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Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:30 am

Folie1

INTRODUCTION
My friend A. drops me off at the airport at around 12:00, two hours before my departure to Tahiti. I am rather curious about this next flight. Not just because I am finally on my way to Tahiti, but also because I am going there with Air Tahiti Nui, an airline that, quite frankly, I do not really know anything about.

CHECK-IN
Location:
check-in for Air Tahiti Nui is done by Air New Zealand, who code-shares on this flight
Facilities: only airport check-in available
Counters: there are six counters available for check-in, two of which are for Business Class passengers

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I think Auckland Airport has some room for improvement here. The entire process from check-in through immigration and passport control is slightly chaotic. For some reasons I seem to keep bumping into people standing around haphazardly and for no apparent reason.

LOUNGE
Location:
behind the duty free and retail area, then one floor up
Type of Lounge:
QANTAS lounge
Facilities:
business centre, showers, hot and cold buffet
Internet:
free, passwords available at reception

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Air Tahiti Nui uses the QANTAS lounge here in Auckland, which is a bit surprising, given that they code-share with Air New Zealand on this route. The lounge is large and roomy. It is quite busy when I arrive, but then a few QANTAS flights are called and it empties fairly quickly.

Announcements are made in this lounge, which I normally find a bit of a nuisance. But today I shall make an exception. I have not slept that much since yesterday. Actually I have not slept at all. The flight from Perth was simply not long enough and then in Auckland I did not sleep either so I could catch up with my friend A. So in the sum of all things, I think I am rather glad they make calls in this lounge, because I seriously think I may just nod off.

BOARDING
Priority Boarding:
there is a separate queue for Business Class passengers, boarding is by rows

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There is a bit of a hold up at the gate because of my passport – what else…? Obviously the gate attendant has never seen one of these before. She is very nice about it. She apologizes and explains that she needs to check if I need a visa for Tahiti. I try to tell her that European Union citizens do not need a visa for other EU countries, but she does not seem convinced. Eventually though, she does allow me to board and wishes me a pleasant trip.

CABIN
Configuration:
2 + 2 + 2
Seat: 30 seats
Pitch: 53 inches
Length as a bed: -
Width: 20.5 inches
Recline: 153 degrees, angled
Facilities: power outlet, reading lamp, overhead lamp
Audio and Video: AVOD, remote controlled

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I must say, I am rather pleasantly surprised. I board the aircraft through the L2 door, take the second left and find myself in a bright and colourful cabin. There are five rows of business class seating. The row of seats between the two aisles is not aligned with the seats on the window rows to achieve a bit more privacy. As a result, there is only a row 1 in the middle row. On the window sides the bulkhead is on row 2.

SERVICE
The crew is a mix of men and women of Polynesian decent. They are not exactly gushing in their manner, but they are very accommodating and conscientious in the way they go about their duties. At the door every passenger is greeted with a jasmine blossom. Apparently you are supposed to stick it in your hair, but to be honest, that does look rather camp on a bloke…

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Earphones and the vanity kit have already been placed in the seat pocket when I arrive.

VANITY KIT
Brand:
no name, essentially it is a nicely decorated cardboard box
Content: L’Occitane cosmetics, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, ear plugs, socks, eye shades, pen – it seems to be fashionable for the airlines at the moment to include a pen in the vanity kit

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THE MEAL
Welcome drink on the ground:
Tahitian punch
Hot towel before the meal: served on the ground before departure
Pre-meal drink:
sparkling water, Tahitian brand
Choice:
one starter, three options for the main course
Delivery:
tray service
Type of meal:
dinner, hot meal
Meal:

  • Bowl of nuts and candied fruit with the drinks

  • Poached prawns, salmon roulade with crème fraîche, breast of duck, microgreens, cucumber and onion marmalade

  • Breadbasket

  • Mushroom stuffed breast of chicken in a sauce bourguignonne (red wine sauce), penne paste with pesto and tomato

  • Selection of fruit

  • Ricotta and quince cheesecake

  • Selection of cheese (brie, cheddar)


Actually I’m surprised I’m hungry again after I overdosed on sugar at the Takapuna Beach Café in Auckland over breakfast…But where was I? The meal served on this flight is quite substantial and rather nice. The chicken breast has managed to remain surprisingly moist and even the penne have succeeded in escaping the faith of so many other penne that have gone before them into an airliner’s hot air oven and come out again as crisps. These are still chewy!

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By the time the meal service is over, we still have another two hours and twenty minutes to go to Tahiti. Time to extend the seat and have a nap.

