✅ Trip Verified | We just had the worst experience ever travelling with flying Air Vanuatu. It started with a delay from Sydney and then us being bumped off our internal connection to Santo meaning we had to spend a night in Port Villa. Communication was terrible and it was a stressful way to start the holiday. We went into having a lovely holiday and was looking forward to a quick direct flight from Santo to Brisbane and then a domestic flight to Sydney. We were due to depart at 4.25pm on the Sunday and there was delay after delay and poor communication. The plane couldn’t land due to a fire truck being broken so the plane landed in Port Villa. We were then at 7pm flown to Port Villa (although not everyone got on flight as plane was smaller). After further delays checking in at Port Villa, the visa system crashed and at 9pm we were informed the flight was cancelled. About 9.30pm they finally listened to our pleas for food and water (everything was shut at airport) and they brought off meals from the plane and we sat on floor and ate these. At about 11.30pm we arrived at the hotel, ongoing poor communication resulting in us all getting up early for a 7.30am pick up and then being told it was 9am. Boarded plane late, stuck in a hot plane for over 30mins due to a missing passenger. Finally got back to Brisbane 2.20pm on the Monday and back to Sydney 9pm (22hrs after the expected arrival) some were not so fortunate and had to wait until Tuesday to get a connecting flight. I have never written such a poor review but our experience was terrible and the customer service was awful.
✅ Trip Verified | Air Vanuatu is the worst experience I had as a traveler. Booked 2 flights with them (a domestic and an international one). Due to weather conditions (cyclone) the flight from Port Vila to Luganville got cancelled, I've been notified with a phone call. They didn't mention when there will be a new flight, they simply said 'we'll let you know', fair enough. The next day I called and they said 'no flights, but keep calling us'. I called again after 2 days, still nothing. On day 3 after the cancellation I checked the flight schedule and saw that there was a flight going to Luganville, so I called them and they said 'oh yeah we have flights now'. So if I didn't call, they wouldn't even bother telling me. They booked me on a flight for the day after. 1 day later I had a flight from Luganville (Espiritu Santo) to Brisbane and then a connection to Sydney. While we were at our hotel, I received an email from the hotel manager not the airline telling us that the flight might be cancelled. No updates until night and then at dinner time we are told that the flight is still a 'maybe' but we should go to the airport anyway and they'll make a call there. We go to the airport at 10.30pm (flight was at midnight), at the check-in they tell us that the flight is still going from Brisbane to Port Vila and they didn't know if it would come to Luganville, and if it would, it would not be before 2am. We get asked to wait, at around 12.30am we are told the flight is cancelled. Now, you might not know, but the Luganville airport is literally in the middle of nowhere, no taxis, no info point, no internet connection, nothing! The check in girl says 'just go back to your hotel'. Being unable to talk to the hotel, we (all passengers) complain and they finally arrange a van to take us to the closest hotel. In the meanwhile, the hotel where we originally were, sent someone to pick us up. Got back to the hotel for the night, but still, not an email, not a message nor a phone call from Air Vanuatu. Next day, we are told (still by the hotel) we are on the 5.30pm flight (not scheduled), I call Air Vanuatu mentioning we lost the connection to Sydney, the operator says 'is there a flight to Brisbane today?' I had no words we go to the airport at 4pm. Flight is on, and when I mention about the connection, the girl goes to their office (taking my phone with her) and comes back saying you can check in at Brisbane airport at 3AM. (we were going to land at 8pm). I ask to change it to a human hour so we could sleep in hotel, since there is a flight every hour to Sydney, but nothing, we catch the flight and when landed, I tried to call support, but clearly, they close at 5pm. So I then booked a flight myself for 8am, just to add an extra expense as if it wasn't enough. Now I'm trying to reach out to them to get a letter for the insurance, but still nothing. I understand there are no options sometimes because some locations are only connected by them, but if you can, book with another airline. Air Vanuatu is way far from being an acceptable airline when it comes to assisting clients. Stay away from them!
✅ Trip Verified | Port Vila to Auckland. Booked a fully refundable fare and read through every piece of terms and conditions found online regarding the fare and refund policies. Nowhere did it mention a refund fee but they still said the only way I can refund my "fully refundable" fare is by paying the $50 fee and became quite abrupt on the phone when I attempted to point out that the fee was not disclosed at the time of booking. They did confirm that the fee was not disclosed on the website but they had full rights to charge it and what other option do I have if I want to refund my "fully refundable" fair? I don't want to bother with filing a complaint, just want to warn other users through reviews.
✅ Trip Verified | Air Vanuatu is a small airline which is essential for "Local" flights, meaning fairly long distances between scattered islands. As such they largely use ATR 72 aircraft and Twin Otters but they do have a very new B 737-800. I flew from Noumea, New Caledonia to Port Villa, Vanuatu and a few days later from Port Villa Vanuatu to Tanna, Vanuatu and back. There were no problems with schedules, checking-in and boarding. The cabin crew were cheerful and given the short duration of the flights there was not much on offer. On the whole a small but good airline. It is difficult to rate a small, short-haul airline with the big airlines but I will fly them again!
