Live an adventurous life of work + travel

My worst flight ever: Why I won’t be flying Fiji Airways again

My worst flight ever: Why I won’t be flying Fiji Airways again

When I’m not happy about something, I’m sure as hell going to tell someone about it. So beware Fiji Airways, you’ve got it coming.

Right now I’m sitting in our hotel room having finally made it to Mexico City, but getting here was about as painful as being doused in hot oil.

What should have been two simple 10 hour and 3 hour flights turned into 36 hours of travel time and $500 AUD of out of pocket expenses, including rebooking our own flights and accommodation.

Here’s the story of how Fiji Airways treated us like insignificant peasants on our recent flights from Sydney to Mexico City via Fiji.


I’d heard that Fiji airways had recently tried to revamp their public image by upgrading some of their planes and improving their food service. With this in mind, I was interested to see how they would compare to the many other full service airlines I’ve flown before.

Fiji Airways

Sydney to Nadi (SYD-NAN)

We booked our flights about 10 months in advance so time changes were always going to be possible, but what I didn’t expect was to be advised of a 9 hour delay only a day before we were due to fly out.

If we were to accept this time change, we’d arrive into Fiji at the incredibly useless time of 3:15 AM, so we opted to change to an early morning flight in order to arrive at an acceptable hour.

Dragging ourselves out of bed at 4:00 AM, we made our way to the airport for our new 6:30am flight, but after checking in we discovered that this flight had now been delayed by an hour. I daydreamed about that extra 60 minutes of sleep I could have had.

Sitting in the gate with our fellow passengers, we noticed that every second person was under the age of 5. This of course meant any attempt at catching up on sleep from our early start was abolished. This was not Fiji Airways fault of course, but it did have us dreading the flight.

Just as we thought we might be able to board, a gate change was announced… to the opposite end of Sydney’s international airport. Along with the other passengers, we grumbled tiredly as we made the 15 minute walk to our new gate.

Finally, we boarded and began the 4 hour flight to Fiji. As you would expect of any flight where the majority of passengers are small children, we were treated to at least 1-3 crying babies in our vicinity at any one time. It was not a restful flight.

Nadi, Fiji

Nadi to Los Angeles (NAN-LAX)

We somewhat enjoyed our 4 days in Fiji even with a bunch of things not going to plan, and organised a taxi back to the airport for the next leg of our trip to LA.

I’d checked the flight status about an hour before we left. Our taxi driver asked us if we were sure that our flight was departing on time as he’d received a notification that it been delayed by 1-2 hours. Assuring him that we’d checked, we continued on to the airport.

The endless line to check in was at a stand still. With no indication of what time our flight would depart and the queue not moving forward, we stood around and wondered what the hell was going on.

And then it was announced. Our flight was delayed until 7:05 AM the next morning, yet another 9 hour delay.

Wishing they had notified us of this before we left the hostel, we stood around for a while longer awaiting further instruction. An announcement was made that they would be giving out food vouchers, but that they would be only valid for use inside the airport.

Not at all satisfied that the airline had apparently ‘run out of hotel vouchers’ for everyone waiting in line, we decided to forego the food vouchers (and a night on the airport floor) and booked a room at a nearby hotel; a decision shared by some other passengers from our flight.

Nadi, Fiji

Arriving at the hotel around 9:00 PM, we had a quick dinner then tried our best to get some sleep before we made our way back to the airport at 5:00 AM.

Once we entered the airport we discovered that yet again, our flight had been delayed. First 20 minutes, then another hour, bringing our total flight delay to 11 hours.

Standing in another glacial pace airport queue, we waited an hour an 15 minutes to check in while the staff seemingly did not much. There were desks open for a flight to Auckland with no one checking in, and instead of helping the passengers for our stupidly delayed flight, the staff sat there and gossiped.

Inside the airport, we got chatting to a family sitting next to us in the lounge who confirmed a rumour that we’d heard earlier. Apparently a week prior, a luggage carrier had run into a Fiji Airways plane, which had caused a chain reaction of delays that Fiji Airways had somehow been unable to amend.

Fiji Airways

Los Angeles to Mexico City (LAX-MEX)

We eventually boarded the flight and made it to LAX. I thought this would be the end of our troubles, but no, it gets worse. Much worse.

