New Caledonia’s flagship carrier Aircalin now have the distinction of being the first ever airline to bring the new-age A330neo aircraft to Asia-Pacific. And of course they’ve used that considerable boost in capacity to enhance their Sydney to Noumea service, making the journey for Aussies looking to explore New Caledonia not just more accessible, but substantially more comfortable.
Route: Sydney, Australia to Noumea, New Caledonia
Seat: 10F – Premium Economy in a 2x3x2 configuration.
Scheduled Flight Departure Time: 1:40pm
Actual Flight Departure Time: In air by 2:20pm
Arrival: 4:20pm (local time)
Aircalin allows for two pieces of checked luggage up to 23kg, which is very generous. Carry-on is a standard 7kg limit though.
Sydney Airport may not be as large as some other international hubs, but it can still take a significant amount of time to walk from security to gate if it’s any number around 56. That’s exactly what my gate was, right at the tail-end of the airport which takes about 6-10 minutes to walk to from the main area (where the McDonalds is). Basically, make sure you’re not dawdling when it comes time to board.
Do note that there is a small convenience shop directly next to gate 56 so don’t bother stocking up on snacks and what not until you get there. That is, if you’re gate is the same.
Premium Economy is a spacious cabin splayed in a 2-3-2 configuration with only four rows. It all feels incredibly private and separate from the other cabins. Bottles of Evian water are handed out before take-off, which for me was slightly delayed. The scheduled departure time was 1:40pm, but we weren’t in the air until 40 minutes after that. We did land on time though.