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Preferred Airline/Route: Fiji Or Cook Islands  
User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1250 times:

I'm considering a trip to either the Cook Islands or somewhere in French Polynesia and was curious about getting there. I live in San Francisco and would prefer to stick with Star Alliance (I guess that leaves United and Air New Zealand?) Anybody care to share advice on route or airline choices? Thanks

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAA61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1239 times:

check out air newzeland, i think they fly lax-ppt... dont hold me on that


Go big or go home
User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4571 posts, RR: 41
Reply 2, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1235 times:

Well, Air New Zealand are the only international airline that flys into the Cook Islands (to Rarotonga, RAR), so your choice would be pretty limited, not that I would worry, because they are a great airline. They are also the only Star or Star affiliate that fly into Papeete (PPT). I am pretty sure there are non-stop flights from LAX to both PPT and RAR, and that there might also be a LAX-PPT-RAR service (but don't quote me on that, things have been changing recently).

Also, did you mean to say Fiji - because it is neither in the Cook Islands nor French Polynesia (but again, you can get there on Air New Zealand).

Perhaps TG992, the Air NZ employee on this board, could be of more help?

V/F



"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineDanialanwar From Switzerland, joined Mar 2001, 421 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1231 times:

Air NZ flies from Los Angeles to:
- Papeete (Tahiti) - Auckland
- Apia (Samoa) - Tongatapu - Auckland
- Nadi (Fiji) - Auckland
- Rarotonga (Cook Isl) - Auckland
they also have one flight LAX-Papeete-Rarotonga-Nadi-Auckland, but that's one way only ...

The only other airlines that fly straight to the South Pacific from LAX are Air Pacific (to Fiji) and Air France / Air Tahiti to Papeete.

Of course there is Hawaiian who flies Honolulu - Pago Pago and Honolulu - Papeete (IF they still do)



Best Business Class: Royal Brunei. Best Economy: Singapore Airlines. First: please send money first!
User currently offlineT prop From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1029 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1220 times:

Have you considered Aloha Airlines? They have a deal from Oakland to Rarotonga $670r/t for december. Check it out http://www.alohaairlines.com/aq/670HNLRAR.shtml

T prop.


User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1160 times:

I'd go Air New Zealand, great airline. If you're going to PPT, however, you can consider Air Tahiti Nui just because they have much more better times. Air NZ get you there at like 4:00am and leaves around 1:00am because they continue on to RAR (get there around 7am).

pilottim747



Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
User currently offlineDstc47 From Ireland, joined Sep 1999, 1476 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1137 times:

A long time since I was in the Cook Islands but as I recall almost all long distance traffic stages through at night, so aviation interest, by day, is fairly limited to local commuter services.

Nice place but avoid Sunday there as practically everthing is closed down, except churches.


User currently offline767er From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 1092 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1102 times:

Definetly go to RAR and give Tahiti a miss. I loved RAR...the food...the people..the weather.........It is quite expensive (but not compared to Tahiti) though I found the resturants very reasonable.

You must fly Air New Zealand. The only way to fly.


Brent



Aircraft flown:F27,Viscount. EMB120, SAAB340, ATR70, 737-200.737-300,DC8, DC10,747-100,747-200,747-300,747-400, A320, A3
User currently offlineAvilitigator From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 214 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1092 times:

Yes, definitely skip Tahiti -- too many surly and snobby vacationers there.

I spent a month this past January in the Cook Islands. A few days on Rarotonga and the rest on Aitutaki, which has one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. The people on Aitutaki are some of the friendliest I've met. The Air NZ 767 (LOTS of legroom) I took from LAX left in the evening and arrived around 5 a.m. local time the next morning (RAR is two hours behind SFO during PST). If you're in the back of the plane you can exit from the aft port door down a staircase. The plane always seems so much bigger when you're on the tarmac. When you get to the arrivals hall, a local singer serenades you -- remember this is 5 a.m.

If you go to Aitutaki, stay at the Are Tamanu (Mahogany House) Hotel, but you'll have to book before you go or on Rarotonga.

Aere Ra!


