N178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1660 posts, RR: 66 Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 27683 times:
Due to V Australia and (later) Jetstar entering Australia-Fiji market in Feb 2010, the ticket price have been reduced to very affordable level around A$400 return include tax for the 4 hour journey each way from Sydney to Nadi.
I have very limited time but the reductions in air fare have lured me to have a short vacation, a good opportunity to fly Air Pacific B747-400 one way and return on V Australia B777-300/ER. This report focuses on Air Pacific flight and its subsidery Pacific Sun Island Hopping flight.
Before departure, Air Pacific GM had kindly authorised upgrade for me and my girlfriend, which is really a nice gesture. I now looking even more to onboard their colourful B747-400.
Qantas agents handle all Air Pacific check-in and boarding process in Sydney. The gate of departure was 32.
Sydney Airport is undergoing renovation that time with more and more duty free and shops added inside the terminal.
"Island of Viti Levu" operating today's Air Pacific FJ910 flight
The boarding atmosphere is a very relaxed one, with lazy Fijian music and warm Fijian flight attendants greeting all passengers. Only Door 1L was used for boarding. I don’t like these single aerobridge gate for B747 boarding. The loads today is about 62% , with 286 passengers out of 458 capacity.
Champagne/Orange Juice/water were kindly offered. The Business class have a total of 7 rows and 28 seats. It was only half occupied. The lay out is a typical nose area (Zone A) seating, which passenger enjoy maximum viewing pleasure and privacy without much share of noise and turbulence as the backseat passengers.
We closed door for on-time departure, there were little traffic in mid-day and we rotated quickly off Rwy34L heading North and Northeast direction. All US-Pacific bound flights fly over Sydney harbour/city and track direct easterly. It was a warm and nice day in Sydney.
Qantas domestic Terminal
Banking over Sydney City and track East
Banking over Sydney City and track East
Once airborne, menu were handed out, so as a bottle of “Fiji” water and snacks. The Menu of Tabua (Business) class is a classic one as you can see here.
I like those coaster of FJ
Today’s in-flight service includes a full 4 course lunch of a starter, choices of 3 mains, dessert and cheese plate.
Snacks and drinks
Smoke Salmon for starter.
My selection of roast chicken as main.
Cheese and Tea in “FJ” tea set
After the lunch, it was time for a quick tour of the airplane. This time the purser was very enthusiastic lead my way to explore the upper deck, economy and galley.
The Air Pacific Jumbojet holds 28J and 430Y total of 458 pax .
DQ-FJL is ex Singapore Airlines and Ansett Australia. The upper deck have Economy seating.
Upper deck Economy seating, only few smart passenger seated here on the flight.
Cruising the Pacific Ocean at FL 390
I took photos with cabin crew with my “Hawaiian” shirt during my cabin tour.
After my tour, I return to my seat and took an hour power nap. I didn’t explore the IFE although I understand it have a few channels run on video tapes in a loop. There is also a standard in-flight airmap channel.
We start the descend when the main land of Fiji view came through the window, it was around 6:30pm and with the soothing “Fijian” music playing through the cabin, the landing is a 100% relax one. It was perfect when you sit back, relax and enjoy the view of Fiji islands, the wave of ocean from your window and the music in the B747-400 cabin!
The Fiji shoreline came in view during descend
After a very smooth landing (usual on the B747), the friendly FA invited both myself and my girlfriend to meet with the pilot in command and he kindly took photo of us and allow us to stay there as long as possible. As a result, we’re the last passenger to enter immigration and queueing behind all the passengers.
We have a short but very sweet flight. The Air Pacific hospitality is great. I especially enjoy the Fijian music playing through the cabin during boarding and prior to land. It really makes people relax and get into the holiday mood. Indeed, the flight was too quick and I didn’t want to leave!
The next day we’re back to Nadi airport, this time to fly to Malololailai , an island about 10 minutes flight off the coast of Viti Levu
(main island of Fiji)
Pacific Sun operates the service with Britten Norman Islander 8 seater aircraft.
