Flight access to Tonga from Australia can be tricky. There are limited departures for a direct flight which makes it hard if you need to fit in with a certain date.
Then once you get to Nuku’Alofa, the internal flights out to the smaller islands can be hit and miss on departure and arrival times. So it is a good idea to look at Fiji Airways as they have regular flights via Nadi and more likely to fit your travel plans.
Kate Webster recently flew to Tonga with Fiji Airways. Here is the verdict.
Flight: Brisbane (BNE) – Nadi (NAN) on FJ920 / Nadi (NAN) – Nuku’Alofa (TBU) on FJ213
When: 11 September 2018
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 from BNE-NAN / AT76 Aircraft NAN-TBU
Class: Economy / Economy
Seat: 23A / 12A
Flight time: 3 hours 30 mins BNE-NAN / 1 hour 50 mins NAN – NBU
CHECK IN: Fiji time does kind of start at check in for Fiji Airways. It moves a little slowly and when I got to the counter I found out why. My check-in staff were so welcoming and friendly, we had a little chat while checking me in. It was nice to be welcomed like this and not just processed like another number. I was lucky to be offered the exit row seat (which normally costs AUD59 if pre-booked), which I gladly accepted (Yes – leg room!). My luggage was checked all the way through to Nuku’Alofa which meant when I transited in Nadi Airport, I just had to worry about my carry on luggage
THE SEAT: The exit row seat is definitely a score and I would even have paid the extra money for it. The plane is new, so all the seats are still in great condition. The seats themselves are spacious and don’t have those armrests that are solid and make you feel locked in. There is no seat back entertainment however so be prepared with your own. Even on the flight from Nadi to Nuku’Alofa, the seats were rather spacious. It is a late night flight and does not take long so it really doesn’t matter where you sit.
FOOD AND WINE: The menu consisted of a lunch meal due to the 11:30pm. There was a choice of vegetarian or chicken, so I chose chicken. The meal was actually really fresh and good quality (always a pleasant surprise when flying), consisting of chicken in white sauce, vegetables and rice. It also comes with cheese and crackers and a chocolate to snack on after. There was a full drink service. On the flight Nadi to Nuku’Alofa there was a drink service only.
ENTERTAINMENT: There was no seat back TV screens unfortunately, so you have to watch whatever is played on the shared drop-down TVs from the plane’s overhead ceiling. In my case it was a children’s cartoon movie, so I guessed there must have been a number of kids onboard. For those who like to read, the inflight magazine is packed full of engaging reads, destination information and more. I whipped out my laptop and did some work – which was comfortable in the exit row seat with extra room.
TRANSIT & LOUNGE: Nadi Airport is great now the refurb has been completed. There are plenty of shops and places to grab a bite to eat while in transit. If you have a long transit, or flying business class, then definitely look at the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge at Nadi International Airport. It really is an oasis to escape to with its live greenery wall which forms the backdrop of the main seating area, while the ceiling above features constellation lighting representing the Fijian summer and winter skies. There is comfortable seating, Business Centre, Wi-Fi, shower rooms, media room, buffet station offering international cuisine and signature dishes, bar and café, children’s room with complimentary nanny, and pay-for-use spa. Located Airside, Ground Floor, Nadi International Airport Departures Terminal, the lounge is open 5.00am – 11pm daily.
The Fiji Airways Premier Lounge is available to Fiji Airways’ Business Class guests, Tabua Club and Tabua Club Plus members, premier guests of our partner airlines and pay-for-use customers. Pay-for-use guests can purchase a pass online under Manage Your Booking, or directly at the Lounge reception counter for $99 FJD per person.
THE VERDICT: The service from the staff – from check in to cabin crew – was impeccable. They always had a smile and happy to help, which really is important to me on a flight. Adding to the service, the exit row seat made the journey so much better. That extra leg room makes so much difference.
Kate flew as a guest of Fiji Airways.