User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 1057 times:

Thanks for the advice on skipping Tahiti...I've heard that in the past. Just wanted to see what the opinion of Air NZ was out there---seems to be pretty favorable, I think I'll opt for the Business class in the 767...If I understand correctly it is just a 2 class flight-business and economy? Comments on their business class?...Thanks

User currently offlineAA61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 1057 times:

what kind of snobby tourists are there in tahiti? ive always wanted to go there. the scenery they have there is the best scenery i have ever seen. (i saw pics) but i personally could care less about snobby tourists, because i go there to be with someone, and to relax and check out the sites, not to become buddies with the other people that are there.


Go big or go home
User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4571 posts, RR: 41
Reply 11, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1029 times:

Disagree with anyone who says to miss Tahiti. Tahiti is somewhat different to Rarotonga. While Rarotonga is a very quiet, unspoiled place, Tahiti has been a bit more populated (nothing like Hawaii, though), and there is definitely a bit more happening. It is always interesting to experience the French culture in the South Pacific, as well as the cuisine. Moorea, the neighbouring Island, is beautiful, and a lot quieter. The rest of the Society Islands, and in particular Bora Bora, are very beautiful. I don't know for myself about the other Island groups in French Polynesia, such as the Marquesias, but I am told that they are different to the others, and beautiful in their own ways.

So, it is really up to you and how much you are wanting to spend. If you are only going for one destination, then do a bit of research, and choose whichever you prefer. If you are doing more than one, then definitely try both Rarotonga and Tahiti (and try and get to Aitutaki and Bora Bora respectively if it is within your budget).

One final suggestion - try going during the northern hemisphere summer, as this is the dry season. When I was in French Polynesia, it was December, and we got a fair amount of rain. Most travel brochures should advise the best time of year to go (in terms of climate and price).

Here are some websites you may find useful:

http://www.airraro.com - Air Rarotonga (the inter-island airline in the Cooks)

http://www.airtahiti.pf - Air Tahiti (The inter-island airline in French Polynesia)

http://www.cook-islands.com - Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (Check out the accommodation; websites aren't given, but try the domain names from the e-mail addresses they give)

http://www.cook-islands.com/visitor/airNZ.html - Air New Zealand's schedule to RAR, from the above site.

http://www.gototahiti.com - North American site for Tahiti Tourisme

http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com - Tahiti Tourisme's International Site

Regarding Air New Zealand, yes they are two class flights, on the 767-300. I would highly recommend Air New Zealand's Business Class. It doesn't have all the wizzbang electronics of, say, Singapore or Cathay, but the seat is very comfortable, you get a 12 channel PTV, and the service I have found to always be top-notch. If you do a search on the internet, I think you will find the vast majority of reviews are very positive. Here is what Air NZ's website has about Business Class: http://www.airnz.co.nz/nz/ontheplane/business_class.htm

Hope this is useful for you, look forward to hearing more about your trip

V/F



"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineJrlander From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1024 times:

I would highly suggest a trip to Fiji! I spent a week there in 1999, and loved it! The islands were beautiful, the people were extremely friendly, and the tourism industry has not yet destroyed it.

However, I made the mistake of flying Air Pacific.... what a horrific experience. Take Air New Zealand.


User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1010 times:

Virgin Flyer:

Appreciate all of the info...Certainly comes in handy. I'm actually planning my honeymoon, so this would probably take place next September, I understand the weather is pretty decent then. I'm thinking about 8 to 10 days and while I would like to keep this somewhat financially practical, I have come to realize that weddings and honeymoons just are not. Definitely want to visit Rarotonga and probably just one other spot-to be determined. Thanks again.


User currently offlineBronko From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 810 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1004 times:

I went on a cruise that started in Tahiti for my honeymoon in August 2001. Tahiti itself is great, its what is near there that is spectacular. Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, etc, are unbelievable. The great thing about the cruise was we 5 different islands, and woke up at a new island everyother day. At the same time, we never had to unpack, etc.

We flew on charter flight op'ed by an Hawaiian airlines DC-10, so I can't really comment on how to get there.




