Flight test: Air Pacific economy class
Friendly service is the best feature on Air Pacific.
Route Sydney to Los Angeles via Nadi, Fiji.
Aircraft Boeing 747-400.
Class Economy 52K + 53K, Sydney to Nadi.
Flight time 3hr 50min to Nadi, then 10hr 15min to LA. The transit time on my flight is 3hr 15min. Twenty hours before departure, I receive an email announcing the flight's 1.55pm departure from Sydney has been rescheduled for an hour earlier, though the plane eventually takes off about the original departure time. While still at Sydney airport, I receive a text message advising my 10pm departure from Nadi to LA will be delayed until midnight. My return flight from LA to Nadi is also pulled forward an hour but cargo-loading issues mean the plane departs about the original departure time.
Flight frequency Air Pacific flies daily from Sydney to Nadi and three times a week from Melbourne. There are four flights a week from Nadi to Los Angeles, arriving at lunchtime, which is better for coping with jet lag (because you have to stay awake for only half a day) than the early-morning arrival times of the direct Sydney-LA flights. The route also allows you to "fly and flop" in Fiji, again minimising jet lag. The fare is about $1620 low-season return from Melbourne or Sydney to Los Angeles, including tax.
Seat width and pitch Seat pitch of 32 inches; width of 18 inches.
Seat configuration 3-4-3 downstairs for a total of 361 seats; 69 economy seats upstairs arranged 3-3, for a total of 430 seats.
Luggage 23kg of checked-in luggage; 7kg of cabin luggage.
Entertainment When I ask an attendant why my TV screen isn't working, I'm told I've been seated in a crew area where none of the row's screens work. She says the screen behind me is functioning so I move there. However, there's only fuzz and static and, again, none of this row's screens is operating (all six are in the designated crew area). Other passengers have working screens.
Service Warm, friendly and charming service is easily Air Pacific's best feature. Once I'm settled in a new seat, the crew tuck in to their late lunches. Perhaps to compensate for the fact I have a bird's-eye view of their business-class meals, the attendant serving his colleagues offers me cans of Fiji Gold throughout the flight.
Food and beverages The lunch box seems a bit meagre: a warm chicken-loaf roll, pasta salad, two biscuits and orange juice. There is wine, including an Australian sauvignon blanc. The Fiji Gold beer is considered the superior drop to Fiji Bitter.
Tested by Katrina Lobley, who flew courtesy of Air Pacific.