What was once an 11 hour stopover in LA (where we’d planned to leave the airport and explore Venice Beach) was now going to be about 15 minutes – not nearly enough time for us to make it to our connecting flight to Mexico City.

Fiji Airways staff were on hand after we disembarked to help out the passengers stranded by their excessive delays. A nice gesture, considering they’d done nothing to assist us at any other stage.

They gave us a hotel and told us we were booked on an AeroMexico flight at 6:30 AM. As it was already 1:30 AM, we spent 2 hours having a nap and a shower in the room then head back to the airport for our flight…

Only to have the AeroMexico staff tell us that we were not booked on the flight.

Fiji Airways

It was at this stage that I burst into tears, and not in a graceful movie star kind of way – more like a can’t control my excessive sobbing because I’m so fucking tired and frustrated kind of way.

We extensively searched the airport for any Fiji Airways staff, but their check-in counters were a ghost town.

Not knowing what else to do, we tried calling their customer service number numerous times, only to be told that they couldn’t get us onto another flight until 7:30 AM the next day (a full 24 hours away) and that we could only receive a hotel for the night if we could find Fiji Airways staff at the airport (of which there weren’t any, and wouldn’t be until the next flight arrived late that evening).

Pulling our hair out in frustration, we went ahead and booked ourselves onto another AeroMexico flight at our own expense, departing in 4 hours time.

We would arrive into Mexico City about 11 hours after we were originally supposed to, coincidentally the same amount of time that our original flight from Nadi was delayed. If we hadn’t have booked our own flight, we could have added another 20 hours on to our travel time.


Fiji Airways

How an airline can be so incompetent at amending something as simple as one delayed flight, I will never know.

We’ve now attempted to email Fiji Airways for compensation for our hotel, our meals, and the rebooking of our onwards flights when we arrived, which came to a total of $500 AUD. We’ll find out in the next 60 days whether Fiji Airways will redeem themselves.

Needless to say I won’t be flying Fiji Airways again, and I’d encourage you to do the same if you place any sort of value on your time and sanity.


Update to our situation as of October 2015

Well, it took about 100 emails between ourselves, Fiji Airways, and our travel agent, but we finally got something back… a refund of $412 AUD for the unused LAX-MEX segment of our flights.

This is all we could get. No compensation at all for the hotel or additional cost in our rebooked flights.

At this point, I’m satisfied that we were able to get something back, but getting anything out of Fiji Airways was like drawing blood from a stone. My opinion on Fiji Airways has not changed, I will still never be flying with them again!

Have you ever had such a terrible flight experience? Share your story with us in the comments!


You might also like:

Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

62 Responses to “My worst flight ever: Why I won’t be flying Fiji Airways again”

  1. Kirstie

    Wow, that sounds miserable! I was annoyed by Fiji Airways’ lack of option to reserve seats in advance and less than friendly in-flight service, but that’s nothing compared to what you experienced. I will keep this in mind for my future Sydney to L.A. flights!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      They sure don’t do a great job of being a full service airline! I was also annoyed that I could reserve seats or do an online check in. I think for your future Aus-USA flights you’d be much better off with a direct flight and a more reliable airline!

      Reply
    • Ben S.

      Hi Kirstie — The key to reserving your seats in advance on Fijiairways.com is once you get your confirmation code after you book and pay for the ticket, you can then look it up and choose your seats. It’s a little backwards of a process than what we’re used to, but once I figured that out, it made it more straightforward. Fly Virgin Australia from SYD-LAX, they have the BEST service! I have flown both Virgin Australia & Quantas, and Virgin Australia wins HANDS DOWN! Quantas was ok, but Virgin Australia is AWESOME! Can you also maybe give me a heads up about their less than friendly in-flight service on Fiji airways? Thanks, it helps to be prepared.

      Reply
    • lulu thomas

      Gosh family members are stuck in fiji right now as I write this and will be missing their flight to South America. I should have learnt my lesson when they did not refund my previous airline ticket. This is going to be my last time with them and i will be telling my 20 friends to tell their friends and their friends after that to travel with another airline.

      Reply
  2. Katie

    Horrendous! Can you claim on travel insurance if you can’t get money back from Fiji Air? I definitely won’t be flying them after hearing this!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Maybe, but I don’t think insurances cover for delays usually. It’s really Fiji Airlines who should be compensating me for this mess, but if they don’t then I’ll attempt to take it up with my insurance company!

