I had a blast spending a week in the South and North Island of New Zealand. I found the cities boring, but the countryside is quite remarkable. During my journey, I wrote down all the things I learned and the things I would do differently when I revisit New Zealand in the future. Anyway, I will write a separate post about my first impression of New Zealand.
In this series:
- Introduction: New Year 2020 In The South Pacific
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Istanbul to Manila
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Manila to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Satellite Terminal – Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL)
- Jewel Changi Airport
- Qantas International First Lounge – Singapore Changi (SIN)
- Qantas First Class A380 Singapore to Melbourne
- Qantas International First Lounge – Melbourne (MEL)
- Qantas Business Class 737-800 Melbourne to Christchurch
- Doubletree Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, New Zealand
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Tour Around the City
- Getting Lost in the Countryside: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
- Air New Zealand (Premium) Economy 787-9 Christchurch to Auckland
- My First Impression of Auckland, New Zealand
- Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart, New Zealand
- The North Island Must Do: Hobbiton and Rotorua
- Fiji Airways Business Class A350-900XWB Auckland to Nadi
- Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa – Nadi, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Business Class A330-200 Nadi to Singapore
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Malindo Air Business Class 737-900 Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu
- Shopping Spree in Thamel – Kathmandu, Nepal
- Cathay Dragon Business Class A330-300 Kathmandu to Hong Kong
- 16-Hour Delay on my American Airlines, with a Happy Ending
- Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to Los Angeles
- Fin: Final Flights and My Closure with American Airlines – It was Good While It Lasted
There is a separate lane for premium passengers as well as Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, as Fiji Airways recently joined Oneworld as a Oneworld Connect member.
Fiji Airways at Auckland Airport uses Qantas International Business Lounge, which I will also review on a separate post. After having some delicious Thai Red Beef Curry at the lounge, I headed to my gate. My flight that day departed out of gate 5.
Flight Number: FJ410
Route: Auckland (AKL) – Nadi (NAN)
Schedule: 13:55 – 16:45
Duration: 2h 50m
Aircraft Type: Airbus A350-900XWB
Cabin: Business Class
Date: January 3, 2020
To give a little background, I booked this flight months ago. The initial aircraft assignment was Boeing 737 MAX. As you know, the MAX planes won’t be flying anytime soon. It was then switched to a leased aircraft from Miami Air, which didn’t even feature a business class cabin — ugh! But then a few months ago, I noticed there was another equipment swap. When I looked at the aircraft type, my jaw dropped! Now I was scheduled to fly on the brand new A350-900XWB named Island of Vanua Levu that Fiji Airways recently took delivery of! That’s why I couldn’t be more excited — I had been looking forward to reviewing this flight!
Let’s cut through the chase.
I boarded through door 1L and was greeted by a friendly flight attendant. I love the new plane smell!
Initially, I had the bulkhead seat on the right side of the plane. But I changed my mind and re-assigned my seat to 20K, the last row in the business class cabin. I thought it’s a better view for taking photos of the cabin.
Fiji Airways A350 planes are equipped with reverse herringbone Super Diamond seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
I do love the finish, and it looks much better than the rendering on the internet. Unlike most airlines, the seat is entirely wrapped with off-white leather. It reminds me of seats in luxury cars.
Waiting on my seat are pillow and blanket, as well as a booklet explaining how to operate the seat controls.
While the purser greeted me at the door was friendly, the flight attendant working on my aisle was even more friendly, charming, and enthusiastic.
Once settled in, the flight attendant offered a pre-departure beverage. The options were champagne and sparkling drinks; I had the latter.
Even though many airlines have opted to install Super Diamond seats, the version installed on this aircraft is the newer version.
As you can see, the IFE controller looks very similar to an android phone, and it even has a camera — I think.
The screen is very responsive and has a high resolution, especially when showing the camera view.
The footwell is decent. It’s not as spacious as some of the older configurations, but it’s quite comfortable.
Great news for hot-natured folks — there are individual air nozzles on every seat!
The scheduled departure time was delayed for an hour due to the late arrival of the inbound flight. After the door closed, the flight was delayed further due to Air Traffic Control clearance for push back. That said, I wouldn’t mind enjoying my time inside this awesome plane.
Twenty minutes later, we finally pushed back and took off shortly after. It was such a perfect day for flying.
Five minutes after take-off, the seatbelt sign was turned off, and the crews started preparing lunch service.
It took about 50 minutes until the appetizer was served, and there was only one option to choose from.
For the main course, I ordered the grilled fish — seared wall fillet, served with white wine cream sauce, green pea studded risotto, and roasted pumpkin wedge.
While it was a decent dish, the flavor wasn’t unique enough for my taste bud. Personally, I would expect something more exotic and spicy.
To finish, I had the cream tart — vanilla-scented whipped cream cheese filling in a sweet pastry case.
Overall it was a good quality meal, especially for a short flight, but it was a bit on the plain side. I also had a chance to check out the lavatory, which is clean and stocked with Pure Fiji toiletries.
Other than that it was an uneventful flight, but the view from my window for the remainder of the flight was spectacular.
Before landing, the flight attendants walked around the cabin to collect the headphones.
Moments later, we touched down in Nadi. Upon arrival, I was able to get a few shots of the plane as the terminal is partially outdoor.
What a beautiful bird!
Fiji Airways’ brand new A350 was such a joy to ride! The business class cabin is elegant and beautiful. The white leather seats are something you’ll see in a luxury sports car. I’m so glad I had a chance to fly this magnificent bird.
Overall, the service was great, and I was addressed by my last-name the entire flight. The flight attendant working on my aisle was very friendly. I love it when I see the crews are enthusiastic because it sets the tone of how good a flight would be.
The quality of the food was good, but the food itself was a bit bland. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Fiji Airways again, especially on a long haul flight on A350 aircraft.