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ARRIVAL
As we start our descent into Papeete, the crew pass through the cabin distributing mints. Unfortunately it is already dark, so there is not really anything much to see outside.

Papeete has a single runway and there are no taxiways. Landing aircraft are required to backtrack to reach the ramp. The runway must be quite long, because we slow down without having to use the thrust reversers and without any severe braking action. As we make a u turn on the runway I notice that we there still quite a stretch to go before the end of the runway.

The ramp is rather full when we arrive – which does not take much, mind… There are already two other Air Tahiti Nui A 340-300s standing there, in addition to a whole fleet of ATR-72 and little de Havilland Twin Otters. Fortunately there are no airbridges in Papeete, so you have to disembark using the stairs and then have to walk outside the length of the terminal building before you reach arrivals.

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There are two queues for immigration – European Union citizens and others. As our flight has arrived from Auckland, there are only a few Europeans around, which makes the process quick and easy. And so this part of the journey ends, I have arrived, I am in Tahiti!

GETTING INTO TOWN
Transport:
taxi
Departs from: Papeete Fa’a airport arrivals
Journey time: 10 minutes
Fare: XFP3000

ACCOMMODATION
In Papeete I am staying at the Intercontinental Beachcomber. I chose this hotel mainly on the basis of the close proximity to the airport. Tomorrow I continue to my final destination, the halfway point.

VERDICT
This flight felt very different to the previous ones I have taken so far on this journey. Mainly I think because Papeete is clearly more of a leisure destination than a business one. This seriously impacts the composition of the passengers. Whereas the previous flights and airlines clearly cater to the needs of the business traveller, on Air Tahiti there was only one guy in a shirt and tie and he stuck out like a sore thumb.

Even so, I think Air Tahiti Nui has really nothing to be ashamed of and provides a level of service that is in fact quite surprising for an airline of this size.
 
palmjet
Posts: 1231
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 2:35 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:16 am

Hi William

Thanks for this - good to read about another Air Tahiti Nui experience. Everything looks well done - I know the airline haven't been in the greatest of financial health but seems like you had a good flight with them overall and quality seems high.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
At the door every passenger is greeted with a jasmine blossom. Apparently you are supposed to stick it in your hair, but to be honest, that does look rather camp on a bloke…

The flower is actually a Tahitian Tiare or Tahitian Gardenia. It is the national flower of French Polynesia which adorns the aircraft tail of the airline you flew with to PPT.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
There are two queues for immigration – European Union citizens and others. As our flight has arrived from Auckland, there are only a few Europeans around, which makes the process quick and easy. And so this part of the journey ends, I have arrived, I am in Tahiti!

Makes a huge change from when I arrived there in November 1997 - we waited over an hour and a half to be processed by the 2 incredibly inefficient immigration officers and back then, there wasn't a separate line for EU citizens. And we were the only flight to have arrived from AKL at the time.

Thanks again - Palmjet
Eastern - Number One To The Sun
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:31 am

Just a small technicality, although French Polynesia is a French territory, it is not actually included as part of the EU. Nevertheless, I would assume that most , if not all, EU passport holders would have visa free entry ( although assumptions can be very dangerous when it comes to entry requirements).
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1866
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:35 am

When I went to Tahiti in 1986 you had to walk to the plane.
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Hi Palmjet

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
Thanks for this - good to read about another Air Tahiti Nui experience.

Thanks, my pleasure.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
I know the airline haven't been in the greatest of financial health but seems like you had a good flight with them overall and quality seems high.

I did some research on Air Tahiti Nui before I left Switzerland. Somebody described them as the Alitalia of the southern hemisphere. Had my quite worried for a while, but although their financial situation may be dire, fortunately their service is good.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 1):
The flower is actually a Tahitian Tiare or Tahitian Gardenia.

Oops, thanks for clearing that up.

Hi kiwiandrew

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 2):
Just a small technicality, although French Polynesia is a French territory, it is not actually included as part of the EU. Nevertheless, I would assume that most , if not all, EU passport holders would have visa free entry ( although assumptions can be very dangerous when it comes to entry requirements).

Actually I was wondering about that because as far as I know, many of the other French departements d'outre mer are included in the EU.

Hi lychemsa

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 3):
When I went to Tahiti in 1986 you had to walk to the plane.

