Alaska Mileage Plan to South Pacific: Fiji Airways New Routes, New Premium Service, New Management

Fiji serves as the closest the South Pacific islands have to an air hub. Flights are few and expensive, so having Fiji Airways as an Alaska Airlines award partner is a great advantage to seeing the region. (As reader Jason notes, American Airlines also is a Fiji Airways partner. Compare the award charts as each have advantages such as Alaska’s stopovers versus America’s Fiji domestic award pricing.) You don’t want to rely on Air New Zealand award availability to get around, while other airlines provide spotty coverage.

The big issue with flying Fiji has been reliability. Read Jason Around the World’s Fiji Airways Archives for hilarious tales of the Suva Special Delayed Passenger chocolate cake. Service on major routes seems better than to small islands such as Tuvalu.

I flew Fiji the first time in December, returning from Apia, Samoa to Honolulu on an Alaska award for 27,500 in economy. Good experience all around.

Fiji Airways Fiji Airways economy meal

Fiji has a new CEO since October, is rolling out a Premium Service Team in January, and is adding useful new routes to San Francisco and Singapore.

San Francisco – Nadi will help as a seasonal alternative to their Los Angeles flight. Since with Alaska awards you cannot mix partners, this gives an alternate to finding Alaska award space to Los Angeles. Unfortunately it will only operate twice weekly and only during the months of June, July, August, December and January (2017).

I have looked at assembling an island-hopping trip on Fiji. My big concern has been whether or not to build in large buffers on connections. Alaska’s generous stopover policy gives that flexibility. If reliability improves it will be a big win for all. Maybe soon you’ll see me on that day trip run to Christmas Island or out to Tarawa to pick up the Our Airline connection to Nauru.

Readers, what are your Fiji Airways experiences and are you South Pacific-bound in 2016?

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  • Jason

    I had a great experience with flying Fiji from LAX to Fiji to Auckland. I used American Airlines miles to book it, though. I never really hear their partnership talked about very much. I live near New York so it’s a bit of a nightmare to get from NYC to LAX on Alaska. I had a horrible experience coming back with Air Tahiti Nui, though :(.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Jason – I sure forgot they were a partner, I probably would have used 37,500 AA rather than 27,500 Alaska for that ticket!