Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 (NAN-AKL)

Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 (NAN-AKL)

FROM: NAN
TO: AKL
CABIN: Business
DATE: September 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: While Fiji Airways' A330 business class hard product leaves a bit to be desired, everything else about the experience was great, in particular the friendly service.
16

After flying Fiji Airways’ A350 business class from Los Angeles to Nadi, and then checking out the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge Nadi, it was time to fly Fiji Airways’ A330 business class from Nadi to Auckland.

Back in the day, the A330 was Fiji Airways’ biggest plane. While it offers a great experience for a short daytime flight, I’d rather not fly this on a long haul.

How I booked my Fiji Airways business class ticket

redeemed Alaska Mileage Plan miles for my Fiji Airways business class ticket. Specifically, I booked the following for 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles $60.60 in taxes and fees:

9/18 FJ811 Los Angeles to Nadi departing 11:55PM arriving 5:45AM (+2 days)
9/20 FJ411 Nadi to Auckland departing 8:30AM arriving 11:40AM

I was excited about this, as my first flight would be operated by an A350, while my second flight would be operated by an A330, so I could review both of the carrier’s long haul aircraft types.

It’s worth noting that historically Fiji Airways has been pretty stingy with award availability, but in August there was a brief period where the airline opened the floodgates of award space, making it easy to snag business class awards.

Fiji Airways Nadi lounge & boarding

In the previous installment I reviewed the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge Nadi. After enjoying some time there, I headed to gate eight, where my flight to Auckland would be departing from. Boarding was scheduled for 7:45AM, 45 minutes before departure, and sure enough that’s exactly when boarding started. Business class passengers were invited to board first.

Fiji Airways departure gate Nadi Airport (NAN)

After having my boarding pass scanned, I walked along an open-air corridor, and then down the jet bridge to the A330.

Fiji Airways Airbus A330 Nadi Airport (NAN)

Fiji Airways A330 business class cabin & seats

I boarded through the second set of doors, and turned left into the business class cabin. Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330-200s have a total of 24 business class seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

These are angled business class seats, so suffice it to say that the A350 offers a massively improved business class hard product. It really is amazing how far business class seats have come over the years, because at one point this was a cutting edge product.

That also presents a challenge with reviewing this product. For a sub-three hour daytime flight, this was more than sufficient. Meanwhile for an 11-hour overnight flight, I’d be less jazzed about these seats.

Fiji Airways A330 business class cabin
Fiji Airways business class cabin A330

Fiji Airways’ A330 business class seats feature 60″ of pitch, so they’re very spacious for just lounging, but less comfortable when sleeping.

Fiji Airways A330 business class seats

I had assigned myself seat 4A, the window seat in the last row of the cabin on the left. 4B, the aisle seat next to me, stayed empty.

Fiji Airways business class seats A330
Fiji Airways business class seat A330

The seatback had a fixed 15.4″ screen. Underneath that were two small storage compartments, which could be fully opened or closed. There were also literature pockets and bottle cubbies between the two screens.

Fiji Airways business class seatback A330
Fiji Airways business class seat storage A330

The center console had two areas where you could place glasses, and the tray tables also extended from the center section.

Fiji Airways business class center console A330

The tray tables are a good size, but also can’t be folded in half or moved around much.

Fiji Airways business class tray table A330

Behind the center armrest was a privacy partition that could be extended, in case you’re seated next to a stranger.

Fiji Airways business class privacy partition A330

Underneath the area with the tray tables were the power outlets, including an AC and USB option.

Fiji Airways business class power outlets A330

Also between seats was an exposed storage area, where you could place bottled water, a phone, etc.

Fiji Airways business class seat storage A330

The far armrest had the seat and entertainment controls. The seat controls were easy to use, and you could either choose from four seat pre-sets, or you could just adjust specific parts of the seat.

Fiji Airways business class seat controls A330

The overhead consoles had reading lights, but didn’t have individual air nozzles. This is another big advantage of the A350, as Fiji Airways has individual air nozzles on those planes.

Fiji Airways business class overhead console A330

The overhead bins as such were a pretty good size.

Fiji Airways business class overhead bins A330

As far as lavatories go, the A330-200 only has one lavatory at the front of the cabin, right by the cockpit. There were also two lavatories behind the cabin, but those were available to economy passengers, so often had a line. The forward lavatory remained clean throughout the flight, but had limited amenities.

Fiji Airways business class lavatory A330
Fiji Airways business class lavatory amenities A330

Fiji Airways business class amenities

As you’d expect for a short daytime flight lasting under three hours, there weren’t amenity kits or proper bedding on this flight. There was a pillow and blanket at each seat — the pillow was good, while the blanket was basic.

Fiji Airways business class pillow & blanket

There were also the same pair of noise canceling headphones as on the last flight, which weren’t that good.

Fiji Airways business class headphones

After settling in, I was offered my choice of a pre-departure glass of champagne or orange juice. I selected the former, and also downed the bottle of FIJI water that was waiting at my seat.