Terminal Nadi- Domestic and Int'l flights combined. Domestic check-in is on the left hand side.
DQ-FCX is the duty aircraft.
Flights can be booked easily online with reasonable cost. However, do note, flight are running on “Fiji” times, which means it may not always be the same time as your ticket says
With a small inbound delay, we finally board the plane at 11:30
There were a total of 4 pax, I chose a good seat to sit directly behind the pilots. The Islander plane have 4 rows, which each row can sit 2 person.
2 Fijian pilot greeted us and gave us inflight briefing. The flight entertainment is using a paper fan to cool yourself down!
The flight took about 10 minutes and offer some great view over the reef and landing on the sandy airstrip is a plus! You can take the flight as a sightseeing special, as it is extremely scenic from above.
After arrival in Malololailai, the Islander taxi to the terminal swiftly like a car!
Arrived in Paradise!
The plane is returning empty with only the pilots, I asked them whether they can put on a good show so I can photo the plane takeoff and I was not disappointed by the quick climb at the end of the runway!
As you can see, there is no fence, security check or guard deterring you to take pictures in Malololaiai., you can walk along everywhere but watch out if there is plane on approach. It is similar to St Maarten but of course no jets visiting.
After several hours of snokerling, relaxing in day spa and the bar in Plantation Resort, it’s time to return to Nadi. We apparently only just missed out our original flight by a few minutes as I mentioned the flights operate on “Fiji” time, but not strictly according to schedule. As a result, we have to wait for the last flight and I took some picture of the terminal and airfield.
At 5pm, the last flight appears in the sky and approaches over the beach!
The return flight took about 20 minutes, mainly because of giving way to a Air Pacific B747-400 to land (from Auckland FJ410) so we’re holding near the coast. There were only 2 of us on this flight so it is totally ours! Some storm were building up in the evening after a complete sunny day.
Flying over the long runway 02/20 of Nadi.
See the inflight video. A Fijian young lady is the pilot in charge.
We landed back in Nadi around 5:45pm and there were 2 large Air Pacific jets on the tarmac, no problem taking photos on the tarmac in Nadi.
The Islander flight performance was good to operate short air strip and it climbs fast and well. I strongly recommend use Pacific Sun to island hopping as the cost is just slightly more than taking the ferry. During our stay in February, it was beautiful and sunny most of the times with very clear night skies for stargazing! Fiji offers outstanding values for vacation to suits all budgets.
Air Pacific is a good reputable holiday carrier. The B747-400 is in a good condition (seems been refurbished). Although the Business Class seat does not offer lie-flat, it does offer a deep recline. Airline these days all tend to reduce the food and beverage budget, I hope Air Pacific can be an exception and continue to deliver outstanding customer value. A good tip for Economy traveller is to get seat request for Upper Deck seating at check-in.
V Australia recently announced they’re ceasing flights (B777-300/ER) to Fiji and replaced with Pacific Blue B737-800. I have noticed the airfare have increased since this announcement.
JL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 27242 times:
thanks for sharing with us this fabolous trip report! I have read a lot of the special atmosphere which reigns on Air Pacific flights and their business product seems solid even if a little bit outdated. I'd love to give them a try soon...
Oh, and congrats for your pictures! Aerial views of Sydney are simply stunning. If you'll feel like to post some more it'd be greately appreciated.
Sounds a bit funny when they could use 2L and separate the J and Y passengers there..
As mentioned above, the overhead shots of Sydney are fantastic! Something's never right when I depart Sydney - either there's cloud, I'm seated in a place which is hard to take pictures or we depart towards the south on 16R. It also seems as though the A380 does a much wider circle and goes further north before turning out towards AKL.
The Britten Norman Islander flight looks like a real fun one and that airport sounds like one to visit!
Thanks again! Looking for future adventures of yours here!
txjim From United States of America, joined May 2008, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 26439 times:
Wow, the Britten Norman Islander cockpit sure looks like it was made for small pilots!