Jet City Aviation Photography
User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4571 posts, RR: 41
Reply 15, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 986 times:

Pmcdonald - Ah, I thought that might be the case. It is a beautiful area of the world for a Honeymoon (my parents had theirs many years ago in Rarotonga). Might I suggest that if you are looking for somewhere nice to stay in Rarotonga, that you check out either the Rarotongan (http://www.rarotongan.co.ck) or the Pacific Resort and Villas (http://www.pacificresort.co.ck/). I would also suggest that you give the Edgewater a miss (when I was in Rarotonga a couple of years back with my family, we were there, and left to go to the Pacific Resort after a couple of days, because the Edgewater felt rundown, and generally second rate. Other people I have spoken to about the place gave mixed reports, some liked it, but many didn't)

Bronko - What cruise did you go on? Renaissance had two ships in the Society Islands until they went bankrupt last year (and cause all sorts of problems in Tahiti, including having two ships sitting in the port with nowhere to go - I don't know if they are still sitting there).

Last December, I was on the m/s Paul Gauguin (operated by Radisson Seven Seas Cruises), which I thought was absolutely wonderful (but pricey). The majority of people on board were American, although we met some French people. Check out this site: http://www.rssc.com/pg/gauguin.cfm

V/F



"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offline767er From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 1092 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 988 times:

VirginFlyer: The Air New Zealand crew stay at the Edgewater and they said pretty much what you said.

The other thing about Rarotonga is the buses stop running after 4.30pm so unless you rent a bike its pretty much taxis to get into the centre.

Nothing is open on a Sunday.



Aircraft flown:F27,Viscount. EMB120, SAAB340, ATR70, 737-200.737-300,DC8, DC10,747-100,747-200,747-300,747-400, A320, A3
User currently offlineBronko From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 810 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 983 times:

We were on one of Renaissance ships. Tahiti -> Moorea -> Huahine -> Raietea -> Bora Bora -> Tahiti.


Jet City Aviation Photography
User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 970 times:

Pmcdonald, I went to RAR recently, read my trip report! Smile Anyway, I have found Aitutaki way nicer and more unspoilt than Rarotonga, also the weather was heaps better and the lagoon is nicer on Aitutaki. If you've got the money, stay at the Aitutaki Pearl Beach Resort its the most beautfiul hotel location I have seen so far and it really looks like on the pictures on that site, its the perfect tropical dream and ideal for an honeymoon. Just fly economy and stay there instead of flying business! Big grin

Enjoy your trip, I am very envious.

Falko



Yours truly - StarFlyer
User currently offlineAirNewZealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 938 times:

Hey Guys,
As i am Rarotongan, thankyou for praising my homeland! It is quite nice to know so many people like it! I have grown to Love it, and miss the sun deeply!
Although i must say, RAR rains alot, esp. on the island due to the high mountain that is situated on it...
If you have time in the Cook Islands i suggest visiting Mangia, Mauke and Aitutaki!! They are the best islands you could go to. Mangia is traditional known to have the arts, crafts etc...and ALCOHOL! Aitutaki is the most beautiful island in the South Pacific many say because of its unspoilted Lagoon!! It is a must to visit there!! You ahve a great landing aswell! Nice small coral runway! hehe...
Mauke is like a 30min flight from RAR, nice place also, lots of history involved here!!

When you are there, you must visit my home town....hehehe....Titikavika!! We have the best beaches on all of the island, and also the friendliest people!!

I must also say that the Edgewater is YUCK! Donot stay there, terrible!
Also take bikes around as your transport! You have so much fun on them...and meet so many people!!

On to AirNZ! Yes they are brilliant, i have no complaints, and as Virginflyer said, The reports that are fabulous outway those that are not more than 95%!!!
So enjoy them....and congratulations on getting engaged/married!!

Cheers
Mike


User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1958 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 925 times:

Wow, I had no idea ANZ flew to PPT and RAR from LAX! Does anyone have a flight timetable for the different ANZ flights coming from LAX?


My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineAirNewZealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 898 times:

Hey there QFflyer...
Yes AirNZ connect all South Pacific destinations with LAX...
AKL-RAR-LAX
AKL-PPT-LAX
AKL-NAN-LAX
AKL-TBU-APW-LAX (I think...not to sure on this one)
AKL-NAN-RAR-PPT-AKL (Coral run)

That is it i think! But they are about 2x weekly!! Pretty good loads i am thinking becasue the run them all year round!

Cheers
Mike


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