Chris Tarpey flies aboard Fiji Airways' flight FJ410, from Auckland to Nadi.

The plane

: An Airbus A350-900 XWB, one of two new planes in the Fiji Airways fleet.

Class: I flew Business Class, which features 33 lie-flat seats. There are 301 seats in Economy, or pick "Bula Class" for an extra three inches of legroom.

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Flight time: 2hr 55m

My seat: 15A, a window-facing seat on the left of the plane. The cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration in Business (it's 3-3-3 in Economy). The seat felt both private and comfortable with plenty of space to stretch my legs. After adjusting the seat to lie-flat mode, I was impressed that I was able to rest without my feet touching the opposite end.

Fiji Airways' A350-900 XWB is noticeably quiet and feels more like an electric car than a jet plane. Photo / Chris Tarpey
Fiji Airways' A350-900 XWB is noticeably quiet and feels more like an electric car than a jet plane. Photo / Chris Tarpey

Entertainment

: Fiji Airways' entertainment system is intuitive but the content selection is limited. I watched two episodes of Friends and the animated movie Toy Story 4 on the HD screen.

The service: The Fiji Airways' staff are some of the friendliest in the sky. Both helpful and informative, they rival Air New Zealand for being my favourite crew.

Food and drink: I enjoyed the Chanoine Grande Reserve Brut Champagne with a mushroom do pyaza. The mushrooms were served in an onion and tomato gravy with turmeric-spiced cauliflower and steamed rice. For dessert I devoured the cream tart with whipped cream-cheese filling.

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Luggage: My Business Class ticket permitted me to take one 30kg checked bag and one 7kg carry-on bag.

Extras: The compartment to the left of the seat is perfect for storing your passport, wallet and phone without it being hard to reach. It also includes an AC outlet for charging your laptop and a USB port for charging a phone or tablet.

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Fiji Airways' entertainment system with remote controller. Photo / Chris Tarpey
Fiji Airways' entertainment system with remote controller. Photo / Chris Tarpey

Airport experience

: Fiji should be proud of their recently refurbished Nadi Airport. I previously visited in 2014 when it was looking old and tired so the multimillion-dollar makeover was a welcome surprise. The airport is well-ventilated, clean and efficient with an added baggage carousel, which makes it feel less cramped. Fiji Airways' Premier Lounge is world-class with excellent food and shower facilities. The dedicated quiet areas make for a great place to enjoy their barista-made coffee before the flight home.

Would I fly Fiji Airways again? Most definitely. Fiji Airways' A350-900 XWB is noticeably quiet and feels more like an electric car than a jet plane. Their Business Class service is among the best in the Pacific and a smart investment by the airline. It's important to note that this particular plane has joined the Fiji Airways fleet to service the long-haul routes and will fly daily on the 10-hour Nadi-LA sector. Kiwis travelling to Los Angeles via Fiji will get to experience the A350 but there is currently no permanent route for this plane in New Zealand.

This Airbus A350-900 XWB plane is called 'Island of Vanua Levu'. Photo / Chris Tarpey
This Airbus A350-900 XWB plane is called 'Island of Vanua Levu'. Photo / Chris Tarpey