      Reply
  3. Karilyn

    Sad to say it’s not just Fiji airlines! We flew to India with Air Canada and it took over 40 hrs due to delays and missed flights. And we were with a 4 yr old! And same thing in the way back, except with the added misery of lost luggage! Sucks, but as my 4 yr old taught me/l- you gotta just roll with it!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh no! And Air Canada are supposed to be a full service airline too! Gosh I think if they had have lost my luggage as well I might have just lost it completely and run screaming around the airport.

      Reply
    • Petri Hottola

      This probably does not make you feel any better but incidentally, I myself was

      1) delayed by Air Canada for 36 h, in 2014, without food (their meal vouchers only covered drinks). Lost my next two flights, and had to buy a new ticket for the second one.

      2) stranded in Guadalcanal by Fiji Airways, in 2014! They canceled their flights there indefinitely and left me on my own. Had to buy flights to Brisbane and from there, after a night in hotel, to Nadi, to catch my LAX flight!

      No compensation, in either case, and equally cold customer service. Two worst airlines I have ever encountered, in a sample of 103.

      Reply
  4. Chris O'Keefe

    Holy crap, Ashlea! That sounds horrendous! I can’t recall ever having had a flight experience that bad. I hope your stay in Mexico makes up for it! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Of all the flights I’ve taken in my lifetime (to hazard a guess it would be around 150) this was by far the worst one! Thanks Chris, I have a feeling it will 🙂

      Reply
  5. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    That is so awful! How can something that is specifically for customer service screw up so badly?

    And even if it was something that happened a week earlier to delay all those flights, they could AT LEAST tell you ahead of time since it was obviously a major problem! I hope you can travel much easier now that all of that is behind you!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s exactly what I was thinking! Surely they could have given us notice/changed the flight schedules instead of mucking around with delays on the day. It’s totally ridiculous!

      Reply
  6. Annemarie

    Good grief! That was really terrible. Glad you let the world know about this incompetence. I’m glad this horror show is over for you two now. Enjoy your trip from now on.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Absolutely, I felt it was important to let people know my experience so that they don’t have to go through the same nonsense as I did! Thanks Annemarie 🙂

      Reply
  7. Leah | KidBucketList

    oh my gosh!! This is horrific. We have flown Fijian airlines previously (we booked Qantas but they were code sharing) and had no problems other than the inflight entertainment failing. I feel sick thinking about your adventure.

    I’ve had similar delays (24 hours) but all have been my own doing (mixing up dates, not turning up on time) but each airline has always helped.

    Argh!!! I don’t think we’ll fly Fijian airlines again

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ah no, it’s horrible when you stuff up at those kinds of things! My husband has done that too, but the airline wasn’t helpful at all and it ended up being a very expensive mistake 🙁

      Reply
  8. jo

    I fear I shall be expecting loads of delays in my 8 months abroad. How horrible Ash. I really hope you get your money back.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh yeah, you have a bunch of flights in your trip! Delays are pretty normal but they’re usually only a couple of hours, so lets hope any you get will be limited to that!

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      One of my friends said the same thing! I’m actually surprised I held it together that long 😛 Thanks Valeria!

      Reply
  9. JC from Holland

    I think i would have an ouburst of complete rage, really, airlines that do not care about costumers should not be allowed to transport any. If they are that messed up on the ground, how can you trust them up in the air?

    Reply
  10. Sara

    Oh man, this is so awful! I’m sorry that your trip got off to such a bad start but I hope Mexico can woo you enough to make it all a distant memory.

    Reply
  11. Diana Southern @ North to South

    Wow, this is super helpful to know, since Ian and I were looking into flying Fiji when we go to Australia/New Zealand later this year. I probably would have started crying way sooner than you did. Kudos for holding it together for so long!

    Anyway, after all that crap, I hope you guys have an awesome time in Mexico City. We were just there last month, and it’s an awesome place. Make sure you go see the Pyramids of Teotihuacan (You can get there by public bus for super cheap), Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, and Xochimilco — those were my personal favorites!

    Let me know if you need any other ideas of things to do!! We have new friends in the area, thanks to Airbnb, and they had a million awesome suggestions for us when we were there. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Don’t do it, any other airline will be better than Fiji for your trip to Aus!