Interesting to see that Air Pacific has Y seats in the top. Always my favorite location as the bins next to the seat made storage of books and other carry-on much easier. A 62% load factor must have made for a comfortable flight regardless of one's location.
N178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1660 posts, RR: 66
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 25947 times:
Quoting flymia (Reply 1): Great report and awesome videos. Hope to see those pictures uploaded into the database.
Quoting concordechild (Reply 2): Could just imagine how much of a "holiday" feel you would get as you get on board. Great report.
Quoting NZ747 (Reply 4): Very nice trip report, you have pretty much captured the best Air Pacific has to offer. Awesome pictures too!
Quoting JL418 (Reply 5): thanks for sharing with us this fabolous trip report! I have read a lot of the special atmosphere which reigns on Air Pacific flights and their business product seems solid even if a little bit outdated. I'd love to give them a try soon...
Quoting txjim (Reply 8): Wow, the Britten Norman Islander cockpit sure looks like it was made for small pilots!
Thanks guys, really the vacation have started once step onboard Air Pacific.
Hi Rone, nope, but it was very unique. I think Air Tahiti Nui have something similar menu cover in First Class.
Qatar Airways also have something very flash, like a restruant leather pouch inflight menu.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6): I noticed Turtle Island is very expensive. Any island recommendations? I thought there were politicalproblems on the islands recently?
I think overall, Fiji is an affordable vacation suits all budgets. Try to go low season (like Feb ) as I did, hotels were halfly occupied and you have the whole swimming pool to yourself at times. Best try to island hopping to see which one is Nicer, I have only limited time and tried only Malololailai
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 7): Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Air Pacific GM had kindly authorised upgrade for me and my girlfriend,
How did you secure that!? Any secrets you'd like to share?
haha, just my luck and knowing a few airline executive with valid reason may help you a long way.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 7): Sounds a bit funny when they could use 2L and separate the J and Y passengers there..
This has been the norm of boarding a B747 sadly in Sydney. Gate 32, 34, 36 is also used by Qantas, British Airways B747-400 and other A330/B777s. I really don't like this.
767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1912 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 25881 times:
Thanks for your really nice report! Looks like you had a good flight with Air Pacific in Tabua Class. Your pictures are really good! I like the look of that J cabin .. I like the retro feel of it. The food looks pretty good.
Thanks for sharing! I'd really like to visit Fiji at some point. Looks like an amazing place!
HAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2557 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (3 years 10 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 25604 times:
Thanks for the good TR. And especially for the inflight photos of the islands, and the Nadi airport. I fly for HA, and have overflown Fiji many times enroute from SYD back to HNL. However every one of those flights has been in the middle of the night, so I've never actually 'seen' Fiji from the air. Great photos, and it sounds like a great trip.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
There is at Int'l arrival/dep, but Domestic there aren't any. You walk on the tarmac and board the turboprops (DHT, ATR72, Islander etc)
Quoting 767747 (Reply 10): Thanks for your really nice report! Looks like you had a good flight with Air Pacific in Tabua Class. Your pictures are really good! I like the look of that J cabin .. I like the retro feel of it. The food looks pretty good.
777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12082 posts, RR: 18
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 23716 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW FORUM MODERATOR
Quoting N178UA (Thread starter): As you can see, there is no fence, security check or guard deterring you to take pictures in Malololaiai., you can walk along everywhere but watch out if there is plane on approach
WOW. Its amazingg to know that airports are still like the old days as seen in pictures from my grandparents with no fence with pointy wires and the ability to stand in the water with an aircratf landing only metres above your head
N178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1660 posts, RR: 66
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 21972 times:
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 19): The main meal presentation could have been better - how did the food taste?
I even forgot my own TR here since Roni posted the mega EK A380 one Thanks for bringing it up again..
The food was catered from Sydney, typical flavour, tasted quite average. I agree with you, FJ could present the whole affairs better. If and only if they can follow what Air Tahiti Nui's presentation and quality....