Fiji Airways business class pre-departure drink

Later in the boarding process I was offered a warm towel.

Fiji Airways business class warm towel

Then shortly before departure I was offered the menu for the flight.

Fiji Airways business class menu

Fiji Airways A330 departure from Nadi

While economy was full on this flight, business class was only two-thirds full, with 16 of the 24 seats taken. In the fourth row, only the far window seat was otherwise occupied, so I had a lot of space to myself. At around 8:25AM the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 2hr55min, and our cruising attitude of 39,000 feet.

At 8:40AM the main cabin door closed, and a moment later we began our pushback (that plane next to us was the A350 that flew me from Los Angeles). At this point the safety video was screened.

Pushing back Nadi Airport (NAN)

We started our taxi at 8:45AM, and less than five minutes later we were at runway 20.

Taxiing Nadi Airport (NAN)

We actually lined up on the runway and had to wait for the crew to finish their safety checks, as the taxi was that quick. Fortunately Nadi Airport is pretty quiet, so waiting on the runway for a couple of minutes isn’t an issue.

Taking off Nadi Airport (NAN)

We had a powerful takeoff, and a steep climb out of Nadi. I really do want to return to Fiji again soon, as it’s such a beautiful place.

View after takeoff from Nadi Airport (NAN)
View after takeoff from Nadi Airport (NAN)

The seatbelt sign was turned off five minutes after takeoff.

Fiji Airways A330 entertainment & Wi-Fi

Fiji Airways’ entertainment system on the A330 isn’t as good as the one on the A350, though it’s still pretty decent.

Fiji Airways entertainment system A330
Fiji Airways entertainment system A330

There were roughly 90 movies and 45 TV shows, though there were multiple episodes of some shows.

Fiji Airways entertainment system A330

I ended up watching some episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that I hadn’t seen on the previous flight.

Fiji Airways entertainment system A330

The entertainment system also had a map feature, which wasn’t quite as interactive as on the A350.

Fiji Airways entertainment system A330
Fiji Airways entertainment system A330

Boy, I’d really love to explore more of the South Pacific, and in particular there are some cool airlines in the region.

Fiji Airways entertainment system A330
Fiji Airways entertainment system A330

Unfortunately Fiji Airways’ A330s don’t have Wi-Fi, unlike the A350s.

Fiji Airways A330 business class meal

Since this was a morning flight, breakfast was the only meal being served. After takeoff, the crew closed the window shades throughout the cabin. Personally I prefer to keep them open, but I guess many people were connecting off a long haul flight, and wanted more sleep.

Fiji Airways business class cabin A330

Below you can find the menu and drink list for the flight.

Fiji Airways business class menu
Fiji Airways business class breakfast menu
Fiji Airways business class drink list
Fiji Airways business class drink list

I appreciated the pace at which service started. I was offered my first drink 25 minutes after takeoff. I ordered a cup of coffee — I believe Fiji Airways uses instant coffee, though it was oddly tasty.

Fiji Airways business class coffee

I wasn’t particularly hungry, so I went with the continental breakfast option. For that matter, I didn’t want a second airplane omelet in one day, and I also didn’t want anything as sweet as the waffles. Breakfast was served around 40 minutes after takeoff.

Fiji Airways business class breakfast

The fruit plate as such was pretty good, and had pineapple, watermelon, orange, grapes, and papaya.

Fiji Airways business class breakfast

There was also a yogurt parfait with some granola and fruit compote.

Fiji Airways business class breakfast

The meal service was done around an hour into the flight, but the crew was constantly through the cabin to check if anyone wanted anything.

Map feature enroute to New Zealand
Map feature enroute to New Zealand

Later in the flight there was a snack basket with a couple of types of chips, plus more water.

Fiji Airways business class snacks

Fiji Airways A330 business class bed

I tried to doze off for the last portion of this flight. So, just how uncomfortable is Fiji Airways’ A330 business class seat for sleeping? Well, pretty uncomfortable, if you ask me. It’s not even that the seat is angled and flat, but rather the footrest is at a different angle than the rest of the seat, so this isn’t ideal for us side sleepers.

Fiji Airways business class seat reclined A330
Fiji Airways business class seat reclined A330
Fiji Airways business class seat reclined A330

Ultimately I’d only be able to sleep in these seats if I were really tried, though admittedly I’m not a great airplane sleeper to begin with.

Fiji Airways business class service

Fijians in general are incredibly friendly, and I can’t say enough good things about this crew. All the flight attendants, and in particular the purser, were simply oozing with personality. Since I sat right in front of the main cabin door, I heard the genuine friendliness and enthusiasm with which each passenger was greeted, and that positive energy continued throughout the flight.

Fiji Airways consistently has great service, but this crew was stellar.

Fiji Airways A330 arrival in Auckland

At 11:15AM local time the captain announced that we’d soon be descending, and should be landing in around 30 minutes.

Map feature enroute to New Zealand

The crew passed out arrival cards for New Zealand, and the purser also came by to each business class passenger to thank them for flying with Fiji Airways.

