With French Polynesia relaxing some entry restrictions, local airline Air Tahiti Nui has resumed its flagship Dreamliner services between Papeete and Los Angeles. The four times a week services restarted on May 2. While flights through to Paris via Los Angeles have not yet resumed, Air Tahiti Nui is eyeing resuming those services in early June.
French Polynesia tentatively re-opens to travelers from the United States
With the country having done a good job combatting COVID-19 and the vaccination rollout well underway, French Polynesia is beginning to roll out the welcome mat for overseas travelers. Tahiti re-opened to flights from the USA on May 1. That prompted Air Tahiti Nui to resume their flights to Los Angeles.
That said, it isn’t open slather. Travelers will need to arrive with a COVID-19 CDC vaccination certificate. Passengers have to upload that certificate to French Polynesian health authorities before traveling to Tahiti. In addition, only residents of French Polynesia and people who have spent at least the last 30 days in the United States before traveling will be allowed to fly.
Throughout May, Air Tahiti Nui’s fleet of Boeing 787-9s will jet back and forth between Papeete and Los Angeles four times a week. Flights will depart Papeete’s Faa’a International Airport at 08:20 local time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. The eight-hour flight lands in Los Angeles at 21:30 the same day.
After a two-hour turnaround, Air Tahiti Nui’s Dreamliners push back from LAX at 23:55 local time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings. After flying through the night, the plane will touch down at 05:05 on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday mornings.
Air Tahiti Nui eyes Paris flights in June
In June, the frequencies increase to daily with some alterations in flight departure and arrival times. The changes coincide with Air Tahiti Nui’s planned resumption of services through to Paris. From June 3, the airline is targeting Paris with six return services a week.
Those flights will depart LAX at 13:30 local time daily except Tuesday. The Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliners will head through the night. The flights will land in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 09:05 the following morning.
After a three-hour refresh, the Dreamliners will depart Paris at 12:05 local time daily except Tuesday and head back to Los Angeles, landing there later that day. Those flights will then continue onto Papeete.
The airline is also scheduling twice-weekly flights between Papeete and Auckland and Papeete and Tokyo Narita later this year.
Some modifications to the Air Tahiti Nui inflight experience
Of course, all this hangs on the continued success of the vaccination rollout, not just in French Polynesia but elsewhere. The flights are also contingent on the respective governments allowing relatively easy travel.
As with most other airlines, there’s a new normal onboard Air Tahiti Nui flights. For flights to and from the United States, masks remain mandatory onboard for the entire duration of the flights for all passengers above the age of two. For all other Air Tahiti Nui flights, children under 11 are exempt from wearing face masks.
Air Tahiti Nui has also made some changes to its inflight offering. The airline says;
“The onboard catering offer has been simplified to limit contact. The aperitif and meal services are combined. Meals are provided in a single passage in all travel classes and concentrated in a single tray service, including desserts for business class. The choice of wines and drinks is also reduced with the same purpose – limiting interactions and serving time.
“For the same purpose, the magazines onboard are removed, excluding the safety sheet, modified for single use only. However, passengers can view a selection of press and magazines, in-flight magazines, and meal service menus on our onboard entertainment system.”
For premium cabin passengers and Air Tahiti Nui’s best customers, lounge access in Papeete and Los Angeles remains off the books.