Airline review: Fiji Airways business class

THE PLANE 

The Airbus 330-200,  with 273 passengers – 249 in economy and 24 in business class – was introduced onto the route in June 2013. 

THE ROUTE

Sydney to Nadi.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

The flight is code-shared with Qantas and flying business class provides access to the business lounge in Sydney and Nadi. Passengers also earn points flying American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

CLASS 

Business class.  Seat 2D.

DURATION 

Three hours, 50 minutes. 

FREQUENCY

Twice daily from Sydney. 

THE SEAT

There are 24 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with a 152-centimetre  pitch and 53-centimetre width. With a healthy 39-centimetre monitor, I'm more interested in the entertainment than the almost flat bed (short by eight degrees). There are simple controls for seat recline and entertainment, a  touch reading lamp and two nooks to store phones, books and iPads  for takeoff and landing. There's a privacy screen and water bottle holder. 

BAGGAGE

In business, two  pieces of  hand luggage weighing 7kg each and checked luggage weighing 30kg. Could the days of discount store bags being hauled onto planes be over?  My carry-on baggage is weighed at check-in and there are several pre-boarding announcements.   

COMFORT

I'm propelled out of my  winter doldrums with a light and bright cabin with cream leather seats, soft rugs and pillows with traditional motifs and excellent noise-cancelling headphones.

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ENTERTAINMENT

On demand with  a healthy selection of new releases including Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, and Far From the Madding Crowd. Eight television shows and more than 550  audio channels add up to plenty of choice for a shorter overseas flight. 

SERVICE 

Fijian flight attendants dressed in traditional colours of aqua and brown with motifs  that represent unity, friendliness, clear blue skies and a cool breeze on the beaches. With the women wearing a single frangipani tucked behind their ear, the holiday feels like it's begun even before stepping onto Fijian soil. The cocktail of  Fijian rum served before my seat belt is on also helps. Heading to the islands known for their hospitality, the service is warm but efficient.  A request for extra water is  met straight away.  

FOOD 

The cold canapes –  smoked wahoo infused with  wasabi and roast chicken fillet with gratin and vegetables – are both fine but it's the fresh mango cheesecake that's a standout. And I don't have a sweet tooth.  Rock hard butter and warm rolls are a happy marriage. I stick with the Tempus Two sparkling chardonnay but there's also a Tempus Two chardonnay, and  Shaw and Smith sauvignon blanc, merlot and shiraz and spirits to choose. Next to the cheesecake a mug of tea, tide in, is steaming and welcome.  

ONE MORE THING 

Do children and business class mix? On any flight, it would depend who you ask. While two mothers with babies around the 12-month mark make it their mission to entertain and soothe two little ones throughout the flight, two older boys give their vocal cords a workout towards the end.  Those headphones do an excellent job for me, and their parents. Not so a perturbed passenger sitting behind me who later remarks:  "Maybe we should start flying economy." 

THE VERDICT 

The airline uses other aircraft on the Fiji-Australia route. If there is a choice, this class on this plane is an ideal way to start an island holiday before the passport gets stamped.

Tested by Jane Reddy, who flew courtesy of Fiji Airways. 

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