Peter White flies from Wellington to Nadi on Fiji Airways FJ460.
Price: Fiji Airways paid the fare on this inaugural flight from Wellington to Nadi. This service will be welcomed by travellers leaving from Wellington and will ensure competitive pricing at last.
On time: Delayed 15 minutes after formalities of speeches, fire engines using water cannons - and the flight being allocated the far runaway.
My seat: 31F window seat. The 737-800 has good leg-room for Economy class, and I enjoyed great views of snow-capped mountains in the North Island. Later, a dreamy view of the Coral Coast up to Nadi capped off a great flight.
Fellow passengers: Full of Wellington Phoenix footballers off to play Fiji teams, plus a smattering of supporters and media. Many expat Fijians made use of the convenience of flying from Wellington and sharp opening air fares.
How full: Chock-a-block from front to back.
Entertainment: The 737-800 has limited entertainment options. The small, outdated drop-down screen every three rows was difficult to focus on, especially for those hardy souls watching the in-flight movie Night at the Museum. Very limited music selection. The airline's flagship Airbus 330-200 is state of the art but not available on this route at this stage.
The service: Is always top class on Fiji Airways, especially with the world's friendliest people serving you. Nothing is too much trouble and every question is answered with that typical Fijian smile. The crew's laid-back approach helped chill out a crowded plane of passengers who all seemed to want to block the aisles.
Food and drink: Lunch was a mild chicken curry with vegetables, delicious New Zealand cheese and biscuits with a tasty, moist slice of chocolate cake to finish embossed with "Bula WTG". Nice touch. The vegetarian option of a scrummy pasta dish ran out three-quarters of the the way through service.
The toilets: Clean, as expected.
Luggage: Nadi baggage handlers have their work cut out because major renovations are under way. And there was a delay because a Virgin Australia flight arrived at the same time. But it all went smoothly enough.
The airport experience: Nadi Airport is getting its first major overhaul since the late 1960s, which is well and truly overdue, but there was nothing tired about the welcome. Arriving passengers were greeted with a traditional welcome of Fijian songs accompanied by guitars and a ukulele. Nadi also has the only Customs officers I have experienced who look like they enjoy their job and actually smile. One the renovations are complete in May 2016 the airport is expected to be world-class.
Would I fly with this airline again? Absolutely. Fiji Airways are good value price-wise and the staff obviously love their jobs.