Flight check: Suva to Nadi on Fiji Link

By Peter White

Peter White flies from Suva to Nadi on Fiji Link FJ21.
Fiji  Airways' brand new ATR 42-600.
Fiji Airways' brand new ATR 42-600.

The plane: One of Fiji Airways' brand new ATR 42-600 fleet was very comfortable, and a quieter experience than is the norm with smaller propeller planes. It is a new-generation plane with a laptop and smartphone symbol replacing the archaic no smoking sign beside the seatbelt indicator.

Class: Economy only.

On time: Push back was within a minute of the departure time.

My seat: 9A window seat. Beautiful views over the island as the sun set on another day in paradise.

Fellow passengers: A mix of locals making the hop south to Suva, including a family of four I met going to watch their son playing in Fiji's largest soccer tournament. Many were inbound from Auckland and Sydney on flights originally scheduled for Suva's Nausori Airport.

How full: Chocka-block full with 46 passengers.

Entertainment: None on a short 35-minute hop like this.

The service: Is always top class on Fiji Airways with the world's friendliest people serving you. We had one very tall guy looking after everyone, who seemed to get plenty of laughs.

Food and drink: Cold water was gratefully received at the end of a scorching Fiji day and served in cute little 330ml Fiji bottles. A cool towel was a nice touch.

The toilets: One toilet at the back - basic but clean.

Luggage: Nausori Airport has few facilities so we all stood outside as the luggage was brought over from the plane.

The airport experience: Poor. Nadi Airport will be world class when the major renovations are finished in December but sadly, Nausori Airport has been forgotten. With regular international flights from NZ and Australia, it needs a serious makeover as it is no longer just a regional hub.

Would I fly this again? Yes, without question. Fiji Airways is now a top-class airline gaining market share. With the recent upgrade of aircraft, the domestic Fiji Link part of the business is catching up fast.

- NZ Herald

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