Fiji Airways ensures the kids are all right

December 19, 2017
Fijian lounge new kids nanny
LaiLai Land features a Fijian nanny. Photo: Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways didn’t forget the kids when it designed its new lounge at Nadi International Airport.

The newly-opened Fiji Airways Premier Lounge comes with a supervised area for the ankle-biters to keep them out of trouble while their parents relax with a cold drink and some tasty local produce.

The designated children’s room comes complete with a qualified Fijian nanny – a staple of Fijian resorts — and thought to be an Australasian first.

Wittily named LaiLai Land, it is a glass-panelled playroom visible from the family area.

“We wanted to offer as many authentic Fijian touches as possible in the space, and something that Fiji is world-famous for: our genuine hospitality and care,’’ Fiji Airways chief executive Andre Viljoen told AirlineRatings.

“It was only fitting to include a Fijian nanny service, that we know parents will love. We believe this offering in a lounge is a first for the region.”

The 200-seat lounge is free to the airline’s business class but is open to other passengers for a fee of $F99 ($US49) for adults or $F249 for a family of two adults with two kids under 12.

Fiji Premier lounge new
The new Fiji Airways Premier Lounge. All photos: Fiji Airways

Other features in the lounge, situated on the ground floor of the international departures concourse, include a media room with seating for eight and a 65-inch LED TV, a luxury pay-for-use spa, a live greenery wall and a Fijian bean cart offering local sweets and savouries.

Fijian bean carts are a twist on the increasingly popular food trucks and complement a full-service kitchen and a buffet featuring local and international food.

Fiji Lounge new
The live greenery wall.

Similar carts sell savoury and sweet snacks at markets and bus terminals in towns throughout Fiji

Even the lighting has a local twist, with a constellation of stars on the ceiling representing the Fijian summer and winter skies.

There also a business centre, a barista service and a self-service bar with beers, wine and soft drinks.

Fiji Lounge new business centre
The Fiji lounge business centre.

“We’re proud to be able to offer this product to our business class guests, Tabua Club members, guests of our partner airlines as well as pay-for-use customers,’’ Viljoen said.

Fiji Lounge dining
Dining in the new lounge.

The lounge opening is latest of several developments announced by Fiji’s national carrier.

The airline earlier this year started a new route to Adelaide, adding the South Australian capital to the existing destinations of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

And in July, 2018, it will begin three-times weekly flights between Nadi and Tokyo Narita.

The Fijian government hopes to use the flights to boost economic links between the two countries while the airline hopes to capitalise on the high interest in outbound travel from Japan.

The new service will offer more than 80,000 seats per year between the two countries using the airline’s two-class  A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft.

Viljoen said the flights were timed to allow holidaymakers to make the most of their time in Fiji.

“The flight from Narita arrives into Nadi in the morning, with convenient domestic connections on our subsidiary Fiji Link to major tourism spots like Savusavu and Taveuni,’’ he said. “Additionally, guests can also easily do boat transfers after arrival to the many wonderful resorts in the beautiful Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups.”

Fiji Airways and offshoot Fiji Link serve destinations such Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

When codeshare agreements with airlines such as Qantas and Cathay Pacific are included, the carriers serve 64 destinations in 13 countries.

They fly a combination of aircraft that includes new Airbus A330s and refreshed Boeing 737s down to ATR turboprops and Twin Otters.

The group brings almost two thirds of visitors to Fiji and employs more than 1000 people.