Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 33 Posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 23567 times:
Since the weather has been terrible here in Phuket, I thought about putting together another trip report that is long overdue. This report will cover the SYD-PPT-SYD part of my trip in March, report about BA First can be found here: BA FIRST: BKK-SYD-BKK On BA009/010 (by Lufthansa747 May 14 2007 in Trip Reports)
30 March 2007
Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD/YSSY) – Papeete Faaa (PPT/NTAA)
Air Tahiti Nui TN/THT 004
0905 – 1955-1 (On Time)
Poerava First, Seat 1K
Fare: AAdvantage Award
25th flight on A340-300, first on this one
I was originally not supposed to stay in Sydney at all, but Air Tahiti Nui’s constant changing of the schedules forced the overnight. A year earlier I had to cancel my trip because of their schedule changes. Thanks to quite some drinking the night before, I somehow missed the wakeup call of my phone, and was in a hurry to get to the airport. No problems at the end, check-in was in full swing 1h before departure and for sure didn’t close for another 20 minutes at least.
I was given my pre-assigned window seat 1K and a lounge invitation. The latter was for the Qantas Club Business, I questioned this but it appears all TN premium pax use this instead of F lounge for F pax. Unacceptable, even more so considering this flight is a codeshare with Qantas. Anyway, I was in a hurry to get to the gate, so just gulped down a glass of sparkling wine at the said QF Club.
Priority boarding was well enforced, and I was soon sitting in my F seat 1K. There is just one row of first, arranged 2-2-2, and the seats on this aircraft were the same as old Air France L’Espace Premiere I believe. They go fully flat but are obviously behind competition offering various suites, ranging from BA’s rather tight squeeze to SQ’s newly unveiled A380 Singapore Suites.
Pre-departure drinks were served – I chose just water at this point
Menus and amenity kits were handed out as well. The menu was nicely presented in a tropically themed book, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture. I did keep the paper inserts, and will post them once I get home next month and unpack all the 20 pieces of luggage… Amenity kit was a nicely designed blue bag, containing a lot of items including a nice pen and hair brush.
Poerava First amenity kit
The flight was packed in all classes, however the seat next to me remained empty until the doors closed. It was then taken by someone claiming to be a major shareholder of TN, and his next comment was that the flights are too full so his wife has to stay in C. Hmmm, shouldn’t full flights be a good thing from a shareholder’s point of view? Had some interesting chat with him later about TN and Tahiti.
View of the front bulkhead/bar counter just as doors were about to close
Pushing back more or less on time with VH-QPE next to us
Asian Star Alliance heavies – HS-TGL of Thai and two jumbos of SQ
A Norfolkair classic B737-200
Virgin A340-600 waiting for her return to Heathrow via Hong Kong
Passing the highway on our way to 34L for takeoff
The usual lazy A340-300 takeoff followed, and obviously it was very quiet in First. QF domestic terminal seen on takeoff
It was a nice morning for flying, and some nice views of the city could be had from my side of the aircraft
Despite the early departure time, this flight thankfully serves a full lunch instead of breakfast. Eating a rubbery omelette is such a waste in a premium cabin. Unfortunately I don’t have the menu here with me, but it will be posted once I get back to Finland as I said above.
Meal service started with canapés. Unfortunately the champagne is regular Moet&Chandon NV, in my opinion First should have something better.
Bar setup at the bulkhead
Classy table setup
First course – caviar.
Followed by a nice salmon appetizer
Main course – you can choose the main and then choose side dishes instead of just pre-plated mains
Cheese is of course a must on a French carrier
Fresh fruit and dessert
The meal was excellent and so was the presentation. Caviar is something I like very much, and it’s nice to see TN has kept it as part of their first class service unlike BA for example. Service was good if a bit slow due to the full F cabin.
I was exhausted at this point after little sleep the night before, so the seat went flat and I slept well until we started our descent into Papeete Faaa airport. No pyjamas were handed out, not sure if the crew forgot or they don’t hand them out on daylight flights.
We landed on time, and I breezed through the EU citizens lane in a matter of seconds. It was raining heavily, so the trip across the parking lot and road to the Tahiti Airport Motel was a different story… Airliners.netter AF Cabin Crew recommended this place as a cheap and clean facility and it indeed was.
I was originally supposed to have three days in Tahiti, but the schedule changes meant just one night in PPT, thus I chose to go for the airport motel. It’s more or less brand new, the rooms are very clean and comfortable enough. There is (expensive) wireless in the rooms, otherwise the place has very limited facilities. I paid around 100 EUR for the night, a good deal for Tahiti. Would like to visit for a longer time, as I didn’t see much of Tahiti this time.
