Winston Aldworth flies aboard Fiji Airways FJ410, from Auckland to Nadi.

The plane:

A 737-800. Boeing's ageing hoppers are still pretty popular on Pacific runs. Fiji Airways has five 737s and four A330s. Flying out of Auckland, you're more likely to be riding aboard a 737. Their larger, newer Airbus planes tend to work longer routes, such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Los Angeles.

Class: Business. There are eight passengers up front in comfortable recliner seats with 21" width. Economy Class carries 162.


The seat: I'm in 1A - my favourite combination of numbers and letters - well, on boarding passes, anyway ...

Entertainment: Business.

How full: Chocka.

On time: Congestion in the skies above Fiji that morning translated into a spare 45 minutes in the Qantas Lounge at Auckland Airport. But, thanks in no small part to ground boss Rohan, passengers were boarded and buzzed away sharpish as soon as the plane was fuelled, cleaned and ready to go. We made up about 20 minutes.

Fellow passengers: Mostly holidaymakers heading for the sun.

Food and drink: I settled in with a rum cocktail on arrival, followed by a second on account of my mate Michelle who insisted from her seat back in Economy that I have one for her too (oh, all right then). Lunch was a so-so jerk chicken with a crisp Fiji lager on the side.

Service: You'd be hard-pressed to find a broader smile in the air.

Entertainment: Business-Class passengers get a tablet with a pretty limited range of movies and TV shows and a fairly good range of music. There was also an old-fashioned drop-down screen playing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Economy-Class passengers get the drop-down screen, but no tablet. On their A330, all seats have a seatback screen.

The Fiji Airways safety-briefing video is fairly derigeur, but at one point later in the flight the drop-down screen showed a brilliant short clip featuring the wonderful Fijian Sevens team demonstrating some basic inflight etiquette. It achieved effortlessly the kind of cool buzz that Air New Zealand works hard to attain and other airlines struggle to get their heads around. More please.

Toilets: A short hop, but they held up.

The verdict: A great way to get your melatonin levels sorted out.