Long time readers of my trip reports will remember the last time I tried to go to Tuvalu. I took a four week trip intended to hit all the little island countries in the South Pacific, and due to flight schedules there was little room for error.
Everything was going well, until I tried to go to Tuvalu. See, there’s only three flights a week to Tuvalu, all from Suva, Fiji. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. That means you have to spend two, sometimes three days there. Oh yeah, these flights are also very prone to cancellation since they’re at the edge of the plane’s range, and it has to carry enough extra fuel to get back to Fiji if there’s weather at FUN.
Yes, the airport code for Funafuti, Tuvalu, is FUN. Fun is what I did NOT have the last time I tried to go to Tuvalu. They canceled the flight to FUN. I tried to go again two days later, still no FUN for me. I gave up, and had to admit defeat, and carry on to Samoa.
Oh, and Fiji Airways in their wisdom delayed that flight by 16 hours. That wasn’t fun either. The only good thing I can say about Fiji Airways is that they give you a food voucher when they cancel your flight…and with it you can buy delicious chocolate cake at the one shop in Suva airport. Mmmm the cake. Looking forward to having that again, but paying for it myself.
So, I’m headed back to Fiji now, and I’m going to stay there as long as it takes to get to Tuvalu. I only have 5 countries left to visit, and Tuvalu is the hardest, so gotta get it done! It’ll be my 192nd country visited! I’m hoping it happens on my first or second try so that I can use the rest of my 2.5 week vacation to take the flights I have planned back from Fiji. See, getting to Tuvalu should be easy. I even built in a two day buffer in Fiji on the way there in case I get delayed on the way:
Very straightforward. Hop down to Miami on an American 737, and then a new 777-300ER in business class. Then, I’ve left myself four hours in LA (just in case) and I’ll connect to the 11 hour flight on Fiji Airways to Nadi, Fiji in business class. We will assume that will be delayed…maybe by a whole day…but, hey, buffer. Then it’s off to Funafuti, Tuvalu for two days.
Getting back? Well, the quick and easy way would have been to come back the way I came, and hey, depending how long it takes me to get to Tuvalu I might just do that. But see, if all goes well, two things have conspired against that plan. First, American recently devalued miles in a major way, so I cashed some in for high-value rewards….like Hong Kong to Paris in Cathay Pacific First Class. …and like the new Etihad Apartments on the A380. Finishing it all off will be Etihad First Class on the 787 direct from Abu Dhabi to Washington. All new experiences for me! So, how did I fit this all together?
- So yes, after I get back to Fiji from Tuvalu I’ll be going:
- Nadi, Fiji to Hong Kong on a Fiji Airways A330 in business class – 10+ hours
- Hong Kong to Paris on a Cathay Pacific 777 in first class – nearly 13 hours of pampering
- Paris to London on British Airways in EuroBusiness – aka how many mini bottles of champers can I consume in 45 minutes
- London to Abu Dhabi, UAE on the Etihad A380 in Apartments Class – I wish this was longer than the 7.5 hours it will take. Very excited for my own apartment
- Abu Dhabi to Washington on the Etihad 787-9 in first class for a whopping 14 hours. This should be a very interesting flight.
I’m looking for suggestions of must see/dos on this trip as I’ve never flown Cathay or Etihad before. I hear one of the more unique experiences the Etihad Spa offers in Abu Dhabi is a shave…I wonder if I can get a whole head shave from the guy….
Roughly, the parts for the trip report will be:
- Washington DC, National to Nadi, Fiji with American Airlines and Fiji Airways in business class
- Two days in Fiji
- Nadi to Funafuti with Fiji Airways, and two days in Tuvalu
- Funafuti to Nadi, and three more days in Fiji
- Fiji to Hong Kong with Fiji Airways, two days in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong to Paris in Cathay Pacific First
- Two days in Paris
- Paris to London with British Airways, overnight in London
- London to Abu Dhabi in Etihad A380 Apartments, overnight in Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi to Washington, Dulles in Etihad 787-9 First Class
Sit back and fasten those seatbelts…we’re off in just over 48 hours!