Views from the hotel
31 March 2007
Papeete Faaa (PPT/NTAA) – Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD/YSSY)
Air Tahiti Nui TN/THT 003
0215 – 0705+1 (On Time)
Poerava First, Seat 1D
Fare: AAdvantage Award
26th flight on A340-300, first on this one
The PPT-SYD sector departs in the middle of the night, thus one is forced to pay for another night at a hotel if you don’t want to hang out somewhere without a room. I chose to pay half day for a 6pm check-out, and spend the rest of the night at the airport.
Check-in for TN 3, I remember it opened 3 hours before departure only
Boarding pass and lounge invitation
Security was fast and I was in the lounge in no time at all. There is just one common lounge I believe, used by all carriers serving PPT.
The snack selection was utterly poor, however drinks were ok, including of course the local beer Hinano
A poor picture of F-OSUN waiting outside
Boarding was from gate 61 tonight
Pre-departure champagne – it wasn’t Moet but the C-class variety instead. Nicolas Feuillatte NV iirc, but not sure.
The seats on this aircraft were different, pretty close to those found on Emirates B777-300ER in business, although these go fully flat. The load was just 4/6 tonight, so as soon as the doors closed, I grabbed the pair of middle seats for myself. Menus, amenity kits and pyjamas were handed out before pushback. The pyjamas are very classy, nicer than on most carriers. Having said that, the not so fancy BA ones are large and comfy, something I can’t say about the TN or CX pyjamas. The hot towels of course made their rounds whenever appropriate, I seem to forget to mention them these days…
We were pushed back on time, and took off without delay obviously as PPT isn’t exactly as busy as JFK’s European departure bank.
Some airshow views. TN has non-AVOD basic PTVs, I don’t really bother using them for anything but airshow these days.
Tonight’s flight was scheduled to have a cold snack as well as a full breakfast. Service was very attentive by the sole flight attendant in F, and she suggested I have both cold snacks if I feel hungry.
My Moet, nobody else drank it on this flight
Cold snack table setup
Japanese style snack
The other one – lamb
I slept a little after the meal, although the flight is too short for a proper rest if you want to enjoy the service.
More airshow views
Breakfast was served about an hour out of Sydney.
Fruit, yoghurt, toast
And the hot part
We landed at Sydney Kingsford Smith a few minutes early, and I made my way directly to the temporary Qantas Club First lounge. No issues with entry although I wasn’t checked in, they just told me to come and pick up the BA boarding pass at the front desk once check-in opens.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Air Tahiti Nui. Clearly it’s a more leisure-oriented airline than your typical BA or SQ. However, the first class was very nice in my opinion. Food and food presentation were just great and the caviar was a nice touch. Service was overall good, no complaints. The seats and IFE are obviously not up to par however.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 22561 times:
Thanks for the report Lari! Good to read (and see ) other less well flown airlines premium products. Oh, and let me get this straight...you flew from BKK to PPT and stayed one night...and you burned miles on it?
A few random comments:
-Only use of the QF J lounge? Just like a budgie...cheap.
-Moet NV in F is a bit low grade, almost as high rollin' as my old favourite the Charles de Cazenove
-Err, what was that glass they put the pre-flight bubbly in on the PPT-SYD leg? A highball?
-I like the MS Word crafted sign for F & J check-in
-Does the word 'Faaa' have enough 'A's in it. Did UTAflyinghigh have any input on the name of the airport?
Interesting you got caviar, what type was it and did you get a mother of pearl spoon? I'd be lying if I said it was a world class product but the food looks pretty good
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 33
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 22201 times:
Quoting Mh148 (Reply 2): How much did you spend for that funny trip?!
As stated, AAdvantage award. 90000 miles F class BKK-SYD-PPT-SYD-BKK and $40 in tax. Bargain of the century.
Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 4): How many classes of service does Air Tahiti Nui offer on the A340?
Quoting Door5Right (Reply 6): Nothing wrong with Nicholas Feuillate, Mr Lufthansa747 - I'd choose that over NV Moet any day!
Indeed, I'm not a fan of NV Moet myself.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 7): you flew from BKK to PPT and stayed one night...and you burned miles on it?
Indeed I did, 1nt SYD, 1nt PPT. It was supposed to be connection in SYD only and 3nt PPT. Since I had to cancel the trip a year earlier, I wanted to at least try TN F this time. And 90K+$40 doesn't exactly break the bank does it?
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 7): -Moet NV in F is a bit low grade, almost as high rollin' as my old favourite the Charles de Cazenove
Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to taste that legendary Charles de Cazenove myself... BA forced me to have Charles Heidsieck 1995 on my latest trip.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 7): -Err, what was that glass they put the pre-flight bubbly in on the PPT-SYD leg? A highball?
Same as C class, and I believe the catering is very similar apart from caviar as well.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 7): Interesting you got caviar, what type was it and did you get a mother of pearl spoon?
