Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:39 am


Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:31 pm

Arrived at JFK with my wife at the old TWA terminal (the saddle-looking thing), boy does that place look old. I remember being a kid and my father telling me, right after it was constructed, how some famous architect was involved. Anyhow the flashbacks to my youth soon vanished as I was forced to deal with a very nasty TWA agent at the counter. Basically my license name is Pavel and my ticket name said Paul (same name Pavel=Paul depending on the language), I tried to explain and showed other pieces of ID but she wouldn't ley me on, I said "you got to be kidding" she replied with "I not phuqing kidding you!" Wow. Anyhow, we finally made it on the 767-200 in the old crusty TWA paint scheme (red/white) - looked like the plane from that movie airplane, I was looking for Ted Striker. Anyhow, the flight was very smooth not a bit of turb. It was a very clear day and America was laid out beatifully below the entire ride. Almost felt like we were on a ride at Disney - "America from the air." We flew straight into LAX on one of the right runways (forgot which one).

To get to Tahiti we were flying Air Tahiti Nui. I was picturing an old sea plane with chickens and a dead body in the back. I figured if we were really lucky we'd get a 707 with two working engines. Air Tahiti Nui (BTW Nui means 'greater' as in outside of French Polynesia). had only one plane (they have 2 now) so they had to leech-off Deltas terminal. They did have their own counter, actually 3 - 2 for coach and one for business. My wifey and I waited at the assigned gate but there was no plane. I figured we'd be waiting forever for it to arrive when all of the waiting passengers were brought to the exit door, led down the stairs to the tarmac, across the gate parking area to an awaiting bus. Our bus, another showed up after, began driving across the airport towards the Pacific ocean (West). On man is LAX a big-ass airport. It seemed like we traveled forever. Meanwhile I got to see some amazing planes up close from the ground. Needless to say I loved it. We finally reached the far end of the airport where I saw the Airbus A340-200 parked. I was blown away. A beautiful plane with bright blue and green color (colour for you Brits). We climbed the stairs and entered in to a wonderfully theamed interior that continued the Polynesian feel from teh exterior. The F/As were all French or French Polynesian and were dressed like tropical soldiers. Thier attire matched the decor and they themselves were extremely professional and polite and perfectly fluent in English and French. The seating config was 2-22-2. So eight couples to a row. We were on the port side seats 22A and B. When I looked out the window I noticed that the winglet was even painted with a Tahitian flower. No detail was left un-touched. The seats were in almost new condition, and were a million times better than those hunks of crap TWA calls a seat. TWA was a city ghetto bus compared to Air Tahiti's Playboy Mansion with wings (and without the chicks). We taxied to one of the left runways (if you look at the airport coming from the east), everybody was staring at us - we we're the coolest plane on the runway. Very soomth take-off, but we used every last inch of runway (thats okay). We headed straight out to sea fro a good 10-15 minutes, then we banked left to a heading of about 220 degrees. It was CRAZY to see our position on the screen and see nothing but all BLUE, no land in sight. When the map began to show tahiti it was a dot in all the blue. I felt like we were flying beyond the ends of the earth. We kept on a straight line for Tahiti. I guess that's how pilots fly there with no ATC, just point it and hit cruise control. I know, I know "autopilot." We began our descent and began to see the many islands - needless to say they took my breath away. Papeete (PPT) has one runway 10-4. We approached fromthe north east so I expected to land on 10 but nooooooooooo, the pilot had other ideas. We flew right past the airport and then he swung a tight left and put us right on with the centerline. I know because after he leveled out of the turn there was no further adjustment. I was surprised that he turned so quickly after passing the runway - I thought he would want moew apprach time. But we touched down like fresh snow on runway 4 and needed only half the runway to stop. I guess the fuel was the difference. We parked at the gate and they brought out two ramps for people to exit (that's what I'm talking about!). We walked across the tarmac to the main building passing a Hawaiian Airlines DC-10 and an Air France 747. While in Tahiti was jumped islands on Ait Tahiti's ATR-42s and 72s. Going back was just as enjoyable. I must say as an aviation enthusiest and as a well-flown person, I had the best trip of my life. I will never forget the time, the trip of that airplane. To all who can - I say fly it if you can, you will not regret it.
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:46 am


Sat Oct 06, 2001 1:32 pm

Nice report.

Here is PPT:

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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Alexander Gregory

Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!


Sat Oct 06, 2001 3:57 pm

You are so blessed!

Air Tahiti Nui is the most beautiful plane that comes in to LAX. Yeah, when it lands or takes off, it gets plenty of looks.


Sat Oct 06, 2001 7:58 pm

Nice one !
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2001 12:11 am


Sun Oct 07, 2001 9:55 am

As cool as it looks, it is almost too much for me... Still, it is a good livery.
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 1:41 am


Sun Oct 07, 2001 11:35 pm

As was mentioned, if you think the livery is bold, my god wait to you see the uniform! Still suppose you won't forget it, which is good for such a little unheard of airline! Very clever.
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Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 10:31 am


Mon Oct 08, 2001 8:46 am

I am sure you had a great trip. Tahiti is a very picturesque country. How was the service and food on baord?
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Mon Oct 08, 2001 11:44 am

Well the terminal is supposed to be a bird, not a saddle.

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Mon Oct 08, 2001 5:28 pm

Whats the cost of air tahiti nui, LAX-Thaiti?

Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:39 am


Tue Oct 09, 2001 1:22 pm

I've seen prices from 900 to 1300 (US). However, just recently they had a number of people cancel due to the recent events and were offering seats for 200 (US) - through an email campaign. I was very excited but I still have to pay to get to LAX, hotel, food, other before you know its still a chunk of change. Plus they wanted you to travel now.
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Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2001 4:52 am


Sat Oct 13, 2001 2:16 pm

Went to PPT from LAX on Corsair 747SP F-GTOM in Oct of 2000. While there flew Air Moorea DHC-6-300s. Loved every minute of it!
CEOs should swim with cement flippers!


Sat Oct 13, 2001 6:28 pm

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © John Sweeney

It's impossible to have a runway oriented 10-04. it would either be 28-10 or 22-04
Just wanted to let you know!  Smile
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Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm


Sun Oct 14, 2001 5:22 am

That pic, leftseat, is one of my favorites I think...I love it!

Chief college football stadium self-pic guru
Posts: 1600
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2000 10:39 am


Sun Oct 14, 2001 8:27 am

I'm very jealous. My brother and I were booked on Air Tahiti Nui from AKL to PPT in January this year but the plane was grounded and so after a 12 hour delay we flew a chartered 767-300 from Air NZ. A MAJOR disappointment.

You may be interested that Air TN is considering tripling its fleet from the 1 A340 to 3 to expand flights to Japan and the US. Maybe even a flight via LAX to Paris. However in the wake of the terrorist attacks I wonder where this plan is at.

This is a shot of Tahiti I got from the Air NZ 763 on arrival:

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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Alexander Ananian-Cooper

Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:39 am


Mon Oct 15, 2001 1:31 pm

Sorry about the runway mistake - We landed on 04 so 22 must be the other side - I don't know where I pulled 10 from.

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Thu Oct 18, 2001 1:34 am

USAFHummer, yeah!
It's OK AirTahitiNui, just a small correction  Smile

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