JaseWGTN From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 816 posts, RR: 1 Posted (13 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1213 times:
In 4 weeks time I will be travelling to the following airports, and wondered if anyone here has been to any of them, what are they like ie...airbridges/jetways, duty free and so forth or just general experiences.
Fua'Amotu, Nuka Alofa, Tonga (TBU)
Faleolo, Apia, Western Samoa (APW)
Fagali'i, Apia, Western Samoa (FGI)
Tutila, Pago Pago, Americam Samoa (PPG)
Eraxandaf From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (13 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1161 times:
Jase, most South Pacific airports are "open" airports and still do it the old way (and one of the best ways) by not having jetways. They just wheel up the stairs to the a/c and down you walk to the terminal! I doubt that anything larger than Hawaiian's DC10's land at Pago Pago, and ANZ's 767's at Apia or Nuka'alofa, and probably only once or twice per week. Even in Papeete, Tahiti, they wheel the stairs up to Air France's 747-400, same at Rarotonga and sort of at Nadi. This makes great photo ops! Ususally arrivals at these airports are very festive with familys being met with flowers and shells. Not sure of D/F at the airports in Am Samoa, Samoa or Tonga. HNL is gigantic and ultra modern compared to these airports...
Eraxandaf From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (13 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1148 times:
Jase, I think that's what I kind of meant about Nadi, I was there 3 years ago (ANZ 742 LAX-Nadi-LAX w/stop in HNL) and they had the "gang plank" jetways, basically a wooden elevated plank, still outdoors, but level with the a/c door. ?? I go to the So. Pacific every year, I would love to go to Tonga (Ha'apai) and Samoa (Savai'i). Doing the eco-route? or top hotels??
Anzff From Australia, joined May 2000, 138 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (13 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1139 times:
Can't tell you anything about TBU or PPG, but APW is a typical south pacific airport. You walk across the tarmac to and from the plane (and no-one tells you to hurry up if you stop for photos!). Immigration is slow as there are only a few counters, and so is baggage claim. Be ready for HUGE crowds as you leave the terminal - you have to fight your way through, but everyone is really friendly. The terminal was not air conditioned when I was there 18 months ago (i think parts of it may have been A/Ced but it wasn't working...) - so the heat and humidity can be a real shock to the system at first if you are coming out of mid-20s temps.
Check-in at APW is/was a bit of mess...the queues just blended into the enormous crowd. You had to be patient otherwise you got nowhere. But just move onto pacific time when you arrive and enjoy it!
There was some DF at APW but to be honest I don't remember if it was any good or not. There was no DF at FGI.
I didn't fly out of FGI - I wanted to fly to PPG or Savaii but there were no seats on any flights, but I spent a while there watching the 'action.' The terminal was tiny and I mean tiny. One check in desk for Polynesian and one for Samoa Air (I think Samoa Island Air has replaced them on the PPG-FGI route) and one ticket counter. Arrivals as I recall came through a gate in the fence into the carpark and departures went through a door from check-in onto the tarmac. The runway is undulating and it can be quite amazing watching the Twotters doing their STOL act. There is a street that runs around the end of the airport at the opposite end from the terminal and down the opposite side of the airport from which you can get a good view of the runway...just be ready for the local pigs and chickens to come and say hello!
APW's runway is hard to see very much of without going into the airport grounds (that costs a few tala) and I don't remember there being much of a view until you are in the departure lounge. There is an observation deck but I didn't go up there as we had to go straight to the departure lounge (checkin can take a long time as I do't think anyone gets their more than 90min beforehand). I think the deck is as much for watchng departing passengers disappear into passport control as it is for aircraft viewing.
PPG is quite big I think. I have seen a picture of it somewhere on the web (perhaps a Samoa Island Air site? Again - I can't remember).
Hope that is of use/interest.
Enjoy! I am desperate to go back to the pacific again (I love the Cooks) but have to work a bit to gets oem money first!
JaseWGTN From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 816 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1118 times:
Yeah, Nadi has now got proper airbridges. All modern like. I am not doing an Eco-Tour or Top Line Hotels, I have organised to stay with local families which should be an amazing experience
I am flying from FGI to PPG and vv on Polynesian Airlines, both them and Air Samoa still operate the route. Thanks for your information on APW. It's sounds like it's going to be quite an experience for arrival/departure.