      I can’t believe I held it together for that long haha. I think it was the moment that I realised that I wouldn’t actually be getting to Mexico City anytime soon and that there was nothing I could do about it. Unbelievably frustrating!

      Thanks heaps for the tips Diana! We’re hoping to see the Pyramids tomorrow, and have some spare time this afternoon and Thursday to check out a few other sites 😀

      Reply
  12. Alexandria

    Really does sound like hell on earth. I would have lost my mind. I have sever anxiety and I can guarantee I would have had a breakdown.. plus Edward has motion sickness and breaks out in sweats on flights and get’s sick. We probably wouldn’t have traveled for like a year after that experience.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      The motion sickness and anxiety would make these kinds of situations so much worse 🙁 I’m definitely adverse to flying after all this, but I already have flights booked to Bolivia and USA over the next few weeks!

      Reply
  13. Suzanna

    This is awful! I get pretty angry when flights are delayed by an hour!
    I lived in Mexico City for a year so let me know if you’d like any tips! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I do too, so this was a whole new level of frustration!
      Thanks Suzanna 🙂 I just left Mexico City to start the journey across Mexico, but I managed to fit a fair bit into my stay in the city!

      Reply
  14. Julia

    Oh I feel so bad for you! I’ve never had anything like this happen to me, but will without a doubt never be flying Fiji. So unprofessional, especially is they are blaming it on a minor event from a week ago.

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

    Reply
  15. Edwina

    Max delay I’ve ever had was 54 hours… not kidding sadly. US Airways failing to fly us from Jamaica back to New York claiming they couldn’t fly because of an incoming hurricane. Other airlines flew the same and similar routes all day long, with the same type of plane, so not sure what made them unable to fly other than not wanting to… and because it was weather related, they said they didn’t need to compensate us.

    Originally they rebooked us on a flight that the next day, then that was canceled (by then the hurricane had actually arrived… and we were in it thanks to the airline not flying us out in time…), and they offered us a flight ONE WEEK later without paying anything towards our hotel bill. Several calls later (some screaming and sobbing involved at that point…) they rebooked us on a flight two days later.

    Nearly didn’t make that one either because a, they overbooked it like crazy, b, check in took three hours and c, at the gate they wanted to refuse me boarding because I didn’t have a US visa in my passport (I don’t need one). Took three gate people to clear that one up. We then missed our connecting flight in Philadelphia too. Were sent to the wrong end of the airport for a new connecting flight. Ran like mad chickens to make the last flight to New York of the day and just made it. Don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to get home after a vacation as that day!

    One day I should write a top 10 worst flights stories. There have been a lot.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ooh ouch, 54 hours is insane. Sounds as though US Airways treated you terribly! I have a theory that airlines just pick a random excuse on the day as to why they are delayed, and it actually has nothing to do with the actual problem!

      Reply
    • Ben S.

      Oh Edwina — you POOR THING! And “Caribbean time” is like “Fiji time” apparently 😛 I think the last time I flew US Airways was back in 2007 from California to NYC and back, and I dubbed it “Useless Airways” and NEVER flew them again. I’m actually glad American swallowed them up — not that American Airlines is anything special either, but AT LEAST I’ve never had an experience like a 54 hour delay with them. They did lose my luggage once though…… 🙂

      Reply
  16. Jo

    That’s awful customer service, but I would say after a couple of trips to Fiji it would be pretty typical. Everything is done in “Fiji Time” ie when they feel like it. We got stranded in the middle of the ocean on jet skis that failed due to little or no maintenance all the while watching a storm coming in. Fiji service is pretty bad all round.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Wow, that’s terrible! I thought I’d be ok with the whole ‘Fiji Time’ thing until all these delays happened, it got me so annoyed!

      Reply
      • Jese Tabualevu

        I have been travelling to Fiji 3-4 times a year,just got back 2 days ago,my flight was always on time.I dont think it happens all the time.

        Reply
  17. Allison

    I’ve never even heard of Fiji Air, so I definitely wouldn’t have been flying with them anytime soon, but god that sounds awful!

    I fly stand-by on another major airline for free thanks to a family member’s employee benefits. I’ve had the occasional not so pleasant experience that one would expect flying stand-by. However, if I had something so awful happen to me when I actually paid for a ticket, I would be livid!