I was expecting a mother of pearl spoon since I read that in some reports, however, none to be had. The menu and caviar tin both said just "caviar" on them, so i think it was some cheaper stuff, perhaps from a fish farm like TG's before they discontinued it. Tin listed a distributor in Los Angeles! However, nice to get any caviar these days in F...
Quoting KL808 (Reply 8): 85K for flights within the South Pacific
I believe he used a Oneworld AAward.
It was all partner award, no stopovers allowed, but I got SYD after the schedule changes. 90K F BKK-SYD-PPT-SYD-BKK, quite a deal!
Quoting KL808 (Reply 8): That was a short trip. Didn't take your wife and kid?
Just myself on this trip... I need a week and some Starwood points and then take the wife.
Quoting KL808 (Reply 8): I wish other carriers would return Caviar to their F products.
So do I... What's left? SQ/CX/LH/TN/NH/QF(selected routes)... Any others?
Andaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 4 weeks ago) and read 21092 times:
Quoting Kmh1956 (Reply 12):
Oh, please......Are you really that much of a snob, or is your palate that delicate?
My country man's trip reports are absolutely among the very best here, but yes sometimes the comments sound a bit snobby... don't ask what he thinks about travelling in Y class!
No offense, perhaps I am just a little bit jeolous, typical for us Finns..
Kmh1956 From Bermuda, joined Jun 2005, 3324 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 4 weeks ago) and read 21048 times:
Quoting Andaman (Reply 13): don't ask what he thinks about travelling in Y class!
I shudder to think. Since I can only afford to travel in Y, he probably considers me nothing more than a country bumpkin...travelling with my chickens and goats, drinking Night Train express right out of the bottle and wearing torn jeans and a tank top!
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
Thanks Sam, but lets not forget the facts here... Your photos beat mine by 200% at least!
Quoting Kmh1956 (Reply 12): Oh, please......Are you really that much of a snob, or is your palate that delicate?
That much of a snob? Tell me, is it too much to expect proper champagne for a ticket costing thousands of dollars/lots of miles instead of low end crap selling for $30/bottle?
Quoting Andaman (Reply 13): My country man's trip reports are absolutely among the very best here, but yes sometimes the comments sound a bit snobby... don't ask what he thinks about travelling in Y class!
Thanks for the compliments, fact is once you travel a bit in F/J, that's just what Y feels...
FRA-HEL-FRA-HAM-DXB-MNL-BKK-KUL-CRK//MNL-CEB-SIN-KUL-BKK-AUH-FRA-HEL... That's gonna be Asia for the time being I'm afraid.
Quoting Kmh1956 (Reply 15): I shudder to think. Since I can only afford to travel in Y, he probably considers me nothing more than a country bumpkin...travelling with my chickens and goats, drinking Night Train express right out of the bottle and wearing torn jeans and a tank top!
And why would I? Sorry your comment isnt really worth replying to. I travel a lot in Y and hate it with passion. The above in reply to ThaiA345 is all Y as well. It's a fact of life for the time being, I can't afford F/J often enough. Yes, I hate Y overall, no denying in that. If Y makes one happy, then congratulations!
That isn't really the point. When dealing with First Class customers (especially internationally) you are dealing with those on the highest priced tickets, your best customers, whether they are there on a $14k ticket or with miles.
I believe you can tell a lot about an airline from the small touches in their First Class product. A couple of years ago BA was stocking the First cabin (one of the most expensive in the sky, no less) with some champagne that retailed for about £15 per bottle! I tried it on the ground and it tasted like crap. Once in the air it was more palatable but nevertheless to me I read that as the airline couldn't care less about their most important passengers and providing a quality product for them. If they cared they'd reinstate Krug or put up some decent fizz, the latter of which they subsequently did.
I see it as a bit like when Aston Martin raided the Ford parts bin for their cars. OK, so the small plastic electric window switch performs almost the same as one made from brushed aluminium but it looks so cheap; it insults the paying customer, someone who forked over $190,000 for a prestige car that has parts from a run of the mill $25,000 Mondeo.
I get the impression from a number of your posts that you resent those of us who fly premium cabins on this site. I don't quite know why but I've seen a number of posts, some of them more eloquent and reasoned than others, aimed in our direction.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
Mirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7453 posts, RR: 61
Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 19315 times:
Quoting Lufthansa747 (Thread starter): It was then taken by someone claiming to be a major shareholder of TN, and his next comment was that the flights are too full so his wife has to stay in C. Hmmm, shouldn%u2019t full flights be a good thing from a shareholder%u2019s point of view? Had some interesting chat with him later about TN and Tahiti.
Wow, a shareholder
Quoting Lufthansa747 (Thread starter): Caviar is something I like very much, and it%u2019s nice to see TN has kept it as part of their first class service unlike BA for example.