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Flight check: Fiji to the Marshall Islands

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TV3's Tristram Clayton flies ON016 from Nadi, Fiji, to Majuro, Marshall Islands, to meet El Salvadorian castaway Jose Alvarenga.

Flight check: Fiji to the Marshall IslandsAn Our Airline Boeing 737-300. Photo / Creative Commons image by Wikimedia user YSSYguy

The plane: A 737-300 - Our Airline has only two planes, so I've already flown on half its fleet.

Class: Just the one class, but the front few rows are a bit more spacious.

Price: $1200 - but it was very much a last-minute booking. I was already in the taxi to the airport when it was confirmed.

On time? Yes. No "Island time" here.

My seat: Great. Somehow I managed to get 3F, which had heaps of leg room. Useful when you've got legs as long as mine.

Fellow passengers: An unusual mix of expat Marshallese, Fijians and a handful of tourists.

How full? About three-quarters full - which was a little surprising considering there is only one flight every two weeks.

Entertainment: None. Zilch. Nada. When was the last time you flew in a plane that didn't even have an old-school drop-down screen?

The service: Friendly and relaxed. We even got a visit from the pilot, who came back to tell us we couldn't attach our go-pro camera to his front windscreen.

Food and drink: Macaroni cheese or chicken curry. I had the curry. It was tasty. But no alcohol? Not cool.

The toilets: I absent-mindedly made the normally fatal mistake of going in barefoot - but to my surprise the place was spotless.

Luggage: To avoid excess luggage charges we, to put it bluntly, took the p**s. Fortunately the 30kg (at least) we took on board wasn't a problem.

The airport experience: Nadi can be a bit hit or miss - but we had a smooth run which included a surprisingly tasty airport pie for breakfast.

Would I fly this again? No alcohol and no screens sucks big-time, right? But as this was a work trip (and only a four-hour flight) I actually managed to get a lot of work done. So "yes" if it was a work-trip.

The other reason I'd do this trip again would be for the incredible landing in the Marshall Islands. The airport is the widest point of this extraordinary all-atoll country - so when you're lined up to land you have water on both sides and can't see any land until just moments before you touch down.

- NZ Herald

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