    Reply
  18. Zita

    oh wow, that is all kinds of horrible!! I am glad you weren’t alone to have to deal with that! I travel alone and am not sure how I would have coped! Pretty sure the uncontrollably sobbing would have happened a lot earlier if it was me! Fingers crossed you get compensation because that is ridiculous!
    I fly Bangkok airways about 4 times recently and all flights were delayed by some margin (no where near as long as yours) but the thing that got me was that there want any announcement over the speaker system, the time just changed in the screen at the gate, 5 mins before I was due to board it flashed up the ‘Flight delayed, now departing at ….’ An hour later! The only thing I d to do was ring my accomodation and get them to change my airport pick up time which was not a drama at all, compared to your story I should just shut up really!
    Good luck and hope the rest of your trip is a success!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It was definitely nice to have Robert there! Traveling alone would have made it feel so much worse :S I don’t understand why airlines can’t give you more than 5 minutes notice for delayed flights – surely they know much earlier and can save us passengers some time and hassle!

      Reply
  19. Stacey

    That sounds like a terrible way to start your trip. I feel your pain. Max delay for me is about 20 hours with United.
    I think we all expect at some point or another flights will be delayed, bags lost etc. but it is how the airlines deal with the mishaps that frustrates us the most. In my case it was a flight from Houston to London and we were turned around over Chicago and brought back to Houston due to an issue with something on the plane. Fair enough, things happen but it was how United handled it that wasn’t up to expectations for a major US airline (as in they seemed to have no plan to deal with it). To add insult to injury it took them 8 months to respond to my letter of complaint. Just a tip- if you don’t get a result to your letter try contacting them on social media. It was finally private messages on Facebook that got United’s attention.
    No worries about the crying. Pretty sure I would have been right there with you at that point. And sometimes you just need to let it all out so you can go back to dealing with the issue at hand. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s definitely the way that we were treated that was the worst thing! I can deal with delays, but I can’t deal with being treated like I’m insignificant and that my needs aren’t important. Sounds like you had a similar experience – I really hope this whole debacle doesn’t take 8 months to sort out! :S

      Reply
  20. Jackie

    OMG, what a horrible story! I’m so sorry you had to go through that! I’ve had a few nightmare flight delays/cancellation days, but nothing of these epically bad proportions. I have to say, actually, that British Airways redeemed themselves in my eyes when we got stranded in LHR overnight on the way back from a family wedding in Dublin to JFK. Heathrow fog messed up a ton of flights, and the rebooking queue was 7 hours long, but the airline rep told us so and gave me the daily allowance information so that we could make our own hotel bookings and request reimbursement later.

    It was still a headache trying to rebook our flight (we ended up having to just trek back to LHR in the morning at 6am the next day to try and do it at the airport – the rebooking hotline was constantly busy…and then when we got through, we were told we had to rebook on Iberia, who apparently sold the ticket to us through the 3rd party travel agent site), but in the end I got all my $ back and we got home less than 24 hours late. Twitter was key – the BA Twitter account actually responded to me before anyone else and attempted to help me out – which was great and appreciated.

    We even got a breakfast voucher so we could eat breakfast at the airport after checking in. I truly hope that you get reimbursed. I recommend raising hell on Twitter in the meantime! I’ll RT you!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Jackie! I’ve mentioned them a few times on Twitter and have gotten their attention… only to have nothing come of it! They’re such a bunch of idiots, seriously. I’ll keep trying through different platforms though, thanks for the tips!

      Reply
  21. Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia

    Wow that is the most infuriating story I’ve read in a while. I’m still fuming at Thai Lion Air for the budget flight I’ve been trying to purchase for the last four days. I called their customer service four separate times. Apparently their website doesn’t play well with foreign credit cards (and they may or may not have decided they no longer take USA credit cards) and they only take Thai credit cards over the phone. Their solution is for me to either wait until the last minute and book it at the airport in Thailand (and obviously pay a way higher price) or “ask a Thai friend to book it for you”. How the heck am I supposed to have a Thai friend? The last guy I talked to asked if I wanted to complain to someone. No I just want to pay you money!! I’ve never had so much difficulty trying to give money to someone in my life. I guess I’ll just have to shell out the extra money for Air Asia…

