Fiji Airways Launches Flights to Vancouver

 

Vancouver has sure been popular lately with new route announcements, with Air Canada launching both Vancouver–Osaka and Vancouver–Bangkok, as well as JetBlue launching Vancouver–New York JFK.

In the latest announcement of good news for the city, a brand new airline will also be coming to Canada for the first time via Vancouver: Fiji Airways.

Vancouver represents Fiji Airways’s first foray into the Canadian market, offering additional South Pacific connections for Canadians and Americans alike. Let’s have a look at the details.

Fiji Airways’s New Vancouver–Nadi Flights

Fiji Airways will begin flying to Vancouver on November 25, 2022, with flights operating twice weekly. Flights are set to depart in both directions on Mondays and Fridays, based on the following daily schedule:

  • FJ880 Nadi (NAN) to Vancouver (YVR), departing 10:15pm and arriving 1:20pm
  • FJ881 Vancouver (YVR) to Nadi (NAN), departing 9:40pm and arriving 5:30am two days later

The flight will be operated by an Airbus A330 with 24 2-2-2 angled-flat seats in business class and 249 seats in economy.

The northbound flight clocks in at just over 11 hours, and the southbound flight will last around 11 hours 50 minutes, so having at least an angled-flat seat in business class, though not quite as comfortable as a lie-flat seat, will certainly come in handy.

In terms of onboard product, Fiji Airways’s Airbus A330 is in no way revolutionary. Rather, it’s all about the convenience of flying to Fiji on a non-stop option for West Coast travellers. 

Indeed, this will represent Canada’s only direct link to Fiji. Within North America, Fiji Airways also operates to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

Fiji Airways also boasts a decent network to points beyond within the South Pacific, including flights to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide in Australia, as well as to Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington in New Zealand.

Booking Fiji Airways’s New Vancouver–Nadi Flights

First off, we can take a look at the cash prices. There’s no variance in the price throughout the calendar: the Vancouver–Fiji flight consistently sells for $754 one-way or $838 round-trip in economy. 

Prices in business class price out at around $4,841 one-way or around $6,117 round-trip.

When it comes to booking on points, it’s worth noting that Fiji Airways has their own loyalty program called Tabua Club. However, they don’t have any credit card transfer partners, so it’s one we generally gloss over.

Rather, the best way to book Fiji Airways is using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, with a very reasonable award chart, as well as American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Using Alaska miles, a direct flight from Vancouver to Nadi on Fiji Airways will cost 40,000 miles one-way in economy class or 55,000 miles in business class.

However, note that “South Pacific” on the award chart denotes New Zealand as well, which would represent a fantastic sweet spot. The cost of flying from Vancouver to New Zealand with a free stopover in Fiji is the same cost as flying only from Vancouver to Nadi. 

Business class award space on Fiji Airways is hard to come by, with economy being a lot more common. A few months ago, we saw Alaska Airlines running up to 50% off Fiji Airways redemptions, and I’d love to see this promotion return in future years with the new Vancouver–Fiji route in play.

How Is Fiji Airways Business Class?

On the Airbus A330-200s that will be flying to Vancouver, Fiji Airways will be offering a 2-2-2 angled-flat product with a total of 24 business class flights.

Note that Fiji Airways also has new Airbus A350s with fully lie-flat seats, but those planes are currently only operating to Los Angeles among Fiji Airways’s North American destinations.

Needless to say, angled-flat seats are less than ideal for an 11-hour flight across the Pacific. Given the choice and flexibility, I’d likely pick a more comfortable connection in Los Angeles even if I were based in Vancouver.

For Canadians based in other parts of the country, flying via Los Angeles is a no-brainer since you’d have to connect anyway. However, keep in mind that you remain at the mercy of award space availability, so your choices may be narrow.

In general, flying to the South Pacific doesn’t usually come with the glitz and glamour of the world’s best premium products, given that it’s primarily a leisure market that’s lower in revenue and more price-sensitive. Convenience and availability will most likely outweigh comfort when planning travel down to this part of the world.

Thus, those of us who book the new Vancouver–Fiji flight will be primarily motivated by the destination, so I don’t view the relatively poor business class product as a deal-breaker. 

Conclusion

As of November 25, 2022, Fiji Airways will be operating twice-weekly round-trip flights from Vancouver to Nadi on Mondays and Fridays.

While the route will be served by an Airbus A330 with angle-flat seats, this is still a welcome development that offers Western Canadians a new nonstop option for flying to Fiji, as well as visiting Fiji as a stopover en route to Australia or New Zealand.

In particular, the value proposition of using 55,000 Alaska miles one-way from North America to Fiji or New Zealand is excellent, providing that you’re able to find award space.

 

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