G'day! This is my first trip report and my second message on here. Hope you all enjoy and give me some feedback so I can put more of these reports up. I have some PICTURES that goes with these, but I don't quite understand the directions given, so if anyone can shed some light, it would be greatly appreciated. Well, here it goes!
I just spent the last year studying abroad in Australia. Sure is a great place (lots of travelling, more reports later... hopefully). Air Pacific was offering a free stopover in Fiji, so I decided for a nice tropical holiday before heading back to California and its *not* so bleak winter.
December 19, SYD-NAN, 747-400 DQ-FJK "Island of Vanua Levu"
I met up with my friend (who was flying in from Canberra) at the queue at the International checking that morning to for out flight to Nadi. Checking in took quite a long time since only 8 or so counters were open to check in 420+ passengers. An hour and a half later, we were off, rushing to get through immigration and onto the gate since we only had about 10 minutes to get there, plus the final calls coming though the loudspeakers weren't helping either. Finally reached the gate to find out we would be delayed because the air conditioning unit in the aircraft was broken. Great, all that running for nothing. 15 minutes went by, 30 minutes, an hour, and finally we were allowed to board.
Walking into the plane, it didn't seem like anything was fixed. It was ridiculously hot inside, around 100 degrees or so, so much for fixing the aircon. I was looking for my seat when I realized it was in the economy section upstairs! My first experience sitting upstairs in my many times in a 747. The flight was almost full, but me and my friend ended up sitting in the window and aisle seat, with no one in between. Sweet! We pushed back at around, I snapped a couple of pictures, fidgetted with the IFE, the flight attendants did the safety demo, and we were off to Fiji!
The flight was enjoyable after the aircon kicked in and the cabin cooled down significantly. It would be a 4 hour flight or so to Fiji. Lunch was served, consisting of the usual fish or chicken options, but with a Fijian twist. Had the curry chicken which was qute good and edible (though I am one of the odd ones who actually enjoy airline food). But the biggest surprise was hacking actual metal silverware! Quite a change from trying to cut your food with a plastic knife back in the States. Was also given 2 cans of Fiji Bitter beer, pretty darn good. The service was great on the flight. Lots of Fijian spirit, and lots warming 'bula' and 'vinakas' during the flight. Plenty of smiles from people who seem like they really enjoy their jobs. The IFE was alright. Movie selection was a little outdated, but it sufficed since I hadn't seen many movies while I was down under. The rest of the flight was smooth and enjoyable, and we made it to Nadi only a half our behind schedule.
Fiji is an amazing place. Great food, great people. When we arrived, there were Fijian singers welcoming the passengers off the plane. Stayed in Nadi for the first night, then it was off to the Yasawa Islands for 3 days of relaxing in paradise. So after 4 days, it was time to go back to reality and take the last leg of the total 26 I did that year.
December 23, NAN-LAX 747-400 DQ-FJK "Island of Vanua Levu"
Took a cab to the airport with a ridiculous amount of luggage. Check in was long, again, but this time due to the increased security since we were flying into the US. Tried to avoid the random searches, and I did, so it was off to immigration. Boarded the plane, this time sat downstairs in the window seat. Same procedures as when we came from Sydney, and we off to LAX. We were served dinner, but I forgot what it was (it was 3 months ago!) I did remember asking for a couple glasses of wine so I could fall asleep on the 10 hour flight back to the States. However, it didnt happen, I ended up staying up the entire flight. The IFE was the same selection as before, so it was a long, and smooth ride to LAX. Again, great cabin crew, friendly and attentive. One of the better flights that I've taken in the past year. One complaint though, since it was near Christmas, they decided to have some holiday music on in the background during most of the flight, but they were the same 3 songs player over and over, drove me crazy. I dont think I can ever listen to that Christmas song that Mariah Carey did anymore.
2 hours or so before getting into LAX, breakfast was served. This time it was eggs and sausage (the sausage was yellow, a little dodgy), fruit and a muffin. Again, it was pretty good since I like airline food. Good to see metal silverware again. I decided to use the toilet before landing and waiting at the lines at LAX immigration. Noticed all the fixtures still had the Singapore Airlines insignia on it. Interesting. Smooth descent into LAX
So that was it. Finally back in LA. Immigration went surprisingly fast. Overall, this Air Pacific experience was very enjoyable. I flew them from HNL-NAN-SYD also, and it was also a good experience. I've never done the Qantas, United, of Air NZ (or the newer Hawaiian service), but Air Pacific is a good alternative for those who wouldn't mind having a stopover in Fiji (definitely recommended).
Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear back from my A.net peers.