After a brief stay in Samoa and a brief flight back to Nadi, I had to make my way to Los Angeles. The cheapest and best option was to fly Fiji Airways from Nadi to Los Angeles on their A330 in business class. I wanted to try Fiji Airways’ A330 business class and this seemed like a great opportunity to earn some American Airlines miles as well.
When I checked in, the flight was scheduled to be operated by an A330-300. Instead, the flight was operated on an A330-200. This ended up working out well for business class since it made the entire experience more exclusive and private. I boarded first with other business class passengers. Upon boarding, I was directed to my seat in the far aisle of business class: 1K.
Fiji Airways has a great cabin design on their aircraft!
The A330-200 ends up with business class taking all the space between doors one and two while on the A330-300, there are two rows of economy class behind business class. However, in both configurations, there are two lavatories by the boarding door and one lavatory at the front of the plane. This means that, on the A330-200, the passenger to bathroom ratio is much better for business class passengers.
Since Fiji Airways is more of a leisure airline, their 2-2-2 configuration makes sense as it gives passengers the chance to enjoy the trip with a companion. If you’re like me, however, and flying alone, there is a privacy partition that does a good job.
I stowed my belongings in the relatively small overhead bins and made my way to my seat where I found a thin blanket, a pillow, and an amenity kit waiting for me.
The amenity kit was fairly light and did not include as many amenities as I would have expected. I was very disappointed by the fact that there was no pen available in the amenity kit as we did have to fill out a few forms during the flight. The same headphones as my previous flights with Fiji Airways were provided.
I settled in and was presented with a pre-departure beverage. I chose the Fiji Airways signature cocktail with Fiji Rum Liqueur Rare, Fiji Rum Coconut Liqueur, lemon syrup, ginger ale, and a slice of lemon.
After that, menus were passed out. Here was the menu and drink list for our flight to Los Angeles:
We were also given a breakfast card to fill out.
Shortly after, we began our pushback and taxi to the runway. Since we were the only flight departing at the time, our taxi was quick and we were cleared for takeoff for our 10-hour and 37-minute flight to Los Angeles.
The entertainment selection on this flight was dismal. Unlike their 737 MAX aircraft, Fiji Airways has a bit of an older system on their A330s. There were just under 40 movie options and a similar number of TV shows which ranged from having 2 to 8 episodes per show. The screens could be operated by remote control.
Shortly before the meal service, my screen glitched and stopped working. There was no response from the remote control and the screen was stuck in announcement mode. After calling a crewmember, my screen was reset and did not give me any problems for the rest of the flight.
About forty minutes after takeoff, I was presented with a glass of champagne and some salty snacks.
Nearly an hour after takeoff, my tray table was set and the dinner was served. Being an a la carte style option, I asked for the soup, fresh fruit, beef, and cheesecake for dessert. However, I was informed that only one starter, either the fruit or soup, could be chosen. I went with the soup.
Everything was extremely hot. Even the flight attendant had difficulty carrying my tray. I waited for a bit while everything cooled down. I munched on the bread selection, which was fresh and pleasant. From there, I started with the soup. The soup was fabulous and tasted fresh. The seasoning was also a nice touch.
The main meal, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. There was very little flavor and even after emptying the salt and pepper onto the dish, it still couldn’t even come close to the meals I’ve had on previous Fiji Airways flights. That being said, it was good for a late night meal. Should I do this flight again, I would repeat the same process I did for this flight. I ate a light meal in the lounge and ate the light meal on-board for a complete dining experience. Meal service was preceded and succeeded by a hot towel service. About two hours after takeoff (and a fair number of champagne refills later!) I was ready to sleep. The cabin lights were dimmed and I reclined my seat to the bed position through the simple seat controls.
Fiji Airways has angled-flat seats. I would guess they are 160-170 degree angled. While not a terrible slope, it could be uncomfortable for those who are sensitive. Had I not been exhausted by the late hour and my excursions during the day, I would have had some difficulty sleeping.
