Tahiti is about to get a number of new flights, Travel Agent learned at a trade event in New York City this week. While “it’s only eight hours from LAX” was a running theme of the event, two new carriers offering service from San Francisco are also on the horizon.
First up is French bee, a relatively new low-cost carrier owned by the same French holding company that owns Air Caraïbes. The airline launched service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Papeete yesterday, May 11. Operated on an Airbus A350 with Economy and Premium Economy services, the new, nine-hour nonstop route will fly Saturdays and Mondays in low season and will add a Thursday frequency during the peak season. As a low-cost carrier, a number of its services are a la carte, an airline representative said at a presentation for travel agents, although it does have a trade-only Smart Fare that includes a checked bag, an in-cabin bag and an inflight meal.
Next up, United Airlines is launching service between SFO and Papeete on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The seasonal service will run three times per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) from October 30, 2018, through March 28, 2019, making United the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service between Tahiti and the mainland United States. The Dreamliners will offer 36 flatbed Polaris Business Class seats, 70 Economy Plus seats and 113 Economy seats. At the event an airline representative also said that United is “working on” an agreement with another airline to provide connectivity to other islands in Tahiti. While nothing is finalized as of yet, an announcement could be made as soon as the end of the month.
Air France recently signed a new partnership with Air Tahiti that will allow customers to fly to 19 islands across Tahiti on a single ticket. Air France flies three times weekly service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Papeete on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and, from LAX, offers 30 connections with Delta.
Air Tahiti Nui also recently signed a codeshare agreement with American Airlines that offers connections with 21 gateways in the United States and Canada. Air Tahiti flies daily between LAX and Papeete, an eight-hour flight. Later this year, it will introduce 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on this route, which will offer the airline’s new Premium Economy onboard product. Further details on what Premium Economy passengers can expect will be announced at a later date.
Other carriers serving Tahiti include Hawaiian Airlines, which flies once per week between Honolulu (HNL) and Papeete every Saturday. Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui) is the island’s domestic carrier, serving 47 different islands throughout the archipelago.