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It always amazes me when you’re trying to give money to a company and they don’t want to accept it. Like seriously, what is a company’s aim if not to make money from people buying their product? 😛

      Reply
  22. Kay Dougherty

    Fiji Airways has a reputation for doing what you experienced, They have actually improved their timeliness over their previous dismal record but I realize that isn’t any consolation! And they have the worst food imaginable – even for an airlines. I’ve flown them to Fiji twice in the last year from LAX and didn’t have any problems but only “enjoyed” it when they pumped us up to business class on the return flight last year. I don’t know if they’ll even respond to you they’re so bad. We’re stuck in the U.S. because they are literally the only airline that flies to Fiji. It appears when you look for flights as if others go there but it’s all codeshare and the flight is always on Fiji Airways. Sorry – what a nightmare! What’s so weird is that Fijian’s are so nice and they airline is so dreadful. Ugh.

    Reply
  23. Rhonda

    Worst customer service and totally unprofessional. First and last time flying with such an incompetent airline. Your story just solidified my decision.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Sorry to hear you had a similar experience with them, Rhonda! I’m happy to name and shame so that other people don’t have to go through the same ordeal.

      Reply
  24. Peter Wilkes

    Hello Ashlea, I can understand what happened and sympathise with you.
    Our recent Fiji holiday 19-29 June 2015 was affected by our outgoing flight being cancelled several times.
    Our party of four – my wife Sandy, our 13 year old grandson Adriaan, friend Peter Kapernick and I were booked to fly out together from Brisbane’s International airport. This was on Air Fiji, scheduled to depart Brisbane 00:30 hours Friday 19 June 2015. Several hours before, this flight was cancelled and rescheduled to depart 10:30 hours Friday 19 June 2015. This flight eventually arrived late into Brisbane around 10:10 hrs. Around 10:40 hrs an announcement by the airlines representative (McKenzie’s) on the airport’s PA. There was some trouble with this plane and the departure would be delayed for 30 minutes.
    The next flight announcement was made before midday. Citing a technical problem was delaying our departure, further information would be made soon. Around 12:45 hrs the next announcement was made. Lunch vouchers would be available from the gate service desk. As we arrived ten minutes later, an announcement was made that lunch vouchers would not be released. Basically this flight would depart shortly.
    Around 13:20 hrs the next announcement was that vouchers were being made available. We all waited patiently until around 15:00 hrs. I then made a decision to approach an Air Fiji ground crew (McKenzie’s) staff member. While talking with this staff member I was looking at our airplane (Boeing 767-400). The starboard engine’s engine cover was held up and three engineers were working on this engine. I was told that an engine part was needed to be replaced and this would arrive from interstate.
    By 17:00 hrs the next major announcement was this flight was cancelled and hotel arrangements would be made for passengers. By 19:00 hrs we arrived at the Mecure North Quay (Brisbane City) hotel by coach.
    Around 0:40 hrs Saturday 20 June 2015 a hotel representative called our grandson’s and Peter Kapernick’s hotel room. They were told quickly get packed and arrive with their bags in the hotel’s lobby. The message was, a bus would shortly take them to the airport to get on a flight departing Brisbane at 03:00 hrs. My wife and I were in another room, on a higher floor. We did not receive a telephone call from hotel or Air Fiji staff. Our grandson called us from the lobby, asking why we were not in the lobby. My wife immediately rushed down to the lobby. There Sandy was told that the airport transfer was a “false alarm” and passengers should return to their rooms.
    While my wife was in the hotel lobby, using my smart phone I looked at the Brisbane Airport Corporations flight departures listing. There were no flights departing Brisbane for Fiji between 03:00-08:00 hrs Saturday 20 June 2015. On discovering this “ghost” flight I contact Air Fiji’s call centre (1800 230 150) at 01:15 hrs. Celestney was the shift supervisor. The male call centre operator I talked with confirmed that there was no Air Fiji flight leaving 03:00 hrs 20 June 2015 from Brisbane. I was told that passengers would be transferred to other flights for their travel to Fiji. No time frame was offered.
    This operator could not confirm with me that our party of four could travel together. I told him that was not good enough. I asked to talk to his supervisor. He told me “Celestney” was busy. I then asked if he could transfer us to a Virgin flight departing 09:25 hrs. This Air Fiji call centre operator told me he couldn’t make this booking.
    Bighting the bullet I called our travel agent Flight Centre’s call centre. Arranged to fly out on a 9:25 am flight to Nadi using Virgin. I get the impression that Air Fiji in this case don’t have sufficient communication & business management skills to organise a child’s party. I do hope their new CEO, from South Africa, can make come positive changes to their business culture.
    Regards
    Peter

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh, that sounds awful, Peter! Sounds like you had an equally bad experience with the airline. I didn’t know about the new CEO, hopefully they can up their game a little!

