Old Mar 24, 10, 12:01 am
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Programs: Virgin Australia Velocity Gold
Posts: 1,425
Tuesday 16 March

Cyclone Tomas passed Nadi and Natadola Beach leaving most areas relatively unscathed; however the damage was significantly greater in outer-lying areas and parts of north east Fiji. Given Air Pacific took decisive action the day prior (Monday), they left one of their 747-400s to overnight in Sydney and one of their 737-800s in Brisbane to escape the expected path of Tomas. This caused flights to be delayed and cancelled, and resulted in an itinerary change for myself.

Given I had a planned 09:00L departure from Nadi on the 747-400 service to Sydney; I would have connected to a 15:00L Sydney to Brisbane service with ease. However given most Australia-bound flights had a revised departure time between 17:20L and 17:45L, I would have arrived in Sydney close to 20:00L, breaching the MCT in Sydney and missed the last QF-operated service to Brisbane at 21:05L. Air Pacific kindly placed me on the nonstop 737-800 service due to depart at 17:35L.

Tuesday 16 March
Nadi – Brisbane
Seat 2A

After a seemingly lengthy time in the refurbished Tabua Lounge at Nadi Airport, my flight was called. The flight was to be relatively empty, with just 4 of us in Business and a light load in Economy (if I remember correctly, there were about 60-100 free seats).

Once again thanks to the open-natured walkways, photos such as this are possible. DQ-FJH is one of two 737-800s belonging to Air Pacific and would be the aircraft that would take me home to Brisbane.

I was once again given a warm welcome onboard by the Senior Flight Attendant and directed to my seat. Air Pacific only has 8 seats in Tabua Class on their 737-800s (it puts the Qantas 737s to shame), and the seat pitch is rather good and PTVs with loop-based IFE are also available. Each passenger in J was given a window seat, resulting in spare seats next to all of us. After a seemingly quick boarding, the doors were shut and we were on our way.

Taken leaving the Fijian Islands (unfortunately)

Lovely isn’t it

The SFA serving the J cabin was one of the best cabin crew members I have ever come across. I don’t think it would be appropriate to mention her name, however if you happen to come across an SFA with a name that is based on a colour, you will be in for a great flight. She was always available to assist, pre-empted passengers’ requirements and was friendly enough and approachable for a quick chat (unfortunately due to Tomas, Air Pacific had been unable to load aircraft models, much to my disappointment. However I have since been in contact and have ordered some – yippee!). Other cabin crew could certainly take a leaf from her book and see how to conduct professional, friendly yet non in-your-face service. I have since been in contact with Air Pacific and they have greatly appreciated the feedback I gave about this particular crew member and have ensured it will be forwarded to her – excellent.

Warm nuts (hehehe) and a copy of Air Pacific’s inflight duty-free sales magazine

The mighty Pacific Ocean

Dinner is served – this time I opted for the Filo pasty chicken and glad I did, as it was delicious


Taken just before our decent into Brisbane

Fiji is easily the friendliest place on earth and certainly lives up to its name. Seemingly random people always made an effort to say hello and there is a great respect for tourists, regardless of where you come from. I enjoyed the laid-back nature of the Country as a whole and surprisingly all requests were actioned quickly – I had been warned about “Fiji time” prior to departure and that it may take 40 minutes just to get essentials such as a cup of coffee!

Air Pacific is by far one of the best airlines worldwide, even with an antique product offering. While the hard product may be lacking, it’s in the area of service where the Airline really excels/shines. With one of the most attractive liveries in the industry, cheap and value-packed airfares and the ability to fly on a 747-400 on a relatively short sector, you’ve got to ask yourself why would you fly anyone else (and yes, I know I may eat my own words since V Australia has commenced 777-300ER services to Nadi). Air Pacific provided me with a wonderful flying experience and I hope to fly with the carrier again soon.

Bula to all the people of Fiji and I hope you have a speedy recovery in the aftermath of Cyclone Tomas.

Not only have I met with some lovely people, had a wonderful flying experience, had a seemingly calm experience with a dangerous cyclone, I have also recently acquired Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold or Oneworld Sapphire status, another added bonus. Interestingly Qantas responded to my query about the delayed baggage, less than 24 hours after lodging the feedback and are unable to explain why the bag wasn’t transferred.

Qantas-issued boarding passes for my domestic sectors on 13MAR

The refreshed Qantas boarding passes – rather nice I might add

The rather bland NAN/BNE boarding pass issued by Air Pacifc – no fruit tingle colours here unfortunately

Vinaka for reading
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