Class, Seating and Tahiti Airport
Our destination this time is Bora Bora. Tough life, yes?
Getting to Bora Bora from Auckland, New Zealand, is a two-leg journey.
It requires a flight on Air Tahiti Nui to Tahiti, then another flight on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora. The Air Tahiti Nui flight TN102 is economy. We considered upgrading at Auckland airport, but overheard the last business class seat being bought.
The seating is rather cramped, but when it’s a beautiful sunny day and you’re on your way to Tahiti, then Bora Bora, this doesn’t seem to matter. The flight time is 4 hours and 55 minutes.
The Air Tahiti flight VT405 to Bora Bora is on a small all economy ATR42 48 seat plane. The flight takes just under an hour.
On the way back, we flew from Bora Bora to Tahiti to Los Angeles. The first leg from Bora Bora to Tahiti was uneventful, save for the check-in desk being unable to find our reservation for just under half an hour. We were a little panicked, needless to say.
The second leg back to Los Angeles on flight TN8 took 8 hours and 10 minutes.
The seating space on the flight back felt excruciatingly small. If I’m in economy and need a sleep, I usually put my table tray down and manage a six+ hour kip on the tray. Not so in Air Tahiti. The space is so small, that a petite person like me couldn’t even squeeze my head onto the tray – there just wasn’t enough room.
The airport deserves a special mention. There is very little at the airport, and we had the misfortune of trying to kill eight hours there. I would highly recommend minimising your time at this airport after that experience. At least there was a place where you could store your baggage (not particularly securely, I might add), for a small fee. Aside from limited food, drink and internet options, there is no vegetarian or vegan food whatsoever. Unless you count Heinekens as food.
If you’ve ever been to any island destinations, you’ll notice a certain “island” quality to flight attendants, bar tenders, waitresses and day spa therapists. It’s a relaxed, calm, and friendly attitude. The staff onboard are delightful, with their “island” way of being.
The check-in staff at the airport are polite, but harried and not particularly friendly. And I’m looked at like I’m a cockroach by Tahiti airport hospitality staff when I ask if there are any vegetarian options. I think vegan and vegetarian must be dirty words in French Polynesia.
North Nomad is mostly unimpressed with his meals – standard airline fare. My meals look much more appetizing – no matter what airline you’re on or class you’re seated in, vegetarian and vegan plane meals are always better and fresher.
Lunch on our flight to Tahiti is a French inspired baked parcel, filled with vegetables and lentils. It’s accompanied by a side salad with rice. It’s palatable, but not one of the better plane meals I’ve had.
Breakfast on our flight from Tahiti to LA is a little confusing. My non-dairy vegetarian meal is dry cornflakes (sans milk of course), fruit juice, and a medley of vegetables with rice. It’s not quite breakfast food, or even very filling, but it’s better than nothing at 6:00AM in the morning.
On-board, there’s a cute package awaiting us on our seats. Warm Air Tahiti blue socks for our feet, ear plugs, lemon-scented fresh towellettes,
Now, I consider these part of the entertainment because I have no memory of the in-flight entertainment.
“Carry-on baggage : 1 authorized item of baggage of 10 kg/22 lbs or less. Checked baggage : Economy Class: 1 authorized item of baggage of 23 kg/50 lbs or less, First and Business Class: 2 baggage items allowed of up to 32 kg each/70 lbs or less.
* For an infant, in addition to this allowance, one folding stroller, one cradle or one baby car seat is permitted in the hold.
The maximum authorized dimensions per piece are such that the total length + width + height must not exceed 158 cm.
Any baggage carried in excess of the free allowance in terms of weight, number and size will incur additional charges.
Any baggage over 32 kg must be transported by freight.”
[Taken from Air Tahiti Nui boarding pass information.]
Would We Use This Airline again?
The service was pleasant, but it’s one of those carriers you’d only use because it was your sole choice for a particular destination. Though, Bora Bora does absolve the evils of all crappy flight experiences!
Cost: Base Fare NZD 3,056.00
Total Taxes NZD 604.16
Total Fare NZD 3,660.16
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