On the Ground: I was returning with my family, four of us in total, after a relaxing trip to Fiji. This was a true “Family Business” trip, much like our regular column in Global Traveler (see page 82). At Nadi International, the line for Tabua (business) Class was short and we checked in swiftly and pleasantly. As I do for all flights, I carried my roller bag to the departure and security points. At security, I was told that my bag weighed 26 kilos and the maximum for carry-on was seven. My attempts at negotiation with the security staff were unsuccessful, so we played along and transferred two-thirds of my clothing to my family’s carry-ons. Once inside the Air Pacific Tabua Class lounge I transferred it back and, of course, my hand luggage was fine for the overhead. Unfortunately, this is where Air Pacific lost some points. In the lounge there was a little buffet and a full bar. (15/20)
On Board: It was impressive to see the nose of the Boeing 747-400 nearly close enough to touch as we entered the plane. There is nothing like a 747 for takeoff and landing, and airline aficionados love the sound as the nose landing gear is retracted and you can hear the tires spinning to a stop with a whoop, whoop.We were offered a preflight cocktail as we waited for the rest of the aircraft to board. At first I was not pleased with the idea of a quick menu, but the choices were vast. Air Pacific has the right formula for this return flight: Feed the business class and let them sleep. I selected the vegetarian meal (we had been indulging for a week at Turtle Island Resort). The food was perfect and what Air Pacific called a “light meal” was really quite filling.
After the meal, I watched a movie and then decided to turn in. Now don’t laugh, but I placed some of my carry-on luggage on the floor in front of my seat and turned my standard Fijian business-class seat into a nearly flat bed — the seats are wide enough for you to turn on your side and curl up — and then I slept for eight full hours. When I awoke, I was offered breakfast and we prepared to land at LAX. (35/40)
The Experience: The flight attendants kept the businessclass passengers pleased. The only bad part of the experience was arriving at a remote gate in the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX, then having to board a shuttle bus to the main terminal. (38/40)
Total Score: 88/100
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