      Reply
  25. Nathan Anderson

    Wow, what a horrible experience! I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to fly Fiji Airways…
    I can’t believe they failed so consistently and so spectacularly, and then didn’t even go the extra mile to reimburse you for ALL of your expenses. Hopefully you’re able to get some of that through insurance.

    The good thing is, things have got to go up from here!

    Reply
  26. Melissa

    My worst trip ever started out with a mechanical failure from Southwest Airlines. Silly me I booked my trip to LAX through Southwest and then my trip to Sydney through Fiji airlines. The mechanical failure caused a 4 hour delay which caused me to miss my flight to Fiji. I called and they told me to call my travel agent since I didn’t book with them directly. I called my travel agent and they told me to call the airline since the flight was within 2 hours of canceling. When I called back to Fiji airlines they told me that they could cancel but they would need a letter from Southwest confirming my flight troubles. Southwest sent the email, booked me a hotel in LA (which I was now stuck in for 24 hours since no flight through any airline would leave at 1 am) but even after receiving the email Fiji Airlines stated that it wasn’t there fault and that they would only refund me the taxes for this portion of my flight ($84 on a $1100 ticket) they told me that I could pay for the next flight out in 24 hours for the price of $1300 ONE WAY more than I paid for the original round trip ticket. I bit the bullet and bought a new ticket with Delta/Virgin airlines. I guess the next part was bad planning on my part but I wanted to visit both Sydney and dive the great barrier reef in 1 trip so this 24 hour delay made me miss my flight to Cairns and my dive trip ($586) the next day. Fiji airlines did nothing to help me with unfortunate situation in anyway shape or form. They only agreed to keep the second half of my ticket intact for the original $1100 price.

    Now someone at this point is thinking well they aren’t REALLY required to help you with the flight since it wasn’t there fault. It was crappy that they weren’t willing to help (most airlines would have done something instead of trying to charge me an additional $1300) but this isn’t actually the worst part of my story or the end of Fiji Airlines incredibly bad customer service. So 28 hours and $800 later I started my vacation. The morning of my trip home (8 am when I woke up, for my 2 pm flight) I found out that my Fiji Airlines flight home was cancelled due to cyclone Winston. I spent 2 1/2 hours trying to get a hold of someone to find out what they were planning to do. Fiji airlines told me that they would not transfer me to another airline that wouldn’t stop in Fiji, I would have to “wait until it was safe to fly with them” 4 DAYS LATER is what they offered me for a flight with NO HOTEL accommodations because this was an act of god and NOT THEIR FAULT. Not willing to stay in a foreign country with no place to stay for 4 days I finally gave up and booked my trip home with Hawaiian airlines (another $750 ticket). Because I wasted so much time on the phone with Fiji airlines I missed any early flights and ended up having to catch a flight at 9 pm but missed my flight with Southwest in LAX. Southwest after hearing my story put me on the next available flight at 11 am the next morning and didn’t charge me any flight change fees or ticket adjustments. I got a hotel in LAX for the night (my cost) and FINALLY made it home only 21 hours late. I called Fiji airlines and they are adamant that they are not giving any refunds or partial refunds (besides the taxes for the ticket $112) since this delay was not their fault and they won’t compensate me for any hotels, flight changes or addition tickets. NEVER again with Fiji Airlines!!!!!

    Reply
  27. Jan

    I have just had a horrendous experience with Fiji Airways as well. I have just submitted the claim for my luggage that was lost for 23 days. Like everyone else, the service was absolutely appalling. I will never fly with them again if I can possibly avoid it. I could go on ….. but really, my experience is so similar to the above, I have almost given up hope of receiving any compensations whatsoever.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      23 days! Wow, that’s a long time to be without your luggage. Best of luck with your claim, Jan – if it’s anything like the process I went through, you’ll have to fight very hard for it!

