Fiji Airways A330 Business Class from Auckland to Nadi

View of Fiji Airways A330
View of Fiji Airways A330

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was a set of stairs to access the gates area from the lounge and gate 2 was located another floor down so after going up, it was back down another level by stairs or the elevators. This has got to be one of the most convoluted airports in terms of layout. Boarding was called just right on time when I arrived at the gate so I still managed to be one of the first few passengers on the plane!

Fiji Airways Airbus A330
Fiji Airways Airbus A330

FJ410 Auckland International AKL – Nadi International NAN
STD-STA: 1300-1555
Actual: 1319-1612
Airbus A330-200 DQ-FJV ‘Island of Yasawa-i-Rara’
Gate 2 Seat 2B

Boarding the A330 Business Class
Boarding the A330 Business Class

Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330 are all configured similarly like Singapore Airlines’ A330 that services the regional routes. This means an angled flat seating that is acceptable for flights of between 3-6 hours. Bulkhead seats naturally have the most spacious layout as all the other seats have a recess in the front seat for your leg and that the foot well can be slightly restrictive when the seat is in an angled flat mode. But the bulkhead seats means less storage space and the screen can be a bit far for optimal viewing. Since we had the bulkhead seats last time around, I picked seats in the second row for this flight.

Bulkhead row view
Bulkhead row view
Angle-flat seats in Business Class
Angle-flat seats in Business Class

On reaching my seat, a pillow and blanket was already on the seat. As I placed my hand carried luggage overhead,
I got seated by the window while my friend took the aisle seat. A divider can be raised in between the seats for privacy if required.

Business class seat
Business class seat
Divider on the seat
Divider between the seat

Other items found on the seatback pocket includes a pair of over-the-ear headphones that does the job somewhat and still better than the flimsy headphones in Economy class. Though they are nowhere near a Bose or Bang & Olufsen headphone in terms of quality. Beneath the armrest, there are also Fiji-branded bottled water for personal consumption during the flight.

View of 1A
View of 1A

Crew came around with semi hot towels first which seems like they did not bother to heat up the towel properly considering it was winter and cold in New Zealand.

Hot towel service
Hot towel service

After more people got settled inside the cabin, the crew came around with trays to offer a Fijian rum cocktail, fruit punch mocktail or water.

Fijian fruit punch and cocktail
Fijian fruit punch and cocktail

Menu was first distributed to all the Business class passengers before newspapers were brought out and offered around the cabin. Immigration forms to enter Fiji was also offered to passengers who needs them.

Menu cover
Menu cover
Newspaper
Newspaper and immigration form

With that done, the boarding took a while more as I noticed a full flight in the Business Class cabin. It seems that a full flight has provided some upgrades to a few lucky passengers.

Legroom of the seat
Legroom of the seat

I took the time to peruse the entertainment system as I pondered what to watch during this flight. Fiji Airways does have a limited inflight entertainment offering though at least the system works and has a pretty simple interface for easy navigation.

Welcome onboard screen
Welcome onboard screen

Once the boarding was completed, the captain made a welcome announcement and the safety demonstration was conducted as the plane made a pullback. As always on Fiji Airways, the crew made a check around the cabin to store bags overhead and ensure safety procedures are followed. The crew here is indeed stringent on the safety rules and regulations so do ensure that you take note of all the safety demonstrations.

Cathay Pacific A350 at AKL
Cathay Pacific A350 at Auckland
Emirates A380 and Cathay A350
Emirates A380 and Cathay A350

A quick taxi to the runway and we were off in no time which I consider to be still on time. As the sky cleared up in preparation for our take-off, I still managed to get some nice view of the northern coast of New Zealand.