That hasn't changed and I suspect the terminal hasn't much either since 1986. It's a cool building actually.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:11 pm

Unlike Martinique, Réunion, Guadeloupe , Mayotte and French Guiana which are all DOMs ( and therefore part of the EU) French Polynesia is not a DOM, it is apparently now a COM ( collectivité d'outre-mer) , I get a little confused with COMs because some use the Euro and some don't , but my understanding is that none of them are considered as part of the EU.

Anyway, sorry for dragging your TR off topic. Thanks for an interesting report on a carrier which doesn't get a lot of cover  
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:29 am

Hi Kiwiandrew

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 5):
Anyway, sorry for dragging your TR off topic.

Not at all, thanks for the clarification.

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 5):
Thanks for an interesting report on a carrier which doesn't get a lot of cover

My pleasure, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
767747
Posts: 2225
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:23 am

Hi William,

Nice report on Air Tahiti Nui. It looks like it provides a nice Business Class service. I love their livery on the A340, and the colors in the cabin also look to be really nice.

Hope you have a nice time in Tahiti. It sounds like a pretty idyllic place!

Best,

Matthew
I love to fly!
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:38 pm

Hi Matthew

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Nice report on Air Tahiti Nui.

Thank you.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
I love their livery on the A340, and the colors in the cabin also look to be really nice.

I like the livery as well. Not just because it's not white, but the Tiaré Gardenia on the tail just looks so elegant.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Hope you have a nice time in Tahiti. It sounds like a pretty idyllic place!

Thanks! Actually I can't remember the last time I had such a relaxing holiday!

Cheers,
William
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8321
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:09 pm

Hi William,

Nice read and pictures, thanks for sharing.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Air Tahiti Nui uses the QANTAS lounge here in Auckland, which is a bit surprising, given that they code-share with Air New Zealand on this route

- Indeed, rather odd!

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
At the door every passenger is greeted with a jasmine blossom. Apparently you are supposed to stick it in your hair, but to be honest, that does look rather camp on a bloke…

- YEP!

Cheers

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:35 am

Hi Mark

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
Nice read and pictures, thanks for sharing.

Thanks, my pleasure

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- YEP!

At the hotel's restaurant they put a gardenia on your napkin. I've actually seen a few men wearing theirs behind the ear. But I think they're honeymooners. So I'm assuming that there's currently not so much blood going to the brain but elsewhere...

Thanks for commenting.

Cheers,
William
 
Mortyman
Posts: 5940
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:26 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:39 am

Thanx for this TR ! Always Nice to see something from Air Tahiti Nui ...

The tiare flower is the national flower of Tahiti. From what I understand, you place the flower behind Your ear and on one side it means that you are married and if you put it on the other side it means that you are single / not married. I don't remember wich side is wich.
 
FlyingRoo82
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:40 am

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:34 am

Hi William,

Really enjoyed reading your trip report, especially of an airline I know very little about. It looks like the business class product is pretty decent - the food looks nice and the seats perfectly fine for a 5-6 hour flight.

Thanks for posting!

Adam
 
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sultanils
Posts: 1931
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:37 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:16 am

Hey William, can I say this is a ‘cute’ report? Air Tahiti gets you in the holiday mood right away. The colours of the cabin and the overall atmosphere very much contribute to that. I’m glad to see the airline dares to cater towards another type of passenger - virtually no suits to see you say - and that seems to work. All in all it feels like a different way to travel and in this case that’s a positive thing.

Quote:
Apparently you are supposed to stick it in your hair, but to be honest, that does look rather camp on a bloke…

Lol, pics or it didn’t happen  

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:33 pm

Hi Mortyman

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 11):
The tiare flower is the national flower of Tahiti. From what I understand, you place the flower behind Your ear and on one side it means that you are married and if you put it on the other side it means that you are single / not married. I don't remember wich side is wich.

Thanks for the clarification. I was unaware of the fact that there's a code to wearing the Tiaré. I guess it does make it easier to pick up somebody if you're more or less advertising it in your face whether you're available or not.

Hi Adam

Quoting flyingroo82 (Reply 12):
Really enjoyed reading your trip report, especially of an airline I know very little about. It looks like the business class product is pretty decent - the food looks nice and the seats perfectly fine for a 5-6 hour flight.

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the report. As you say, the seat was perfectly fine for the duration of this flight, but I'm not so sure I'd want to make the journey all the way from Paris on Air Tahiti Nui, even in Business Class

Hi Nils

Quoting sultanils (Reply 13):
Hey William, can I say this is a ‘cute’ report? Air Tahiti gets you in the holiday mood right away. The colours of the cabin and the overall atmosphere very much contribute to that. I’m glad to see the airline dares to cater towards another type of passenger - virtually no suits to see you say - and that seems to work. All in all it feels like a different way to travel and in this case that’s a positive thing.

