Review of Air Tahiti flight Papeete Bora Bora in Economy

Airline Air Tahiti
Flight VT420
Class Economy
Seat NA
Aircraft ATR 72-500
Flight time 00:50
Take-off 29 Nov 13, 08:00
Arrival at 29 Nov 13, 08:50
VT   #120 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 72 reviews
anthonytahiti
Published on 9th December 2013
Hello and welcome to my first report in English. Even if it’s my first report in English, I’m not a rookie on Flight Report, I’ve been there from almost the beginning but all my reports are in French.

Let me introduce myself : I’m a 36 years old man, I’ve lived in Tahiti for 5 years (end of 2008) and nothing predisposed me to have an interest in civil aviation. I did not travel by plane when I was young with my parents : I was almost 30 when I took my first long haul flight. In 2008 when I came to Tahiti with an Air Tahiti Nui. Airbus A340, I didn’t know how to recognize it…

But when you live in an isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a plane is the only way out. So I started to have an interest for planes, airlines, frequent flyer programs… The virus was in me ! And now here I am.


First part : Flight Report

This flight is a leisure flight with my familly, to the Pearl of the Pacific : Bora Bora.
And also a special flight, my 100th flight with Air Tahiti.

Welcome to Tahiti Faa’a airport (PPT)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (1)

We arrive first at the international part of the terminal. PPT is not a busy airport, and today is a busy day : 2 flights are leaving this morning, one Air Tahiti Nui to Tokyo (NRT) and one Air France to Los Angeles (LAX) and Paris (CDG). 4 flights in total for the day.

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (2)

Not so many people at the international check in

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (3)

I keep walking a few meters : here are passeport and security check

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (4)

Only a few meters more : here is international arrivals

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (5)

Snack and restaurant

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (6)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (7)

And I arrive at the domestic terminal

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (8)

Flight schedule this morning. Air Tahiti is the only airline to operate domestic flights

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (9)

Panoramic view of the domestic part of the terminal

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (10)

Let’s go to check in

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (11)

I could use self check in

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (12)

But no waiting time at the counter

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (13)

Boarding pass, which looks sad I think. A more colorful one would better represent Tahiti and her islands

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (14)

Check in on the right, security check point on the left

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (15)

I’m now airside in the only boarding area of the domestic terminal

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (16)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (17)

Another snack shop at the back of the room

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (18)

And 3 boarding gates, no jet bridge

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (19)

Some flyers advertising for activities in the islands

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (20)

My gate will be number 12

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (21)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (22)

The last flight before mine is called. A clandestine passenger is trying to board

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (23)

But he’s quickly spotted and ejected from the queue

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (24)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (25)

Boarding is now called for me. We will walk on the tarmac and have nice view of the planes.

Wide bodies on the right, 2 Airbus A340-300 of Air Tahiti Nui and 1 Boeing B777-200ER of Air France

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (26)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (27)

Air Tahiti’s planes are ATR 72 or 42

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (28)

But my favorite one is the De Havilland Canada DHC6 “Twin Otter”
Air Archipels is a 100% owned subsidiary of Air Tahiti

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (29)

Our plane today is an ATR72 named “Hekeani”. That means sky traveler in Tahitian

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (30)

Boarding

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (31)

Air Tahiti only has an economy class, and here is the seat, in dark blue leather with little recline

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (32)

Seats are not assigned, free seating, and I choose to sit at the rear of the cabin on the left

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (33)

The pitch with generous legroom

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (34)

Air Tahiti offers an inflight magazine that offers beautiful picture of French Polynesia

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (35)

Inside you can find an introduction to Air Tahiti

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (36)

And the fleet, with a large part of ATR (european manufacturer of turboprops)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (37)

But something recently changed, and you will understand why I chose my seat at the rear on the left

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (38)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (39)

Payload of ATR72-500 aircraft has increased by 200 kg / 440 lb and Air Tahiti has increased the seating capacity from 66 to 68. To do that you have to reduce pitch between seats. But 3 rows at the the rear on left escaped reduction and offer larger legroom (circled in red in the following picture)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (40)

With this other picture, you can see the variation of the legroom with this change

imagephoto )

