesia via Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui Business Class
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines Board Room – North Satellite – Seattle – Tacoma, USA
- Alaska Airlines: Seattle – Los Angeles
- The Los Angeles International Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, USA
- Fiji Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Nadi
- The Sheraton Resort and Spa Tokoriki Island, Fiji
- The Westin Denaru Island Resort and Spa, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge, Nadi International Airport, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Business Class: Nadi – Auckland
- Air New Zealand – Auckland Domestic Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand – Auckland Regional Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand: Auckland – Blenheim
- The Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Blenheim, New Zealand
- Four Sauvingon Blanc Wineries and One Lunch, Blenheim, New Zealand
- Four Pinot Noir Wineries and One Lunch, Blenheim, New Zealand
- A Circle Driving Day: Blenheim – Nelson – Picton – Blenheim, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand Blenheim – Auckland
- Air New Zealand – Auckland International Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand Economy Sky Couch: Auckland – Papeete
- Le Meridien Tahiti, Papeete, French Polynesia
- Visiting the Papeete Market and Taking the Ferry: Papeete – Moorea, French Polynesia
- The Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort, French Polynesia
- Cycling in Teavaro and Snorkelling in Moorea, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti: Moorea – Bora Bora
- Le Meridien Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti: Bora Bora – Papeete
- Air Tahiti Nui Salon Manuhiri Business Lounge, Papeete, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti Nui Poerava Business Class: Papeete – Los Angeles
- The United Club, Los Angeles Terminal Seven
- American Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Vancouver
Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330-2, Los Angeles International Airport – Nadi International Airport
We left the Los Angeles International Lounge at about fifty minutes before our flight and walked over to our boarding Gate 130. The Tom Bradley International Terminal concourse had thinned out quite considerably as we neared 11 PM. The boarding time as marked on our Fiji Airways boarding cards was set for 10:45PM.
Business Class (U)
LAX-NAN (Los Angeles International Tom Bradley International Terminal – Nadi International Airport)
June 2, 2017
Booked: Airbus 330-200
Flown: Boeing 330-200
Departure: 11:30 PM
Arrival: 05:50 AM + 2
Boarding Fiji Airways Business Class:
The boarding line management was pretty much a mess tonight and it was an Indian or Middle Eastern crowd rushing into the boarding gate. The gate agents weren’t making announcements or really enforcing the boarding priority. Surprisingly, there were also no signs, ropes or boarding zones, which really made it for a disorganized process. Like having a microwave, you certainly noticed it when it was gone.
Once we were through the scrum, it was down to a proper, but unmarked double jet bridge boarding today with business class boarding through 1L.
On Board Fiji Airways Business Class:
On board, the Fiji Airways Business Class cabin made a beautiful first impression; nice light colours and the signature patterned cushions on the seats. The Airbus 330 cabin was configured in a 2-2-2 configuration. The seats are similar to the business class product on the Singapore Airlines A330’s that are used for mostly regional flights from Singapore.
We found our Business Class seats 3K / 3J which we had selected in advance. The seats were an angled flat seat that does not fully recline. The load in business today was 20/24. Being an A330 aircraft, the overhead bins on the outsides are smaller than the bins on the Boeing’s. I had to turn the carry on rollie lengthwise of the plane to get it to fit. It wasn’t an issue as there was tons of space.
I checked out the features of the seat, which included a reasonably sized screen, some gimmicky storage compartments under the monitor screen, a wired remote, and in seat power that actually worked.
On our seats were an amenity kit, Fiji Water and a pillow. The pillow was firmer than usual pillows; similar to a memory foam type.
The Amenity Kit: Pure Fiji
The amenity kit had was lightly branded with some Pure Fiji lotions. The Pure Fiji products are popular within Fiji but I haven’t been able to locate anywhere for purchase outside of Fiji. The kit itself was in a soft airline branded pouch that was useful for storage. We would end up using this amenity kit holder when we got home for electronic cord storage while travelling.
Blanket packs were handed out, in addition to printed dinner menus and a self scribe breakfast order (check sheet). Both the dinner and breakfast food order were promptly taken at the gate prior to departure.
As might be expected for a flight to a British Commonwealth nation, there was a substantial tea selection available on the menu. The tea was unbranded; perhaps a lost partnership opportunity there for a tea manufacturer.
In terms of the wine list, they had some okay Australian and New Zealand wines on this flight. Unfortunately, there was no Shaw and Smith (a winery that we had previously visited) like as seen on past Fiji Airways flights. At the very least, the wines themselves were interesting and select enough that you were interested in trying the brands on offer.
A breakfast card was also presented for food orders for the second service in the morning; with the order taken while parked at the Los Angeles Airport gate.
Pre Departure Services:
A pre-departure beverage was offered of the Paradise Cocktail (Fijian Rum, Liqueur Rare, Fiji Coconut Rum Liqueur, lemon syrup topped up with ginger ale), a mocktail (lemon and barley syrup, squeeze of lime and orange, lemonade finished with cherry), or ice water off a tray. All were served in a proper glass. It was a refreshing change other than the usual orange juice or water? During the pre flight service, Fijian newspapers were also offered.
