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Suva to Labasa on Vanua Levu, Fiji on an ATR

Suva to Labasa on Vanua Levu, Fiji on an ATR
Series: First Time in Fiji

I’m scheduled to head off to Fiji again in February this year (2022), so I thought it was worth updating this trip report with flights and hotel stays, especially given we are staying at the same resort, and so, doing similar flights. However this time we will be travelling from Nadi, not Suva to Labasa on Savesi Island.

Flight: FJ 34
Route: Suva, Fiji (SUV) – Labasa, Fiji (LBS)
Date: Friday, 22 September 2020
Depart: 10:00 AM
Arrive: 10:40 AM
Duration: 40 min
Aircraft: ATR-72-600
Seat: 3A & B (Economy Class)
Cost: part of a package.

a paper money with a group of people posing for the camera


Until Fiji, I had heard of a $3 note, but never a $7 note! I think it’s to celebrate something to do with the Fiji 7’s Rugby Team, given what I know about sport can be written on the head of a pin!

We were embarking on the holiday part of our trip to Fiji given that my husband had been attending a conference in Fiji’s capital, Suva, at the Grand Pacific Hotel. We were heading out of the capital, and on to Sevesi Island Resort to relax and de-stress.

people sitting in a waiting room
Suva Airport

At the Airport

After a fairly lazy week (for me at least) in Suva, the early start to meet our 10 am departure time was a bit of a rude awakening. The airport was pretty empty when we arrived but soon filled up, with plenty of bright Fijian shirts.

Suva Airport is a bit chaotic to the western eye. It’s tending to the 3rd world, and not really air-conditioned. The only snack area is open to the outside. There are no arrival or departure display boards.

If a flight is about to leave they call down the queue to see if anyone for that flight is waiting. Toilets are basic but clean.

a building with a blue roof and a blue roof
Nausori Airport, Fiji Link terminal, Suva

The security experience was about the most joyous I have ever had! Thorough, but with lots of smiles and laughter and assistance and thank you’s. The polar opposite of the American or European boarding experience. There is only one security facility for domestic flights, and you can see directly onto the tarmac.


Boarding was at the 10 am departure time by row. Cabin staff announced that the flight would be about 30 minutes, and proceeded to a manual safety demonstration as we taxied about 7 mins past 10 am. Very quick! The Sun newspaper was offered to passengers.

a man in an orange shirt standing in an airplane
Always a delay with the paperwork

The First 2 rows were partitioned off but seemed to have exactly the same seat and pitch as the economy cabin. Only one passenger in Business Class in seat 2C. We commenced our takeoff straight from taxi at 10:12 am, and airborne a minute later.

The seat belt signs off at 10:17.

a seat with a safety information sign

The Seat

Seats were upholstered in a beige fabric, with a beige shell. Pleasant and calming compared to the vivid colours of the clothes of many passengers. Typical economy seats, with two storage areas above and below the tray table.

a white package with black text
In the heat of Fiji, this towel was much appreciated

In-flight Service

Service was minimal, as you would expect on such a short flight. In this pre-COVID era, ‘refreshing’ Moist Towel’s were distributed and appreciated along with Aquasafe artesian water.

a sign on a shelf
I took the safety card’s advice to ‘stay calm’
a group of people on an airplane
The Sun and towel distribution in this 2-2 cabin
an aerial view of a green landscape
a view of a landscape with mountains and clouds
Coast and clouds


At 10:32 am Captain Prasad announced we were commencing our descent from 30,000 feet and landing in about 10 minutes.

We landed at 10:43 am and completed a u-turn at the end of the runway, and taxied back to the terminal.

a man walking in an airplane
Beige on beige works well to form a crisp interior

Disembarkation was by the rear stairs, and completed efficiently on this nearly full flight.

a man walking on a tarmac
Lambasa Airport
an airplane with a cart and people in the back
Exiting our ATR

We were met at the airport by our driver from the Savasi Island Resort, our new home for the next few days.

We had to wait while our luggage arrived from the plane with a free for all to get out luggage from the cart. No orderly carousel here.

a white airplane with black propellers

Meanwhile, our driver took our hand luggage to the car, while I made a quick toilet stop.

Much hotter at Lambasa than in Suva 28°c rather than 24.

The driver told us it was a 90-minute trip to the resort. which justified my toilet stop!

a person's foot in a shoe
Old beer cartons serve to protect the back seat carpet on our ride to the Savasi Island Resort
a dirt road with trees and blue sky
Pine plantation on our way to the resort

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

The trip to the resort gave us some very interesting contrasting landscapes from fields to forest, including this pine plantation which seems incongruous with epiphytes growing up the dead straight trunks.

It had been a short inconsequential early flight that meant we would arrive at the resort just in time for a relaxing lunch. Just the way I like a resort holiday to start.

Look out for the next instalment detailing our stay at the Savasi Island Resort at Vanua Levu, Fiji.

Other Posts in the Series
<< Suva – not a tourist mecca – but tropical

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