New Zealand landing card

The views on approach to Auckland were simply stunning, even though it wasn’t the nicest day outside.

View approaching Auckland Airport (AKL)
View approaching Auckland Airport (AKL)
View approaching Auckland Airport (AKL)
View approaching Auckland Airport (AKL)
View approaching Auckland Airport (AKL)

We touched down in Auckland at 11:45AM.

Landing Auckland Airport (AKL)

From there it was a short five minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we pulled in at 11:50AM, 10 minutes behind schedule.

Taxiing Auckland Airport (AKL)
Arrival gate Auckland Airport (AKL)

I headed straight for immigration, which was a breeze. Symbolically there was something exciting to me about entering New Zealand the same as it was pre-pandemic, given just how locked down the country was until recently.

Bottom line

Fiji Airways is such a lovely little airline. While Fiji Airways’ A330 business class hard product leaves quite a bit to be desired on a long haul flight, it was a pleasant product for a flight like this. The crew on this Fiji Airways flight was so friendly, the food was good, and the entertainment was solid. Fiji Airways really is a great way to fly between the United States and the South Pacific.

If you’ve flown Fiji Airways’ A330 business class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (16)
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  1. Bols59 New Member

    You have a talented eye for photography. I'm not a beaches kind of oik (London in February is my go to climate), but the images of the water and the beaches are stunning.

  2. Jeremy Guest

    Are these seats similar to what Air Tahiti Nui had on their A340s (the new business class for that plane)? I found those seats surprisingly good for an angled seat on my way to Tahiti in 2015, though the old J seats on the way back were awful. Sleeping on the newer seat was actually doable.

    Also I love seeing Survivor on their IFE as I’ve been a fan since season two 20 years ago. They have filmed exclusively in Fiji for the past 7 years.

  3. Seth Guest

    How was entry into New Zealand in terms of Covid requirements?

  4. Seth Guest

    How was into New Zealand in terms of Covid requirements?

  5. NedsKid Member

    Great review!

    Though I'm a bit disturbed by the photo of the amenities in the lavatory. It looks like hand wash and something else... the front label isn't in view, but (and the things that forever haunt me as a former manager of system aircraft appearance for an airline) that spray bottle is labeled AMS1550B. That means it's an engineering approved aircraft cleaning chemical. Common in the US this is branded as Sani-Cide and...

    Great review!

    Though I'm a bit disturbed by the photo of the amenities in the lavatory. It looks like hand wash and something else... the front label isn't in view, but (and the things that forever haunt me as a former manager of system aircraft appearance for an airline) that spray bottle is labeled AMS1550B. That means it's an engineering approved aircraft cleaning chemical. Common in the US this is branded as Sani-Cide and is used for cleaning lavatories, tray tables, etc. I wouldn't spray it on myself or get any on myself without washing it right off. Oh, it's great for marine toilets too.

  6. Chris Guest

    The menu was all Stetson, no cowboy. Fancy talk of family welcome and how Fijian is all good. The foods on offer were no different from any biz breakfast anywhere.

  7. Julia Guest

    "Underneath that were two small storage compartments, which could be fully opened or closed"

    I hope they can be closed, otherwise them having a lid is pointless...

    "The overhead bins as such were a pretty good size."

    As such? They are either overhead bins or they aren't...

    Glad the food is good, although the menu could be planned a bit better, in that why offer such a big fruit plate as a main option when it already comes as an appetizer?

    1. Alian Guest

      Yes the storage compartments below the screen can close n have a lock feature to prevent accidental release

    2. Julia Guest

      I was being sarcastic.

  8. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Aren’t these the same seats SQ had/(has?) in regional biz.?

    1. Alian Guest

      Aren’t they ex SQ planes. So they should be a330-300 not 200

    2. TravelinWilly Diamond

      My question wasn’t about the plane, it was about the seat used, NOT any specific aircraft model.

    3. John Guest

      @TravelinWilly

      Yes, SQ previously had this as their regional business class seat in their a330s. I believe they've been decommissioned from SQ for the past three years or so.

  9. S Gold

    "Unfortunately Fiji Airways’ A330s don’t have Wi-Fi, unlike the A330s."

    Typo here. Great review!

  10. Pedro Guest

    Are their A330s only used on regional routes to Australia and NZ, or do they use fly long haul to LAX?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Pedro -- Unfortunately the airline does fly these A330s to long haul destinations, including SFO and YVR.

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Julia Guest

"Underneath that were two small storage compartments, which could be fully opened or closed" I hope they can be closed, otherwise them having a lid is pointless... "The overhead bins as such were a pretty good size." As such? They are either overhead bins or they aren't... Glad the food is good, although the menu could be planned a bit better, in that why offer such a big fruit plate as a main option when it already comes as an appetizer?

1
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Pedro -- Unfortunately the airline does fly these A330s to long haul destinations, including SFO and YVR.

1
Bols59 New Member

You have a talented eye for photography. I'm not a beaches kind of oik (London in February is my go to climate), but the images of the water and the beaches are stunning.

0
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