✅ Trip Verified | Nadi to Port Vila. Due to fly out on Saturday at 3.00pm. Was first to register at airport counter when it opened at 12.30. Went upstairs and sat in Nadi Lounge and as 3.00pm loomed noticed no counter staff evident. Asked about this and was told plane had left PV but had mechanical trouble and returned to PV. Were advised it was now due at 4.30, In short it did not arrive after a second apparent attempt to fly. We were told at around 6.15 the flight was cancelled and we would be advised shortly of when the next flight would be put on as indeed there was no scheduled alternative for two days. Our time in PV was two days. After receiving no notifications and spending 24 hours in the Nalagi Hotel courtesy of Air Vanuatu we had heard nothing and as it appeared no flights were forthcoming we had to make other arrangements to get home. No staff at the airport when we left at 6.30 huge disruption to the end of a short break and 36 hours sitting in a hotel room on the outskirts of Nadi was not what we had in mind. Was told mechanical problems then operational problems. Still dont know what the problem was and no reply to my request for a refund. Other issue was this was a Fiji Airways booked flight and when I rang them they said they could not help at all. Staff at Fiji Airport were generally very unhelpful with a few exceptions. I did not fly so cannot comment on the service in the air so ignore any comments about this.
✅ Trip Verified | Two very bad experiences with Air Vanuatu. At arrival in Port Vila the Air Vanuatu agent was forcing me to pay for a second return flight (as he could not find my reservation which I made through Fiji Airways). The member of staff was very unrespectful at many instances. I quote one of them "stop wasting my time I would like to go home now so buy this ticket". When finally I managed to find my ticket number and he finds my booking, he did not apologise for the 2h down the drain and the free humiliating time he has been giving me. Our flight from Norsup to Craig Cove planed at 11:40 (originally planned at a different time but we had received an email to notify us of the change) departed at 11:10 without us. Due to a mechanical problem our driver couldn't take us 2h before the flight to the airport. However despite having given them our local number, Air Vanuatu did not bother calling us as we were missing on the passenger list (in an 18 seater I must point out!). Waiting for the scheduled time and depart on time (not 30 minutes earlier than scheduled) is not for Air Vanuatu common practice of passengers are missing. You are just expected to pay them and have 0 service in return. I'm not usually complaining but here I think something needs to change. It's ok we were on holiday and we found a work around (Air Vanuatu didn't not apologise in any way shape or form, we were just told we were supposed to be at the airport 2h before) we had to find our own solution ourselves. I'm very sorry for people in Vanuatu who have to deal with this on a daily basis however. All we ask to an airline is to be courteous with its passengers and respect its schedule!
Had the misfortune of being in the last row with my family on a 3hr 55min flight from Port Vila to Sydney (up to 300km/hr headwind). No recline (fortunately people in front were considerate and didnt), constant queue of people using the two lavatories for 162 passengers (seriously go to the bathroom before the flight people!). Only saving grace is flight attendants had typical lovely Ni Vanuatu attitude.
The business class seats are comfortable and 1A is good, but can lack legroom for taller people. Best seat on the plane for status.
Flew from Sydney to Port Vila with Air Vanuatu. Friendly service, standard economy quality food as well as a very easy to use inflight entertainment system which has a very large variety or tv shows and movies. The new Boeing 737-800 recently new to the Air Vanuatu fleet was very clean, quiet and comfortable. Overall a very good experience.
Vanuatu is one of my favourite places and a big part of that is the friendly people. It's a pity that my critism of Air Vanuatu stems from the lack of friendliness of the staff. They weren't exactly rude, but they were just there. The food service was painful. Basically the hostees spent the entire filght mucking aroud with trolleys in the aisle. They were there so long people started getting up to go to the toilet and they had to keep shuffling trolleys up and down the aisle. They were simply unprofessional and unfriendly. I think the lack of competition on this route has made them a slack.
