Reviews

Review: Fiji Airways Airbus A350-900 business class

Fiji Airways' latest aircraft, and its latest business class, make a stunning debut.

By James Fordham, November 27 2019
Fiji Airways Airbus A350-900 business class
Aircraft Type

Airbus A350-900

Airline

Fiji Airways

Cabin Class

Business

Introduction

The introduction of the Airbus A350-900 to Fiji Airways’ fleet brings the Pacific airline into a new era, leading with an impressive business class product that rivals some of the world's best.

The jet sports the popular Collins Aerospace ‘Super Diamond’ seats as seen on Virgin Australia, Air Canada, Qatar Airways (specifically the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners) and, in a more bespoke form, British Airways' new Club Suite.

With two aircraft to be delivered by the end of 2019, and the potential for more to follow, the modern A350 will serve the airline's flagship Sydney-Nadi-Los Angeles route and deliver a vastly superior business class experience compared to the current angled beds and 2-2-2 layout of its Airbus A330s.

Executive Traveller joined Fiji Airways for the final leg of the A350's delivery flight from Sydney through to Nadi to check out the new business class product.

A better seat

Fiji Airways' Airbus A350 features 33 business class seats, finished in a light cream ‘premium leather' with grey accents. These accentuate the already bright and airy cabin of the A350.

The 22" wide seats are configured in a 1-2-1 layout, affording each passenger direct aisle access, and fold out to a 2.2m bed. While this is not a must-have on the 4h45m jaunt between Sydney and Fiji, it will certainly be welcome on the almost 10 hour overnight journey to and from LAX.

With part of the seat's side shell wrapping around the passenger and extending forwards, there's still plenty of privacy.

Two storage compartments on the shelf beside the seat are ideal for keeping small items close at hand during the flight, as well as for charging your laptop, tablet or smartphone via the AC outlet and two USB ports.

The sturdy tray table can be locked into one of three useful positions:

- folded in half and positioned underneath the screen, it acts as a cocktail table for drinks and snacks

- fully opened up and sliding close to you, so you can eat or work

- opened up but extended midway, allowing you to easily get out of your seat

The 18” high resolution display is paired with noise-cancelling headphones, while the in-flight entertainment system itself was fast and easy to use. The selection of movies skews towards Western, Indian and Asian content, with a mix of recent releases and older classics.

A better sleep

One of the key improvements to Fiji Airways' A350 business class is a refreshed sleep service which sees a new mattress topper combined with a high quality duvet and oversized pillow featuring traditional Fijian motifs.

Depite the relatively short duration of the Sydney-Fiji flight, our 6am departure was well suited to a 30 minute power nap after the main meal was served, aided by the comfort of the mattress and significantly quiet engines of the A350.

With the seat in lie-flat mode, there was plenty of space for your 180cm tall writer to stretch out without touching the end. The footwell space is also large enough to comfortably turn in your sleep or sleep on your side, which is an issue we’ve seen with some other seats.

The meal service on this special flight featured some of Fiji Airways' more popular dishes, such as a healthy breakfast parfait with tropical fruits and yoghurt and fresh fruits, and a tasty vegetarian dosa filled with butter mushroom masala and potato.

Additionally, the amenity kit featuring Fijian-made ‘Pure Fiji’ products has been updated to reduce the amount of plastic used.

In summary

Fiji Airways' new Airbus A350 lie-flat and direct aisle access seats and sleep service are a game-changer for the airline and will reinforce its position as a premium leisure carrier with a world-class premium product to match. We look forward to reviewing the full A350 business class flight experience once commercial service begins.

Also read: Fiji Airways Premier Lounge review, Nadi Airport

The author travelled as a guest of Fiji Airways.

james_fordham

James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.

Staggered or reverse herringbone layout?

04 May 2015

Total posts 234

Didn't you look at the photos in the review?

It has since been edited (probably before you read it) and it said “staggered” but the pictures are reverse herringbone.

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 40

They are reverse herringbone but also staggered so a window seat is not in line with a middle seat, thereby affording more privacy.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Hi Andrew: yes, the layout is absolutely reverse herringbone, but we generally avoid using very config-specific terms like 'reverse herringbone' because that's closer to being industry/aviation jargon, whereas we write more for a mainstream business traveller audience. [Similar to how we avoid three-letter airline codes (with the obvious exception of LAX) and prefer to say 'single-aisle' rather than 'narrow-body' (the former is visually descriptive and immediately means something to readers, the latter doesn't mean much unless you already know the term anyway).] In this context we use staggered in a different yet still descriptive way, as Sid has mentioned above.

29 Sep 2014

Total posts 13

The finishes in the cabin look lovely, though I wonder how the pale leather will hold up over time.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 3

best things about Fiji Airways are:-

1) the new Bula lounge (is that what it's called)

2) no Fiji departure tax if stay in Fiji less than 72 hours

BUT, what about some better connections from Brisbane through to LAX or SFO ?

18 Oct 2019

Total posts 14

What's not to love about the A350?

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 3

Now the best way to fky syd/lax direct & can bid on upgrade from any fare on a sector by sector basis. Am tall & upgraded on a332 & a359 is better.

Much better than flying poor old Qantas


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