Embraced in a warm “welkam”, the Vanuatu vibes started the moment I boarded Air Vanuatu’s 737-800 from Sydney to Port Vila.
I recently had the chance to experience Air Vanuatu’s island hospitality first-hand, and aside from an entertainment glitch, it was a warm experience. Read on for more of what I thought:
CHECK IN & BEYOND
Checking in online was a breeze and there were no long queues at bag drop to contend with either. A generous 30kg baggage allowance also meant there was no stress about my luggage being too heavy which made a nice change!
The flight was delayed by thirty minutes due to inclement weather, but we remained informed, so no-one seemed too phased about the short delay.
It should be noted to print your e-ticket ready for immigration in Vanuatu as they need to be able to view your onward travel plans clearly before granting you access into the country.
THE CABIN, SEAT & ENTERTAINMENT
The economy section of the aircraft is broken up into a configuration of 3-3.
Seated up the back in 28F, I was grateful to have an entire row to myself. It’s always such a pleasant and welcome surprise when the last cabin door closes and no-one sits next to you!
The only downfall about the positioning of my seat was that there was a constant queue for the bathrooms, meaning people were standing beside the row for the duration of the flight. If I were seated in the aisle, that wouldn’t have been an ideal or comfortable scenario in my books.
I was a tad dismayed when I noticed there weren’t any screens behind the seats, but, thankfully, we were alerted to the Air Vanuatu Entertainment app prior to take-off, allowing us enough time to download it onto our devices.
Unfortunately, whilst the app loads and the limited selection of movies and TV shows can be selected, none would actually play. An Air Vanuatu representative at Tok Tok explained that there are some glitches with the system that their technical team are working hard to rectify.
Once this service is back up and running, you will find a couple of recent release movies on offer, along with a small array of TV shows, documentaries (most showcasing Vanuatu) and six radio stations offering a variety of local and international music.
FOOD & SERVICE
My choice of lunch consisted of a delectably flavoursome lemongrass beef dish served with steamed rice and vegetables. A salad and bread role were offered alongside and dessert was a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and macadamia cookie.
A selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were also on offer.
When it came to the onboard service, Air Vanuatu CEO Derek Nice captured the essence of the experience aboard my flight to Port Vila in his opening statement at Tok Tok.
“Air Vanuatu is Vanuatu. Your holiday starts the moment you step onboard our Boeing 737 or our ATR-72 where you’re greeted with the warmth and hospitality for which this country is famous.”
That beautiful spirit and service with a smile continued all throughout my stay in the islands.
Whilst it was a tad frustrating not to have a working entertainment option available, with it being such a short flight it certainly didn’t hinder my experience too much. It would have been nice to have had the option however.
Overall, my experience was a positive one, with the highlights being the food, the warm Vanuatu service and the surprise row to myself!
Flight: NF 11
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat Class: Economy
Flight Time: Dept. 10.55am (AEST), Arr. 3.10pm
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