We flew Air Vanuatu, November 2015. Check in staff were on the ball. On board a different matter. The much wanted breakfast was awful. Omelette was leathery and lukewarm with tea served in tiny cups. Crew were seen only occasionally and water was not offered to us during the flight. Captain was informative and the plane landed on time
We could not book ourselves through from Wellington to Santo while in Wellington, though we were able to book the luggage to Port Vila. We had to queue (50mins) for boarding passes to Port Vila in Auckland even though we did not have to book the luggage in. Booking in staff were slow and too few. Why could we not have been given boarding passes in Wellington for the next legs? On arrival at Port Vila we were told our flight to Santo was to fly the next day - we were not told in Auckland? It was cancelled because the engine had to be replaced. We were told we were to stay at Air Vanuatu's expense, in a hotel in Port Vila but to be at the airport for a 7.30am flight by 5.30am, for a domestic flight. The hotel was marginal with a night club active all night. We were contacted in our room after we went to bed to say we had overspent our dinner allowance of 2000 Vatu (about $NZ 28) each. We were to pay the difference or we could not fly the next day. After some discussion we did not pay and we did fly. We had not been told we had a dinner allowance. We had asked at the airport for meal vouchers but had been told this was not necessary. Return flight home by comparison felt like a dream even though it was just normal service. A completely different level of service. The anxiety that we might not return in time for necessary commitments the day after our scheduled return to Wellington, significantly affected our enjoyment of our holiday. I understand this unreliability is common. The impression we were left with from our dealings with staff concerning the delayed flight was that they were under orders to provide the minimum they could get away with. Don't expect to arrive the day you have booked for. Leave an extra day. You could of course be lucky. Rated 3/10 because the plane left as scheduled from Santo. Otherwise 1/10. I trust that this feedback will help Air Vanuatu learn that the travelling public expect they will be looked after by making travel easy for the traveller (not the airline), and by keeping to their schedules. I would love to visit Vanuatu and Santo again but I am not sure I could cope with the airline again.
Due to the cyclone in March, I had to cancel my flight with Air Vanutau and asked for refund. The customer service processed my cancellation and confirmed a full refund will be arranged on 25th March. Today is 13th August, after 24 emails chasing them the refund, I still haven't received it. I understand it is unfortunate that so many people cant fly all of sudden. But I have given 5 months patience, they still havent processed my refund! It's unbelievable!
Melbourne-Sydney-Port Vila-Melbourne. Flew Qantas to connect with flight to Port Vila. Old style seats in Business with not much recline but not a real problem for a 3hr flight. Service was excellent with a choice of 2 main courses for lunch and drinks were promptly offered. Cabin crew were typically Vanuatuan - smiling and courteous and they really seemed to enjoy their job. Inflight entertainment was interesting the first time around but then repeated well into the flight! Perhaps they could upgrade this aspect. A word of warning when checking in at Port Vila for a flight out. Checked in 2 hours prior to flight for Melbourne but then kept waiting for security and immigration to open the door for nearly 45 mins in a very warm (non-airconditioned) airport. Lounge at Port Vila mall but at least air conditioned but only packets of chips to eat. Overall it was a most pleasant flight with a great crew on all legs.
AKL-VLI in economy. Check in at AKL was handled by Air NZ staff who were friendly and accommodating. Flight was quite empty so despite having an economy ticket I was treated to a whole row to myself. The 737 in use on this route is clearly well used but in good order and clean. The cabin crew are warm friendly and helpful. The meal service was quite efficient and consisted of a beef stew with mash and boiled carrots. Simple hot and tasty though I imagine not to everyone's liking the other option available was fish. Sides included a salad bread roll and cheesecake for dessert. A good selection of complimentary beverages is offered throughout the flight. The real winner was a complimentary glass of champagne: this was neither solicited nor is it normal practice for the economy class passengers but for whatever reason the crew decided to treat me on this particular flight. Inflight entertainment is drop down screens with a video of some sort but I find it difficult to see the screens so I didn't even bother and read a book instead. Upon arrival in VLI disembarking was via airstairs to the tarmac. The terminal facilities are simple but functional. Luggage was quite slow this time.
NF21 from Brisbane to Port Vila. 26 Jan 2014. Yep most of the reviews are right - old fashioned service average food but lots of it no decent inflight entertainment (other than the magazine which is really good). The video on Vanuatu is a good intro to the country but that's about it. Old re-runs of American sitcoms that keep freezing. Cabin crew fantastic especially with kids.
The exit rows are possibly the best - I have travelled on the Sydney - Pt Vila flights often and the 737-800 is like flying domestically in Australia, all other seats are cramped. But for a just over 3hr flight, bearable.
Old fashioned service - great crew on a decent 737. Only let down was the TV entertainment and food - the screens are only every few rows so you can't see much without binoculars. What we could see the video kept jumping or freezing and when we asked the crew they responded with "it happens all the time". Beef stroganoff on a flight to a tropical island? What are they thinking? Drinks were free flowing though.
NF 50 and 51 VLI-AKL return. 23 and 30 Oct. What a pleasant surprise to fly with a good old fashioned full service airline very punctual good service drinks trolley nice lunch with more wine top up round of drinks then choose of port or liqueur. Only problem is that the airport is hopeless and can't handle a full plane load for either arrival or departure. Leaving was a nightmare.
The legroom advantage during flight is offset by the fact that when NF deplanes in Port Vila - the hub for all its flights - it uses both front and rear stairs. This means that the people in Rows 13 and 14 are the last off - and so always at the end of the (often very slow) Immigration queue.