Take-off from AKL
Take-off from AKL
Puhoi River delta
Puhoi River delta in Northern New Zealand

Drinks and meal orders were taken by the crew on both sides of the aisle once we cruised in the skies. The menu for the flight was as follow:

Seafood prologue

Meal menu

Wine and cocktail list

Drinks selection

Once the meal orders for passengers was taken, the crew came back about 10 minutes later with a ramekin of mixed crackers with salty cheese flavoring. This came with the beverage of your choice and makes for a nice snack while waiting for the rest of the meal service.

Nuts and drinks
Nuts and drinks
Mixed nuts in a bowl
Mixed nuts in a bowl

Hot towels were passed around once again after the snack service which is nice to clean your hands of the cheese bits. The first course was served on a tray but they did actually bother to add another cloth over the tray for presentation.

Garden salad
Garden salad

White, multigrain or sourdough bread was offered with the salad. Aside from the cutleries, passengers can find salt and pepper shakers, a portion of butter and the salad dressing on the tray.

Bread with the appetizer tray
Bread with the appetizer tray

The crew also proactively offered wine with the meal service in addition to other beverages that you might prefer. Passengers could also request the Fijian rum cocktail that was offered though it takes some time to prepare.

Wine service
Wine service

For the main course, I had the fish option and it was tasty enough that I did finish it even if some of the rice was a bit dry. I also felt the fish was not my favourite kind as it was not soft and flaky. In general it lacked the fattiness of cod or garoupa which I prefer.

Pan seared Wahoo with Prawn
Pan seared Wahoo with Prawn

After the main course, the crew enquired if passengers wanted to have dessert. Definitely as I never pass on dessert! I had the cheese cake and it was a nice portion that just made the meal whole. I would not have minded a bigger portion though as the main course was not that satisfying.

Pinacolada cheese cake
Pinacolada cheese cake

The meal service took up the bulk of this flight and with the conclusion of that, I reclined my seat into the angled flat mode to get some rest.

Storage space
Storage space
Seat controls
Seat controls

Cabin lights were dimmed and the ambient lights turned on so that it was cosy enough for a nap.

Ambient lighting
Ambient lighting

However I only managed probably a 30 minute nap before the crew came around the cabin to offer chocolates as a form of thanks for flying with Fiji Airways. This service also indicated the start of our descent into Nadi.

Whittaker's chocolate
Whittaker’s chocolate

For some reason the grey clouds followed us into Nadi and we were greeted with a cloudy and rainy evening in Fiji. Definitely not what I was expecting since I was looking forwards to some sunshine in a tropical resort. While there was some turbulence, it was a quick landing so that was uneventful. A short taxi and we were parked in no time though we still did arrive somewhat behind schedule. During disembarkation, the crew held off the Economy class cabin to allow those in the front to disembark first.

Business class cabin
Business class cabin on disembarkation

Once out of the plane, we head straight for the immigration which is a wise choice as it would end up taking some time even though the queue was not that long. For some reason, the Fijians does things really slowly as it can be seen from their push for ‘Fiji time’. At least they had some musicians for those waiting in line at the back for immigration.

Fiji Airbus A330 Island of Yasawa-i-Rara
Fiji Airbus A330 Island of Yasawa-i-Rara

Anyway after getting my passport stamp, it was time to wait for our luggage. And after collecting our luggage, there was the screening process. My luggage was flagged which I believed was due to my ski boots which receive some detailed check on the soles for foreign particles. I do have to say the additional security check was a big mess as the staff handed me to wait in line without any explanation and the staff doing the additional checks seems to have no clue either some of the time on who is next in line. This experience definitely did not give me the best impression of Fiji as a travel destination.

Arrivals with musician
Arrivals with musician
Baggage claim
Baggage claim

While the flight went off without a hitch, the arrival experience in Fiji was poor and that certainly mars the trip a bit. Other than that, I do believe Fiji Airways tries to offer a premium service as best as possible. It is only being pulled back by the lack of logistical support in its home airport! They certainly need to upgrade the arrivals experience for Premium passengers or else I would probably not encourage a visit to this destination.

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