The other thing was how uncomfortably padded the seat was. It was harder than the recent seat I had in Delta One’s 777 Herringbone, and even harder than the Premium Economy seat I flew to Auckland in. A mattress pad would have gone a long way for this flight. Passengers were, however, given a nice, thick duvet that came in handy.
After extending the privacy partition, the seat felt like a nice cocoon and it was more private than other seats given how there were no passengers in front of me or anyone towering over me. The galley was curtained off and did not shed a lot of light or noise through the cabin.
I slept for a solid three hours before I woke up shivering. The cabin temperature had significantly decreased and I was freezing. Based on previous flights with Fiji Airways and reports from friends, Fiji Airways tends to keep their cabins at a warm temperature. Not on this flight. I had to pile on the smaller blanket I had before flight under my duvet.
I also decided it would be beneficial to change into some pants for a more comfortable sleeping experience. This is where being in the bulkhead was nice. There seemed to be slightly more legroom than other rows which made it easier to get out of my seat without disturbing my seatmate. However, when I went to the lavatory to change, I found that it was downright disgusting. The floor was completely wet and the toilet was in abhorrent condition. I decided against changing and returned to my seat and tried to sleep again. I ended up getting a couple more hours of sleep before waking up 3 hours out of Los Angeles.
Shortly after waking up, I was presented with some drinks and a hot towel. I had pre-ordered a glass of champagne and a wake-up infusion drink of green tea and watermelon juice.
With my main meal, I had ordered a cup of coffee which arrived hot, though seemed to have more of an instant-coffee taste.
Flight attendants came around and set our tray tables up for the main meal. First, we were presented with some starters. I had chosen some fresh fruit and a croissant
The fresh fruit consisted of pineapples, kiwi, and papaya. Personally, I am not a fan of papaya or kiwi, but these are common fruits in Fiji and it was nice to see them onboard. The pineapple did feel and taste fresh. The croissant was an airplane croissant and highly unmemorable.
For my main, I had ordered the waffles. The waffles tasted soggy and seemed like they were cooked and reheated multiple times before serving. While breakfast was nothing special, I will admit that I generally do not like breakfast on an airplane. Breakfast is not the most innovative meal and I try to avoid breakfast flights for that reason. Fiji Airways had an excellent presentation but did miss out on some quality points with the waffle and croissant.
The crew was pleasant when I interacted with them. They were quick to respond to call buttons. It seemed like they were more interested in conducting the service and completing it on time rather than providing for passengers. They went through the motions with a smile, but not with enthusiasm. They were, however, very proactive and generous with drink refills. So, while the crew was not overly enthusiastic on this late-night redeye, they were efficient and organized.
Once breakfast was cleared, we prepared the cabin for landing about 1 hour out of Los Angeles. We touched down about 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
This was not the best flight in the world, but it was also not the worst flight in the world.
That being said, there are some places for improvement. If Fiji Airways could serve meals on this flight to the same quality as they did on my flights to Samoa, then they would definitely get two thumbs up from me on this flight. In addition, a mattress pad would have been handy in making the seat more comfortable for sleeping. Next time, I will definitely make sure to wear pants since the cabin can become incredibly cold!
For a last minute business class ticket booked about three or four days before departure, at just over $2,100 roundtrip, this was a fantastic deal. Given how Fiji Airways consistently has excellent pricing in business class on these flights, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again. In fact, I would choose Fiji Airways over Air New Zealand. Fiji Airways has the option for a more private, in my opinion, flying experience in business class or a good travel memory if you are with someone. Compared to Air New Zealand’s herringbone business class, Fiji Airways’ window seats offer a fair bit of privacy and made for an excellent hop across the Pacific for a solo leisure trip.
Have you flown Fiji Airways Business Class before? Would you like to fly with them? Let us know in the comments!