      Reply
  28. Kathryn

    As a wife of a pilot I can tell you that delays are unavoidable and interrupt staff time also. Safety is paramount when flying and having upset passengers is preferable to a disaster. It’s the nature of the travel.

    Reply
  29. Steph

    I came across your page because I as well HATE Fiji airways like despise! I’m trying to get a refund for my flight and I get nothing is it better to call? When I email them I get one email a day with no straight forward answer…I’m so pissed!

    Reply
  30. Ben S.

    I WISH I had read of your nightmare odyssey BEFORE booking on Fiji Airways for my first trip to the Islands this coming May, 2017. However, it’s the only airline that the agency that I booked my trip to Fiji with uses. I am HOPING & PRAYING that the LAX-NAN flight will go smoothly with no delays or headaches. LAX runs pretty manically, if not efficiently, so MAYBE that will have an impact on Fiji’s flight operations for my overnight flight — fingers DEFINITELY crossed!

    Being based in California, as you can probably imagine, I get to Mexico frequently, for business, kayaking trips, diving trips etc…seven proverbial words: DO NOT EVER FLY AEROMEXICO TO MEXICO! They are one of the WORST airlines imaginable (along with Fiji in your experience, obviously) to fly with. NO ONE I have EVER talked to who travels frequently to Mexico has had a pleasant experience with them, EVER. I refuse to fly them period.

    For future Mexico trips, my advice to you is to fly either Alaska Airlines (they have non-stop LAX-MEX flights that are dependable, with decent service, and cheap upgrades to First Class), Interjet (Mexico’s version of Jet Blue) — I’ve flown them in between Cancun & Havana, and from LAX to Los Cabos, and they are EXCELLENT! They also offer direct non-stop LAX-MEX flights as well. Very good service. I HIGHLY recommend them.

    The third option is Virgin America (which is my PERSONAL favorite airline operating in the US right now). And, since you guys have Virgin Australia (fly them next time from SYD-LAX, I would) you understand the joys of having a chic, hip low fare airline that gives you superior service. However, Virgin America only flies from LAX-Los Cabos or Cancun, not to Mexico City. Another word of advice: while Mexico City is an experience in and of itself, there are other places in Mexico to visit that are WAY MORE charming and relaxing — and checking out Baja by going through Los Cabos, or the Yucatan peninsula via Cancun, are both trips I would HEARTILY recommend. Mexico can be an amazing experience, or it can be HELL ON EARTH. Avoiding AeroMexico COMPLETELY is the VERY important first step towards it being a better experience.

    So far, with making my arrangements on Fiji Airways, at least, has been fairly easy. Since I have a conference in Suva at the beginning of my trip for work, they are paying for Business Class from LAX-NAN so that’s kind of a plus. I also was able to pick my return seat NAN-LAX online at fijiairways.com with extra legroom in the bulkhead row in Economy class once I had gotten my confirmation code from the agent who booked my ticket. Maybe that’s the key with Fiji Airways: use a travel agent for booking the tickets instead of buying by yourself online.

    The thing that scares me most though, about your experience with Fiji Airways is the monstrously long delays. I have to catch a connecting flight at LAX back up to the Bay Area when I return from Fiji, and even though I have timed it out for that flight to be three hours after I land at LAX from Nadi, if my flight coming from Nadi is horribly delayed, then I could potentially be stuck an additional night in Nadi, PLUS, miss my connecting flight back from LAX to San Francisco. And then be stuck in a similar quandry. However, Virgin runs many commuter flights on that route and if you miss one, they’ll usually let you hop on the next one. Anyway, I am SO SORRY that happened to you, and I hope you had some good memories of your trip, despite the travel nightmares. Happy and safe future travels, and next time, I will book on Hawaiian Airlines and fly through Honolulu to any South Pacific destinations. More dependable service anyway.

    Reply
  31. Rabia

    I would also never fly with Fiji Airways. I heard they do delays and cancellations to maximise revenue. Blame their Revenue Management people. It’s nothe right and a horrible thing to do treating people this way.

    Reply
  32. Mona Liza Santos

    Oh my that’s crazy! I’m actually about to fly and experience Fiji Airlines tonight. Hope we don’t encounter that same situation. Crossing my fingers!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS