The plan today was to fly from Tonga to Samoa via Nadi, Fiji. There was a nice route with a 90 minute connection in Nadi, and I booked all of this before I ever learnt that Fiji Airways and I were soon to enter into an abusive relationship. The first week of this trip I’d received an email from Expedia. It seems Fiji Airways had decided to “retime” the onward connection to Samoa, and I would now have a 5.5 hour connection in Nadi. Instead of leaving at approximately 530pm we would now leave at 11pm and arrive at 230am. Ugh, not desirable at all, but if that was the worst drama I’d have this trip I’m not going to complain.
Unfortunately, three days before the flight, just after I got out of the shower on the Emirates A380, I checked my phone and there was an email. From Fiji Airways. I figured it was something about my Tuvalu refund.
Oh no, not at all. They had “retimed” my flight once again, and it was now going to leave a further 14 hours later – the NEXT DAY. Meaning I’d get stranded overnight in Fiji. UGH. There goes my first day in Samoa. Ok, breathe deeply. Water under the bridge. This is Fiji Airways. At least you get a nice relaxing nice in Fiji now. At least you won’t land in Samoa at 230am. Try and stay positive.
So I did.
Got to the airport, and check-in for Tonga took nearly 45 minutes. The ground handling company was clearly moving on island time, and there was a reasonable breeze in the terminal, so it wasn’t too bad. I asked about the exit row. She disappeared for about 10 minutes to “see if it is possible.” She came back, and without a word gave me a non exit row seat. I asked again. “No, not possible.” That was it.
Based on the flights departure board you’d think they’d be bored and looking for something to do:
Your medium sized wood carvings are ok for carry on, but your wooden knives are not…no matter which way you point them!
Shot of the bustling Nuku’Alofa airport from the passenger dropoff area:
It was a walk to the plane gate, and notice all the friends and relatives waving goodbye to us:
Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever boarded a plane through the rear. It was terrifying.
…but I still managed a smile.
Upon boarding, I asked the flight attendant if by chance the exit rows remained open, I could sit there when the door is closed. “Yes yes, of course.”
Fiji Airways flight 212
Nuku’alofa, Tonga (TBU) to Nadi, Fiji (NAN)
Depart 15:45, Arrive 17:15, Flight Time 1:30
Boeing 737-800, Registration DQ-FJG, Manufactured 1999, Seat 23D
I stalked the exit rows. I actually sat in 23D to deter people from getting the same idea. Nobody showed up. Score! Now really, how much work would it have been for the check-in agent to actually assign me this seat? Clearly too much. I had the entire row to myself!
In the approximately 10 days I’d been away, Fiji had also apparently gotten quite serious about Ebola:
Despite only being a 90 minute flight, Fiji Airways offered a small snack. Another scary sandwich slathered in mayo and mystery meat, and today there was a pasta salad as well. No thanks, not going to risk it. Fortunately it was biscuits and bitter to the rescue again!