SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW
Even after leaving the hotel about a half-hour late, we still got to the airport early for our check-in. Well, we thought it was early. The thing about flying premium cabins is that you can forget what life is like when you fly in the back of the plane! Since we’d only found economy award seats for the flight to Fiji, we were stuck in the check-in line with most of the rest of the plane. Since there’s only one Fiji Air flight at that time of day, there was quite a queue at check-in. It made me really miss flying in business class!
Eventually we worked our way to the front and the gentleman who checked us in seemed relieved to have some relatively normal bags to deal with. There was a poor couple in front of us who had been packing and re-packing their bags so they wouldn’t be overweight. They were not having a good experience since even the carry-on luggage was being weighed. In the end I decided to just check my larger carry-on. I thought I’d have to pay for it but since I had a single ticket from Melbourne to Fiji and on to the US with the Fiji-US leg in business class, he allowed me a free second bag. Score!
By the time we go checked in and then cleared security, we did not have a whole lot of time before our flight. We had no idea what kind of food to expect on the flight so decided to get some before we left to be sure we had something we liked. We stopped by Hungry Jack’s (aka Burger King) and picked up a to-go meal that we ate in the gate area.
Eventually we boarded the plane and made our way to our seats. This is where Seat Guru let me down. Its website showed that our plane had a second bulkhead where the row in front was beside the emergency exit and consisted of only two seats while the row behind that (that I selected for us) had three seats, including one behind the “missing” seat on the row in front. That meant my tall friend could have extra leg room. I was excited to get those seats.
Just a note about the seat selection process with Fiji Air when using AA miles to book: there’s no way to make the seat selections online. I contact the Fiji Air Twitter team and they gave me an email address to contact for seat selection. Of course with the time difference we could only swap emails once a day or so. But they booked what I thought were the best seats without any issue.
Then we boarded the plane and I found out Seat Guru was wrong. There was no second bulkhead – we were just smack in the middle of economy. The pitch (distance between seats) is marginally larger than many planes here in the US so my tall friend kept insisting she was fine. As it turned out we napped most of the trip anyway (it was a redeye flight, after all) so it wasn’t horrible. But I was disappointed that Seat Guru didn’t have it right.
As the flight left around midnight I don’t recall that we were served any food at the beginning of the flight. Everyone just wanted to sleep anyway. And if the flight wasn’t full, it was very close to it. We dozed and read throughout the flight and five hours later we were landing in Nadi, Fiji. I learned the city is pronounced NAHN-dee, even though it’s not spelled with a second N in the middle of the word.
After our experience with airport transfers in Australia I was a little concerned about what we’d find in Fiji but I needn’t have worried. Viator hooked us up with Rosie Holidays and they were fantastic. Since we were all arriving and departing at the same time we’d sprung for a private transfer, which meant we didn’t have to wait on anyone else or make any other stops. I was able to use points from my Barclays Arrival Plus card to offset the cost of the transportation. After we collected our bags, we found someone waiting for us. I stepped into their air-conditioned office (much of the airport is open-air) to sign the paperwork and while I was there we were able to confirm our pickup for our return to the airport. That was a load off my mind to have that resolved!
As it was early on a Sunday morning there wasn’t much traffic anywhere so our driver zipped us off to the Hilton rather quickly. It’s only about a 15-20 minute drive when there’s no traffic so before long we had arrived at our island home for the next few days.