Flight check: Nadi to AucklandSave
Stephanie Holmes flies FJ413 from Fiji.
By Stephanie Holmes
Plane: A Boeing 737-700.
How full? The eight seats in Business Class were only half full, and Economy Class was probably about two-thirds full.
Price: One-way fares start from $326.
Luggage: 23kg/7kg — standard.
Check-in: Very fast. We were quite early to the airport so there was no queue for check-in, security or immigration. The woman stamping our passports thanked us for coming to Fiji, and hoped we would come again. With hospitality like that, I would love to, thanks.
Flight time: Three hours.
On time: Just about.
Seat: I was assigned 23B, with my partner in 23A. Luckily for us there was no one in 23C so we could spread out. The man in 22C managed to invade my personal space by fully reclining his seat the entire flight, and stretching his arms behind his seat back so they were centimetres from my face. Back off buddy.
Fellow passengers: Mostly holidaymakers heading home ... we all had that faint air of depression on leaving a tropical island, combined with the Sunday night blues. There were also a couple of people who looked like they'd had too good a time on holiday — two women were escorted on to the plane in wheelchairs thanks to ankle injuries. Too many cocktails, perchance?
Food and drink: I pre-ordered a vegetarian meal which was a potato and green bean curry. It was really tasty but incredibly spicy. Any passengers not used to spicy food would have really struggled with it. The standard food service offered a choice of chicken and pasta, or a vegetarian option of tofu and mushroom hotpot. From what I could gather, no one chose the tofu.
Entertainment: Only drop-down screens on this plane, and the movie playing was the 2012 adaptation of Life of Pi. I mean, it's a great movie, but it's five years old now ... could we not have had something more recent?
Toilets: Basic but clean and tidy.
Airport experience: Nadi was very quiet, after the majority of people departed on the earlier Air NZ flight. Those remaining were either on this 8.30pm departure to Auckland or a 9.40pm flight to LA. There's not much to do, with just a handful of shops, no free Wi-Fi and an expensive bar. I was almost losing my mind as the man across from us, who smelt strongly of body odour, lay face down on a row of seats, and proceeded to snore incredibly loudly for the next half hour. How is it even possible to snore when you're face down?
Arriving at Auckland Airport at 12.40am, Customs was super-fast but it was the slowest wait I've had for luggage in a long time. No trouble getting through biosecurity, however, and we were outside in the cool night air by 1am. A lot colder than Fiji. Take me back immediately.
Would I fly again? Yes. It might be a more basic service than other airlines, but it's fine for a three-hour hop.