Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean comprised of approximately 300 islands. It is a bucket list destination for many, due to its postcard-perfect travel ads with photos of pristine beaches, aqua lagoons, and coral reefs brimming with sea life. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Fiji and share our experience flying with Fiji Airways in business class on their A350 from Los Angeles to Nadi.
We flew from YVR – Vancouver to SEA – Seattle, then onwards to LAX – Los Angeles with Alaska Airlines before boarding the Fiji Airways A350 from LAX – Los Angeles to NAN – Nadi Fiji.
For the return trip, we flew from NAN – Nadi to LAX – Los Angeles on Fiji Airways and then booked an Air Canada flight from LAX – Los Angeles to YVR – Vancouver.
For the LAX to NAN, each flight segment was approximately 10.5 hours flying with Fiji Airways. Overall, we were delighted with the flight and service. Fiji Airways schedules their flights to maximize travel time: we left Los Angeles at 23:55 and arrived in Fiji at 06:00 in the morning. Our return trip was a 21:40 departure from Nadi and we landed in Los Angeles at 13:00. This made it easy to find connecting flights. Fiji Airways is launching a flight service from YVR – Vancouver to NAN – Nadi and we highly recommend considering that option as well if you are travelling from Canada.
If you are traveling to Fiji from Australia and New Zealand, there are many flight options. Fiji Airways is your best bet for a stopover in Fiji though.
We booked our flights on Fiji Airways using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan points to fly business class on the A350. It was not easy to find the availability to book this but if you want some tips and help, reach out directly to us.
A couple of weeks before our trip, Fiji reduced some COVID entry protocols, notably the mandatory antigen test within 3 days of arrival at your resort. When we traveled, all we had to show was proof of vaccination (2 doses of a vaccine approved by Fiji). No booster is required. We also needed to show proof of medical insurance in case we got sick with COVID and needed medical care. We printed a copy of our employer-sponsored medical insurance that lists coverage due to COVID. More information is available on the official Fiji government website.
These documents were shown at the gate prior to boarding. Make sure to arrive to the gate about 30 minutes prior to boarding to show your documents if you did not check-in in person at LAX.
Since our point of departure was YVR – Vancouver, we were hoping Alaska Airlines would issue boarding passes for the Fiji Airways flights as well as the Alaska Airlines arrive in a terminal at LAX that is connected to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, where the Fiji Airways flight was departing from.
Some people commented that this was not possible and some blogs mention that but we were able to get our Fiji Airways boarding passes issued to avoid leaving the secure area in Los Angeles. Leaving the secure area would have been very inconvenient as the Fiji Airways desk only opens 3 hours before flight departure, so 20:55, in our case. Fiji Airways does not participate in TSA Pre-check either, which could have led to a long wait for airport security.
At YVR – Vancouver, we did not have access to any lounges but would have access to the Plaza Premium US Departures Lounge if it had re-opened. The Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (US Departures) has reopened after being closed for over 2.5 years and we will post our review soon.
At SEA – Seattle Tacoma, we had access to all the Alaska Airlines Lounges as we purchased a membership.
At LAX – Los Angeles, we had access to a few lounges:
- American Express Centurion
- Star Alliance Lounge
- OneWorld Lounge
We visited the American Express Centurion Lounge and did not have to wait for entry but the lounge was super crowded and had a very strange layout. Overall, the food selection was decent but the buffet area was very small and very crowded as it was close to where people lined up for the bar. We found it difficult to walk in the lounge and finding a glass of water was difficult too as they closed off the self-serve non-alcoholic beverage area.
We decided to spend all our time at the Star Alliance Lounge because of the outdoor seating. This lounge was also at full capacity and crowded but we found outdoor seating fairly quickly. The lounge also started to get quieter around 21:30 when many of the flights to Australia departed. The shower rooms were open and available and we waited about 30 minutes to get access. True story: a man came out of the shower and asked the shower attendants to call his flights as they had started boarding and he was worried to miss it! There was a decent selection of food at the lunge, snacks, salads, and a noodle bar. The bar had a selection of cocktails and craft beer but they were short-staffed and so you had to wait a while for service. Wine and non-alcoholic beverages were all self-serve.
At NAN – Nadi Fiji, we had access to the Fiji Airways Lounge. Fiji Airways considers this their flagship lounge and it’s pretty nice. The lounge has ample seating although it does seem a little cramped at times and you may end up sitting with people you don’t know. They have a children’s play area that is very popular: it’s more or less a floor-to-ceiling windowed room with adequate soundproofing to allow children to be as loud and rambunctious as they wish. They have a shower room that you can be put on a waitlist for and nice washrooms that are cleaned frequently. As for the food, it is a self-serve buffet with a Fijian snack cart, salads, dips, and entrees. They offer a bar service for non-alcoholic fountain drinks, beer, wine, cocktails, and hard alcohol. The lounge appears to be located on a lower level of the airport and offers no views. We found it quite cold and recommend wearing a sweater or packing a blanket.
Overall, everything was great and we won’t go into as much detail as in other reviews. The seat and bedding were comfortable: the seat itself reminded us of an Air Canada Signature Class seat but we liked the Fiji Airways one better. It felt newer, the bedding was nicer, and had better features, like the air vents. We were seated in the last 2 rows of the cabin and found it very quiet as the three lavatories were at the front and the Flight Attendants were pretty quiet during the food preparation.
We really appreciated the service and found it to be well-managed. During boarding, we were offered champagne, juice, or water. Shortly after, menus and breakfast cards were distributed. Prior to take-off, we had submitted our meal orders, including what we wanted for our 1st and 2nd drinks, in case we wanted to switch to something else. The breakfast card was also similar: you could choose what you wanted to have as soon as you woke up and other drinks after, along with breakfast. Offering the service this way is great as you don’t have to take your headphones off to order.
The food was really good and well presented. We had the veggie curry and the shrimp starter, and a coconut pudding for dessert. As for the breakfast, the omelet was excellent: it has fresh vegetables and avocado. Airplane eggs, like Air Canada’s unpalatable omelet, are often disappointing but this one was not, it was delectable.
As for the bar offerings, they had champagne, a couple of white and red wine options, and some hard alcohol options. Fiji water was also plentiful on board.
We enjoyed our flights and trip to Fiji very much and would do this again, if the opportunity was available. Hopefully, some of the information in this brief review is helpful to help you plan your flights and associated details. We have more tips to visit here in our post “Planning a Trip to Fiji: 12 Tips” and more information about the new Fiji Airways flight service from Vancouver. We also have more photos and videos posted on Instagram. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!