Airlines In The South Pacific I’m Dying To Review

by Zac George

Over the past year or so I’ve slowly been reviewing products that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time but have recently really trying to focus on the Australia/Pacific region as it is where I’m located. The first carrier I went and reviewed was Air Calin both on there A330 and A330neo which was a bit of a disappointing experience but I’m glad I got to see what they were like.

With my focus now on airlines in the Pacific, I’ve chosen my next 4 carriers which I think will be very interesting to trial and talk about.

On this trip, I’d ideally like to take 1 flight in Business as well as 1 in Economy as this will really give me the full experience. All of these airlines also have lounges which of course will be reviewed also.

Solomon Airlines

Solomon Airlines is a small carrier based out of Honiara with a total of 6 aircraft. The airline only operates 1 A320-200 which they received from the now-defunct airline, Strategic. The aircraft operates services to Brisbane, Port Vila, Munda as well as Nadi and features a 2 class configuration.

Solomon Airlines (Image – Solomon Airlines)

The A320-200 features 16 Business Class seats in a 2-2 configuration as well as 120 seats in the Economy section. I was having a look at prices today and was able to find some pretty great Business Class flights starting at around $450 which really surprised me.

Solomon Airlines A320 Business Class (Image – Solomon Airlines)

Air Vanuatu

The next carrier on the list is Air Vanuatu who is based in Port Vila, just under a 3-hour flight from Brisbane. Air Vanuatu is  partnered with Qantas meaning I can earn or redeem points on them, sadly you cannot earn status credits.

The carrier currently has a fleet of 3 aircraft, two 737’s and 1 ATR 72-500 which are used for both domestic and international routes.

Air Vanuatu 737 Business Class (Image – Air Vanuatu)

Pictured below is one of the airlines’ 737-700’s which I think looks absolutely stunning:

Air Vanuatu 737-700 (Image – Air Vanuatu)

Fiji Airways

I’ve actually flown this airline before but this was well and truly before I was writing, just after Air Pacific rebranded as Fiji Airways.

They currently operate a total of 16 aircraft but they’ll be adding to that shortly when they take delivery of their new A350’s in the coming month. They have also pushed forward the starting date of the A350 into Sydney from December 1st so this is a perfect opportunity to give the airline a review.

Fiji Airways is also a Qantas partner (and shareholder) meaning I can earn points & status credits as well as redeem points for an award ticket.

Fiji Airways A350 Business Class

While I have voiced my opinion on the bland look of the Business Class seats and cabin, I’d still very much like to give it a go as it is my favourite Business product, the B/E Super Diamond.

Fiji Airways A350 (Image – Fiji Airways)

Nauru Airlines

Nauru Airlines has a fleet of only 4 aircraft which are all 737-300’s, an aircraft I haven’t yet flown on. I’d really love to fly on a -300 but have also heard some quite interesting tails regarding the overall safety and condition of the aircraft. Even after hearing the stories, I’m still as keen as ever to fly them and see for myself how they perform.

Interestingly, there is no updated and current seat map available online explaining the exact amount of seats on-board so this is an airline that really intrigues me and makes me wonder a few things.

Nauru Airlines (Image – Nauru Airlines)

They also have quite a stunning paint which is pictured below. It also seems they did their photoshoot at Brisbane Airport and not their home airport, odd:

Nauru Airlines 737-300 (Image – Nauru Airlines)

Air Niugini

The airline that interests me the most and one I cannot wait to review is Air Nuigini based out of Port Moresby. They’re unique as they have some of the weirdest or interesting Business Class products I’ve seen, you choose which.

Thier 767 has a 2-1-2 configuration in the Business cabin while their 737-700 is fitted out with lay-flat seats, yes a 737 on a 4-hour flight from Sydney has lay-flat seats, ok…

Air Nuigini is also partnered with Qantas and you’re able to earn and redeem points but sadly not earn status credits just like Air Vanuatu.

Air Niugini 767 (Image – Air Niugini)

Here is the 767 Business Class product for reference:

Air Niugini 767 Business Class (Image – Air Niugini)

As my travel schedule is quite busy at the moment I’m not going to say exactly when these flights will be taken but they all should be reviewed by the end of the year, if all goes to plan.

These carriers are ones I often see at the airport and sit and think about so it’s nice that I’ll finally get to how they perform and stack up to the other airlines in the region.

Air Tahiti Nui is also another airline that I would be interested in doing but I think I best leave that trip for another time, I’d prefer to take my other half, going to a honeymoon destination solo does not sound one bit appealing to me.

 

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3 comments

Chris W. October 24, 2019 - 7:17 am

Just a note that the Vanuatu ATR also flies international. At least I did a year ago. From New Caledonia to Port Vila.

Air Nauru just changed their schedule 🙁 a lot less options.

What about Samoa Airways from Auckland?

Zac George October 24, 2019 - 7:51 am

Luckily I’m BNE based which should make Air Nauru a little easier. Great suggestion too, will definitely consider Samoa.

Goingifboeing October 25, 2019 - 6:29 pm

Air Vanuatu’s 737-800 is fairly new. However they currently utilise one of Nauru Airlines’ 737-300 while their A220’s are on their way.

Nauru Airlines aircraft are configured differently but only 1 aircraft has 6 fixed Classic Business Class seats. Most of their business class seats are convertible with passenger capacity around 130 (all economy configuration)

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