The funny thing about the guy in the suit was that he seemed completely oblivious to the fact that he was the only one in a decidedly non-holiday vibe.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 13):
Lol, pics or it didn’t happen

What happens in Bora Bora stays in Bora Bora.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
adamspotter
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RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:10 pm

Hi William!

Another nice and exotic report you made here, you don't read many on ATN's J class!
Looks like you had a pleasant flight off to Tahiti, the food looks nice and love the look of the cabin. It sure gives a "leisure" feel to it!
The seat also looks nice for short/medium haul flights. Although I don't think it would be very comfortable flying it all the way to CDG if it is not lie flat..

Thanks for sharing!

cheers,

Brendan
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:31 am

Hi Brendan

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 15):
Another nice and exotic report you made here, you don't read many on ATN's J class!

Thanks! ATN are a great little airline, but their network isn't that extensive...

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 15):
The seat also looks nice for short/medium haul flights. Although I don't think it would be very comfortable flying it all the way to CDG if it is not lie flat..

Yes, that's what I though as well. Although, even with the best seat, I don't think I could imagine doing CDG-LAX-PPT in one go.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 15):
Thanks for sharing!

My pleasure.

Cheers,
William
 
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rogerbcn
Posts: 1173
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:45 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:42 am

Hola William!

What an interesting report on this exotic airline. I have only seen one of their planes once, it was in LAX some years ago and I thought about what a beautiful livery they have, so great to read a report right now.

Really awkward decission to use the Qantas lounge at AKL considering they codeshare with NZ this particular flight, well in fact they are quite promiscuous at codesharing: QF, NZ, AF, AA, DL, KE, JL and VN... so anything could go.

The flower detail is a very nice touch... Sure you did not wear it?   As you said, what happens in Boara Bora, stays in Boara Bora, right?

The seat seems old school business class and considering they catter mostly to leisure travellers it seems OK, but maybe the flight to CDG would need to improve that.

On the other hand, food, both presentation and amount, looks superb. Really nice plates and tableware.

Thanks for the explanation about DOMs and COMs; be aware that Nouvelle-Calédonie is none of them and so holds a special status....

Salut!

Roger
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Traveling is Living)
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:46 pm

Hi Roger

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 17):
What an interesting report on this exotic airline.

Thanks. You're perfectly right, exotic really is the best way to describe Air Tahiti Nui. You can visualise the South Pacific just by looking at their livery!

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 17):
The flower detail is a very nice touch... Sure you did not wear it? As you said, what happens in Boara Bora, stays in Boara Bora, right?

I knew I shouldn't have commented on those flowers and men wearing them in their hair...

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 17):
Thanks for the explanation about DOMs and COMs; be aware that Nouvelle-Calédonie is none of them and so holds a special status....

Good, because I was wondering about New Caledonia. Looks like you're the man who can help me with this one. What exactly is their status?

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
infodesk
Posts: 1462
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 11:06 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:51 am

Hi William,

Such an exotic report! It’s not often you read about Air Tahiti Nui. Flying all the way to NZ is special enough, but continuing on to Papeete is the sort of thing you probably only do once in your life.

I love the livery, the look of the cabin, the pillows, the plates, glasses, so colourful and yet stylish and a real breath of fresh air.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
even the penne have succeeded in escaping the faith of so many other penne that have gone before them into an airliner’s hot air oven and come out again as crisps.

My worst penne ever were onboard LX.

Thanks for the nice read.

Happy flying
Infodesk   
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class To Papeete

Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:36 am

Hi Hannah, how's it going?

I thought I might visit you when I arrived on Sunday when I arrived but with the building the counter has vanished.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
Such an exotic report! It’s not often you read about Air Tahiti Nui. Flying all the way to NZ is special enough, but continuing on to Papeete is the sort of thing you probably only do once in your life.

Indeed, this definitely was one of the more exotic places I've been too. Althou all things consideed, I think Brunei is still the most exotic because it was so different in so many different ways.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
I love the livery, the look of the cabin, the pillows, the plates, glasses, so colourful and yet stylish and a real breath of fresh air.

The cool thing is that while the hardware is, as you say, a breath of fresh air, their service is still very old school, which is kind of cool!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
My worst penne ever were onboard LX.

Pasta on a plane rarely turn out the way they should.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
Thanks for the nice read.

My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William

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