Paradise Bound

Paradise Bound

Fiji remains one of the South Pacific’s most sought after destinations and the South Seas experience begins well before you arrive, thanks to Fiji Airways’ bold new look. By Nick Walton.

Background

As Air Pacific, Fiji’s national carrier delivered generations of travellers to its idyllic isles, Fiji Airways after an extensive revamp, now continues that tradition, albeit with a more contemporary offering between Hong Kong and Nadi.

The Lounge

After a quick check-in process at a dedicated business class counter, we made our way to the newly-opened Premier Lounge, a serene space with both café and lounge seating, a TV suite, a games suite, its own spa, a stylish cocktail bar, and an extensive hot and cold buffet. As flights to Hong Kong leave quite early in the morning, this is a great spot for breakfast.

Boarding

Despite a quick boarding process onto the airline’s Airbus A330, we departed 30 minutes late. However, this gave the crew time to serve hot towels, signature cocktails, simple but fun amenity kits, and menus. After take-off, we switched gear, with glasses of Prince Laurent Champagne before breakfast was served.

The Seat

While the business class product on Fiji Airways isn’t cutting edge, it’s perfectly adequate for a daytime, nine-hour flight to Hong Kong. Each of the 24 seats, set in a 2-2-2 configuration, features a large 15.4-inch personal entertainment monitor in the seatback in front, two small compartments beneath, room for headphones in between, and additional space for bottles of Fiji Water beneath the armrest. Dressed in white leather, each seat has a pitch of 60-inches and lies at an eight-degree incline, which makes it ideal for daytime trips but a little dated for a red eye.

Dining

Breakfast service started soon after take-off, and consisted of fresh fruit and double berry yogurt, followed by a granola parfait, fresh croissants, and a choice of a cheese and parsley omelet with chicken sausage and roasted potato; chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream and caramelised pineapple; and an ‘eggless’ masala dosa crepe with pumpkin, tomato and chickpea curry. The pancakes were brilliant if not a little decadent, especially when matched with a round of signature Paradise rum cocktails.

A few hours outside Hong Kong we enjoyed a lunch of garlic prawns with tamarind chutney; as well as a choice of braised beef and mushroom stew; stir-fried chicken with egg noodles; and grilled vegetable lasagna with a rich tomato basil sauce. The prawns were cooked perfectly, and the stir-fried chicken was succulent and perfectly seasoned.

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