The cabin purser made the departure announcement of our flying time to Nadi of approximately 10 hours and 40 minutes. The cabin purser sounded Australian based on his accent.
We got underway immediately with a departure from LAX over the water. At about midnight our time, I was pretty tired from the travel today and from the day earlier (my cancelled Newfoundland segments) and nodded off to sleep as we climbed to altitude.
Once we were at cruising altitude, a towel service was offered. The towel was unusually thick compared to the tired towels that you usually get on an plane. It had a hotel resort type feel to it-the quality of something you’d find in a hotel resort bathroom.
The Meal: A Full Dinner Service
The crew was exceptionally pleasant and service oriented. It was far more enjoyable that our last flights on Air France and even on First Class on Emirates. The dinner service started about 45 minutes into the flight. It started with pretzels and champagne.
The first course was seared scallops with mesculin salad, endive lettuce, artichoke heart and julienne sun dried tomato. It was just okay; a bit plain tasting for my palette.
I had the main of braised miso sea bass served with miso sauce, steamed seaweed rice, sugar snap peas and carrot florets. Not bad – I picked away at it. The miso intertwined with the rice made it have an odd taste to it which I still remember to this date.
I fiddled with the entertainment system but there wasn’t too much there to keep me interested. With only a few movies, it was a limited selection offering with titles that didn’t particularly interest me.
As it was almost 1 AM, I skipped on dessert and opted for sleep right afterwards.
The Fiji Airways Business Class angle flat seats are tough for tall side sleepers like me. I don’t find them comfortable at all. The seat seems to recline to about 172 Degrees; it’s described on the Fiji Airways website as an 8 degree lie flat bed. Despite the less than ideal angle flat sleeping configuration, I slept for about 6 hours as I was pretty tired having spent the past week in Newfoundland Time Zone about 4.5+ hours off Pacific Standard Time.
The volume of the cabin was pretty loud throughout the night. I remembered my sleep being punctuated with lots of flight attendant chimes and other travellers accessing the clicking of the overhead bins. I would attribute the noise to the actions of other travellers and not on the part or of any fault of the crew. It made it a bit hard to get a proper or deep rest.
The Second Service: A Full Breakfast
I woke up about three hours from Nadi as the crew started the clinking and clanking of the breakfast service. A second towel service was offered. Breakfast was served in a two course offering. It started with a yogurt parfait which wasn’t on the menu (but welcomed regardless).
Surprisingly, the coffee served was powdered; even though it was nicely presented in a jazzy Fiji Airways cup. I had to switch back to the default of Buck fizz of champagne and orange juice to start. The powdered coffee was absolutely terrible when based on American Standards where premium brewed coffee from places like Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Peet’s Coffee are everywhere.
The main breakfast course consisted of a cheese omelette with seared chipolata sausage, blistered tomatoes and roasted potatoes.
After breakfast service, there was a very through preparation of the cabin for landing, including all items being put up in to the overhead bins. These included all pillows and we’ll have that sleeping blanket, whether you are done with it or not, thank you!!
Arriving into Nadi International Airport:
We landed in the darkness of the night at Nadi International Airport. We pulled up next to one of Fiji Airways Boeing 737’-800’s. The Nadi International Airport is the base for Fiji Airways and the home of the flag carrier of Fiji.
As we stepped off the plane, we were welcomed off the plane by 5 ground crew agents on the jet bridge welcoming us all to Fiji. It was definitely a first for me to be individually and personally welcomed by ground crew; usually it’s a general announcement via the plane’s public address system. It was a great first impression. Fiji airport has outdoor walkways so I was able to snap a few photographs of the plane before heading to immigration.
Once inside Nadi International Airport, we had a live band playing music in the hall welcoming us to Fiji. This was an impressive feat as it was 5:50 AM. They were more dedicated that I am to be at work at that hour (laughing). Unfortunately, the immigration queue was quite long and it took us about 30 minutes wait to get stamped in to Fiji; my 62nd country visited!
We collected our bags, changed some money and purchased a few bottles of wine at the Fiji Duty Free on arrival where there was plenty of staff available to help with selections. The wine selections were pretty mainstream, but I think that’s to be expected when you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
We had a bag x-ray and an arrival into the public side of Fiji Airport. We met our driver who took us straight to the marina for our transfer to the Sheraton Tokoriki via boat launch.
The Bottom Line: Travelling with Fiji Airways Business Class
Overall, the Fiji Airways flight impressed me. I had some pretty low expectations going in. What can you expect from a carrier that only has 4 wide body jets and flies only to a few destinations? Despite the angled flat seats that just don’t cut it anymore in today’s long haul travel, the crews were excellent. They seemed genuinely interested in their jobs and were keen to serve. The whole experience was much more pleasant than our recent Air France flights and the service was more personable than our Emirates First Class flights when the cabins were full and the staff are running around trying to deal with everyone.