• Fiji Airways recently welcomed its third Airbus A350 XWB, with a fourth one on the way.
  • The business class experience on the A350 is top-notch, with dedicated check-in, generous baggage allowance, priority boarding, and a serene Premier Lounge.
  • The A350's business class features comfortable lie-flat seats with ample personal storage, a spacious cabin layout, intuitive entertainment system, and delicious meals served with grace and a smile.

Earlier this month Fiji Airways greeted the arrival of its third Airbus A350 XWB, with the fourth soon to arrive in Nadi. The new aircraft is named the Island of Beqa and follows in the footsteps of the initial two A350s that joined the carrier in 2019.

An early look inside the latest A350

Simple Flying was among the first to go onboard after it was officially welcomed in a vibrant and culturally significant ceremony on August 15 at Nadi International Airport. The new Airbus A350, registration DQ-FAM, carries the two-class configuration of 334 seats, including 33 lie-flat in business class and 301 in the economy cabin that is on the other two airliners.

Onboard Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen beamed with pride as he described the new aircraft to Simple Flying as the "pride of the airline and the joy of our passengers." The new jet entered service with a flight to Hong Kong two days later and since then has operated flights to Sydney, Vancouver, Auckland and Los Angeles in a full schedule with only three days on the ground.

 Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen Airbus A350-900 DQ-FAM
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The Island of Beqa was being readied for service the day after its arrival, so Simple Flying flew back to Australia in the business class cabin of the Island of Viti Levu, a 2019 Airbus A350-900 XWB registration DQ-FAI and MSN 299. Interestingly, the latest A350 was built in 2018 for Hong Kong Airlines but was never taken up and stored in France from July 2019 until June 2023 before its delivery to Fiji Airways this month.

A great way to start a flight

The business class experience starts at check-in with dedicated check-in for Premier passengers, generous baggage allowance and priority boarding. The Fiji Airways Premier Lounge at Nadi Airport is a haven of green-leafed serenity with an abundance of fresh food choices, drinks of all descriptions, showers, relaxing spaces and workstations with plenty of power outlets and WiFi access.

The Fiji Airways A350 business class experience

For premium passengers the boarding process is a breeze, and in a typical Fijian way, the welcoming crew turns everything into a fuss-free affair, including settling me into my lie-flat seat at 19G, although calling it a seat is a gross understatement. The first thing I noticed was how much personal storage there was and how it is placed in just the right spots, including for phones, glasses, documents and the little things you often fossick for on a flight.

Fiji Airways A350 Business Class
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The armrest on the aisle side can be adjusted up or down to suit and makes it very easy to get in and out of the compartment and equally ergonomic is the tray table which can be positioned just where you like it to be. Entertainment appears on the 18" touchscreen and the small and intuitive remote makes the IFE experience similar to sitting in your lounge room at home.

There are 33 seats in business class with ports for USB and plug-in laptop charging, and while it was a surprise to pay $11.95 for WiFi, it will soon be free for business class passengers. The Airbus Airspace cabin has a roominess that is enhanced by the soft mood lighting and the 1-2-1 layout with huge overhead bins that could almost hold a Louis Vuitton trunk.

Fiji Airways A350 Business Class Doran-9692
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

The herringbone layout takes away any window glimpses from the middle section, but with so much going on in the seat, there's plenty to keep me occupied in my backyard. There is also an unobtrusive pop-up screen divider between the middle seats if a dash of privacy is required.

Fiji Airways Business Class
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

Flight FJ911 is a 09:30 departure out of Nadi so it's a breakfast meal that kicks off with a fresh fruit bowl on the side and a Greek Yoghurt and Apple Parfait starter. The main course is a choice between Scrambled Eggs with Potato Roesti, Chocolate Pancakes or Spinach Frittata, so all food groups are taken care of depending on your taste. Fresh and delightful Lemon Blueberry muffins, croissants and sweet raisin rolls round out the unhurried breakfast that is served with grace and a smile.

Fiji Airways A350 Business Class
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

Given the two-hour time difference in Sydney it was close to lunch so a drink was not out of the question and apart from a Cattier Brut champagne, there was a full bar to choose from, along with plenty of softer options and hot drinks. The flight to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport took around four and a half hours, and the crew were continually on hand to provide drinks, snacks, or a chat throughout the flight.

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More on the aircraft

Fiji Airways will deploy the A350s on flights to Sydney and Melbourne, largely competing with A330s and 737s. The passenger experience on the airline's A350 will be unrivaled on the very popular routes to Australia and will make for a very comfortable flight to Los Angeles, Vancouver and Hong Kong.

Fiji Airways A350 DQ-FAM
Photo: Michael Doran I Simple Flying

When all four A350s are settled in the airline is looking at new routes such as Dallas, Seattle, Beijing and Seoul, which would be a breeze in the comfort of this business class. The only downside of my Fiji Airways business class experience was that my flight was way too short and I wished it was longer, which is not something you can often say after an international trip.

I traveled as a guest of Fiji Airways for the arrival of the latest A350.