If you’ve spent any time in Fiji, you know that departing is with sweet sorrow. If you book your flights with Fiji Airways, however, you can extend that bula spirit for a few more hours.
I used the handy SYD-LAX route via Nadi, stopping in Fiji for #FTE2019 and time with the beautiful community in Savusavu.
As a regular Australia-to-US traveller, I previously shied away from connecting flights. Now I’ve bonded with the Fijian vibes, I’m a fully-fledged convert to that midway-ish stopover for more ‘Fiji Time’.
Read for on for my Fiji Airways economy class review: NAN-LAX.
Check-in & Boarding
The check-in experience doesn’t start at the airline counter, but when your ride drops you at the door. Thankfully, last year’s multi-million-dollar upgrade at Nadi Airport has given all airlines a head start. Not that Fiji Airways needs it; the check-in experience oozed the same accommodating vibes you get across the islands.
Only two other international flights were scheduled to take off alongside mine, making for an effortless customs and security clearing experience. ‘Fiji Time’ is probably one of the few local traditions that do not get extended into the airport. This FJ route delivers a smooth 80% on-time departure record with an average delay of only eight minutes! Great to know if you’re connecting in the US.
As the airport is still small, it’s lacking the comfy loungers and sneaky snooze spaces that many larger international airports have. You’ll find a WH Smiths for your I’m-not-sure-how-good-the-plane-food-will-be snacking options, as well as basic eateries, a Nike store, and duty-free, of course.
For the most comfort, the Fiji Airways Premium Lounge is where it’s at. A cool Insta-fabulous plant wall welcomes you in, and the lounge has a small-but-delicious selection of food. Grab a (GF) brownie if they have them in when you pass through. Usually, you’d have to think of ways to wrangle a lounge invite, but you can buy your way in for FJD$99. Worth it for that brownie alone.
The Cabin & Seat
I was pleased with the legroom in my economy class seat. I’m 5’7” so average height, but I had a fair bit of space between my knees and the seat-back pockets (I am a fan of the mini outer pocket for my chapstick, btw).
When the seat in front reclined, my laptop space was significantly reduced, though I just took that as a sign to stop working (right?).
The Fiji Airways economy pillow was the best I’ve ever had on a flight. It didn’t feel like those synthetic horrors that usually turn your body to static. It also put the right amount of puff between you and whatever hard surface you are trying to sleep against. I’d recommend being one of the first to ask for an extra pillow: two makes for the ultimate in-flight comfort. The blankets were good quality too.
Entertainment & Service
As I had a night flight, and it was ‘only’ 10 hours, I didn’t watch any movies. There were 47 movies available with all having a 2018 release date or earlier, as you might expect. There are old faves like Fight Club or Wild to re-watch too, if you’re doing the full SYD-LAX run in one go. The Kids Club will likely keep your brood entertained.
The seats had a USB port and under-seat power outlet but don’t worry, I still didn’t do any work.
The service was a standout of the flight. As a fan of staying plastic-free, it was pleasing to see one flight attendant preemptively offer to refill one passenger’s water bottle as she drained the last drops. On many airlines, you can barely get your mini-cup filled twice. I also witnessed considerate, educated attendance to a blind passenger.
Food & Drinks
The meals were the letdown of the flight for me. But then, I’m yet to be wowed by any airline’s economy class gluten-free meal. It was also identical to the dry-potato-chicken-and-beans dinner on my flight into Fiji. I didn’t feel game for more dry potatoes and scrambled egg at 6am, either.
10/10 will fly again! Stopovers are back in favour thanks to the ease of both flights, the effortless Nadi Airport experience, and my new ‘any excuse’ sentiment to spend more time in Fiji.
Flight: FJ810, NAN-LAX daily
Class: Economy, Seat 23K
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Timing: 10 hours (45 minutes ahead of schedule) departing Nadi at 9:40 pm.
Loyalty: Qantas, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines
- READ: 8 ways Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji is changing the world
- READ: A night at the 5-star Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji
- READ: Tales of a maiden journey to Fiji’s Savusavu
Have you flown on Fiji Airways A330-200?
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