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Fiji is so close to Australia that it is tempting to believe it doesn’t matter who you fly with as the flight time is so short. However, nothing brings on a ‘tropical depression’ quicker than a grumpy crew and terrible in-flight service when you’re heading off on holiday.

For this reason, it’s worth checking out the available options in detail to see what is on offer. Our family was keen to give Fiji Airways another try as we had last flown with them in 2011, back when the airline was still known as Air Pacific.

We loved the friendly staff on our previous trip but the old aircraft (and some would say the airline itself) was fast approaching its use by date around that time.

Since then a major rebranding has taken place including a name change back the to original Fiji Airways moniker, smart new aircraft livery inside and out with matching uniforms for the crew, new A330 aircraft and a revamped fleet of Boeing-737s.

Fiji Time magazine
Read and relax with a glass of wine

Unfortunately the new A330 aircraft don’t fly out of Brisbane but our refurbished 737 was certainly a step up from our last experience.

All of the seats in economy were in very good condition and didn’t have the worn, tatty look of our previous flight. We left right on time with lunch served soon after take-off.

Fiji Airways meal service in economy
Meal service in economy

One thing families will appreciate is that all the children on board are served their meals first. It isn’t a special ‘children’s meal’ (or at least it wasn’t on our flight) but the standard offering was more than fine for kids.

The crew are delightful to watch as they interact with the young flyers on board. Drinks in economy include a couple nice mid-range wines and the usual selection of other beverages, all delivered with a smile.

Our meal was quite tasty but there was an issue with the temperature it was served at. If it was meant to be a cold chicken pasta salad, it was definitely too warm and if it was meant to be a hot meal, then it was virtually stone cold. 

Not sure what happened but I don’t think everything went according to plan. We did think the meal was a definite step above what we had on our last flight and the cheese and crackers went down very well with a glass of wine.

Fiji Airways lunch
Fiji Airways lunch

However, despite the issue with our meals, we would still choose Fiji Airways over any other airline to get to Fiji. Even when you are flying economy as we were, the smiling, gracious and genuine service is second to none.

It seemed that nothing was too much trouble, despite the fact the aircraft was full and the crew were probably run off their feet. And no, they didn’t know I was a journalist. As far as the crew were concerned, we were a happy Aussie family heading off on holiday to Fiji.

The service was good on our last flight too but now it is combined with much nicer aircraft and smart, new uniforms, the enthusiastic team can really shine.

We were hoping to get the same staff on our return flight and were a bit disappointed to see it was a different crew when we got on board. However, there was no need to worry. The service (and the smiles) were just as impressive on the trip home.

Fiji Airways crew
Here’s the biggest reason you should fly Fiji Airways – the crew!

Disclosure: The writer flew as a guest of Fiji Airways. Her husband and son paid for their tickets and were equally impressed.

If you’re heading to Fiji on holiday, check out our tips for choosing the perfect Fiji holiday, our suggestions for getting around Fiji without spending a fortune, and our reviews of Castaway Island Resort, Cloud 9, Outrigger on the Lagoon, the Sheraton Fiji at Denarau, and the ultra luxe Likuliku Lagoon Resort.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.