The plane:

Airbus A330-200. Purchased in the past 18 months, the interior was nice and neat while traditional Fijian designs marked the livery.

Class: Business. For an overnight flight, the fully reclining seats certainly came in handy. As did the duvet and a proper pillow. And, for someone on a "working holiday", the USB port and power socket were also appreciated.

Price: A one-way trip from Nadi to San Francisco starts at $1020 in economy and ranges to $3100 in business-plus.


Flight time: Ten hours and 30 minutes, leaving Nadi in the late evening and arriving in San Francisco early afternoon. The flight departed and landed on time - a bit of a contrast to my flight from New Zealand to Fiji, which turned around and circled Auckland for two hours to dump fuel after a fault was found in the landing gear shortly after take-off.

My seat: 1K, the window seat at the very front of the cabin, providing a good view of the plane-spotters on the ground at SFO marking the occasion with a photo.

Fellow passengers: Being the inaugural flight, Business Class was largely filled with fellow journalists and Fiji Airways' bigwigs. Not sure about the hacks but the latter group dutifully donned their complimentary company-branded pyjamas before they hit the hay.

How full: Every seat was taken, given the flight had been anticipated for months. Which meant there were 249 passengers in economy and 24 in business.

Entertainment: Each passenger had a 40cm screen with plenty of films, including a handful of recently released titles. This Tarantino fan enjoyed another chance to watch The Hateful Eight. Hopefully there were no kids sitting behind me.

The service: Brilliant, with the natural friendliness of Fijians translating well to the skies. The cabin staff responded promptly to every need and did so with a genuine smile.

Food and drink: Fiji Airways' signature cocktail - rum liqueur, coconut rum, maraschino cherries and orange slices - was a nice touch upon boarding. And the food, designed by celebrity chef Lance Seeto, was superb. The spare ribs and sweet potato croquette for dinner were of restaurant quality while the breakfast menu included almost every option imaginable. My only quibble was a lack of appetite after eating such a filling meal six hours before.

The toilets: Nothing too special about the business class loos but everything was clean and tidy.

Luggage: 30kg for business and 23kg for economy.

The airport experience: Nadi International Airport was under extensive renovation and Fiji Airways' Tabua Lounge took some finding. But, once there, the samosas were tasty and the DIY cocktails went down a treat. Also enjoyed the chance to read the previous day's work in the Herald.

Would I fly this again? If desiring a relaxing Fijian holiday to recover from the rigours of an American holiday, absolutely.