Fiji Airways is offering a tempting little treat for locals who’ve missed taking to the skies. This weekend, the Nadi-based airline is running a three-hour flight to nowhere using one of its slick new A350-900XWB planes. It looks like a mighty fine way to spend the morning.
There’s a serious purpose behind this scenic flight
It’s not just a matter of rolling a plane up to the gate at Nadi and stacking it with passengers. There’s a serious purpose behind this flight. Fiji Airways is getting ready to resume international flying, and it wants to test its own level of preparedness in a markedly changed flying environment.
“Like you, we’ve missed taking to the skies!” Fiji Airways says in a media statement.
“As we prepare for the resumption of flights in the near future, we are launching a special Travel Ready flight onboard our brand new Airbus A350. This to ensure that when borders do open, we’re confident of our level of preparedness for flights.”
The A350 will push back from Nadi at 10:30 local time on Saturday, November 21. The flight will return at 13:15 local time. The asking price is surprisingly reasonable, with economy class fares at about US$72 and business class fares at approximately $167. That’s not a bad price for three hours sitting back in one of Fiji Airway’s up-to-the-minute Collins Aerospace ‘Super Diamond’ business class seats.
No matter where you are seated, cabin service won’t be the full-on I’m flying to Los Angeles experience. Rather, it’s going to be more like Fiji Airways short-haul international flights, with a streamlined food and beverage service. What probably won’t get streamlined is the sunny vibes and happy attitude you always get from the Fiji Airways crew.
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An opportunity to test Fiji Airway’s Travel Ready program
From the perspective of Fiji Airways, Saturday’s flight is not a joy flight. The airline has had its Travel Ready program underway for some time now. That means passengers need to bring their own face masks to the airport, wear them there, and onboard the plane. Passengers are expected to physically distance while seated around the airport and in queues. In addition, there will also be temperature testing.
“Flying has changed since the beginning of 2020,” Fiji Airways warns passengers. Onboard, several airline officials and various stakeholders will observe certain elements of the flight.
“This flight is also an opportunity for Fiji Airways and stakeholders (including the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services) to test some actions under Travel Ready,” says the media statement.
“There may be ‘controlled-environment scenario testing’ around the flight, which isn’t likely to have a major impact on other customers.”
If this sounds a bit of a downer, you can recover afterward in a rather nice resort on Denarau Island. For $113 per person, you can stay overnight, fill up on the free breakfast, and take the flight. That’s vastly cheaper than some of the scenic overnight flight deals local competitor airlines are offering.
Now the bad news, Fiji’s borders remain closed to virtually all non-citizens, so unless you are already there, this isn’t a scenic flight you can book. More’s the pity.