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Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeTravel AdviceAt The AirportTravel Lesson: Leave the Duty-Free Wine Behind

Travel Lesson: Leave the Duty-Free Wine Behind

No Duty Free Wine is part of the Bula! Fiji Hub Trip Report. This post is also part of TPOL’s Travel Lessons where I recount all my travel mistakes for your education.


TPOL has been accused of being frugal. I am guilty as charged. Frugality comes at a cost. Here, I wasted time in the immigration line and on an airport bench instead of the lovely Fiji Airways Business Class Lounge (see Fiji Airways Lounge Nadi: Inside & Out). Here’s what happened:

I had one night at the Sheraton Fiji before my island hopping of the South Pacific. Not realizing that I would be lavished with bottle after bottle of champagne at the hotel (see We Appreciate Your Loyalty!), I bought two bottles of mid-priced Sauvignon Blanc at the duty-free. I took said bottles to Tonga and did not drink them there. I figured since they made it that far I should take them to Samoa with me. That meant I had to check my bag in Tonga, reclaim it in Fiji, and then check it in again. I immediately regretted this decision when I landed and encountered the longest, slowest immigration queue. If I had no checked luggage, I could have proceeded through the faster transfer line. After over an hour of waiting, I finally cleared customs and retrieved my luggage.

Since my flight to Samoa was not departing until 11:55AM and I had arrived at 6:15AM, I could not check-in for my next flight. While the aforementioned business class lounge is great, Fiji Airport is not. There is nowhere to sit and nothing to do.

a man sleeping on a couch in an airport
Sitting on the floor waiting for this guy’s nap to end.

Finally, I was able to check-in and then board the plane for Samoa. Of course, when I opened the bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in Samoa, I found both bottles to be quite disgusting. Serves me right for my frugality.

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