Another pic to illustrate, the plastic part between rows, standard on the right, extended on the left. 50% gain, not negligible

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (42)

View through the window, the plexiglass is of poor quality and this picture is without any treatment

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (43)

Air Tahiti Nui’s flight to Tokyo is taking off

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (44)

Safety demonstration

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (45)

and safety card in French, Tahitian and English

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (46)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (47)

Take off 10 minutes late, left turn and view of PPT airport. You can see that the runway is built on the lagoon

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (48)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (49)

Just after I can see the island of Moorea wich is only 12 miles away from Tahiti

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (50)

Focus on Temae beach with overwater bungalows of the Sofitel Ia Ora resort in Moorea

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (51)

Cook’s Bay on left, Rotui mountain in the middle, and Opunohu Bay on right (too cloudy, I’m sorry)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (52)

After that it’s time for the 2 stewards to offer a complementary drink, and the pineapple juice is like a trademark of Air Tahiti

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (53)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (54)

Air Tahiti offers Buy On board

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (55)

You can see the prices : 1 € is 120 CFP, so at this time 1 $ is 92 CFP

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (56)

Flight is short and I already see the coast of Raiatea island

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (57)

You can Raiatea airport (RFP) on left and the lagoon

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (58)

Tahaa island (foreground) share the same lagoon with Raiatea island (background)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (59)

It’s now time for approach to Bora Bora

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (60)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (61)

Too cloudy to see the summit of main island (Otemanu mountain)

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (62)

But great view on the lagoon with luxury hotels and overwater bungalows

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (63)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (64)

Now you can make out the silhouette of Otemanu mountain

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (65)

The airport of Bora Bora, on a “motu” named Motu Mute (a “motu” is an island on the corral reef). It was the first airport build in French Polynesia, by US army during World War II



after passing Bora Bora, left turn to align with runway and wind

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (70)

Soft landing 5 minutes late, U turn at the end of the runway, and going to the terminal

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (71)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (72)

Disembarking on the tarmac

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (73)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (74)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (75)

And going to the terminal that is undergoing renovation

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (76)

Goind around the small boarding area

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (77)

and we are in the arrivals area, greeted by hotels with flower necklaces

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (78)

The « carrousel »

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (79)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (80)

In BOB, the airport has 2 sides like every airport. Airside of course, but the other one is not landside but “lagoonside”

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (81)

Air Tahiti provides a shuttle boat to go to Vaitape on the main island



But luxury hotels provide their own boat to go directly to the hotel

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (86)

This one is for us

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (87)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (88)

Only 20 minutes after landing, we leave the airport

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (89)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (90)

10 minutes of navigation on the lagoon to the hotel which offer beautiful views

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (91)


Second part : Hotel Report

This is my 4th journey to Bora Bora, and as a touristic bonus I offer you some pictures of hotels I frequented

First time : Sofitel Marara (november 2008)

This hotel is located on the main island, and it's a shame not to have the view of the silhouette of Otemanu mountain so characteristic of Bora Bora

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (92)

But another part of the hotel, named Sofitel Motu is on a small island in the lagoon

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (93)

Beach bungalows are pretty good

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (94)

The Sofitel is not my favorite in Bora Bora, but I must say I have not been lucky with the weather, and it didn't help me to appreciate the magnificence of the place, though the colors can be surprising with clouds and rain

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (95)

Second time : Pearl Beach Resort (august 2009)

I really liked this resort located on a beautiful motu, and according to me, it’s one of the best price values in Bora Bora

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (96)

We stayed in a garden bungalow, polynesian style

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (97)

The private pool and garden were very pleasant

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (98)

Overwater bungalows were not for us this time

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (99)

Beautiful beach and lagoon

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (100)

Third time : Saint Regis resort (february 2011)

The luxury !

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (101)

We stayed in an overwater bungalow, wich is not only a bungalow but a real suite, more than 1500 sq ft

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (102)

Bedroom

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (103)

Living room

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (104)

Bathroom

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (105)

and sundeck

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (106)

Many pools in the resort, each one more beautiful than the last

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (107)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (108)

White sand beach and lagoon looks like paradise on earth

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (109)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (110)

Fourth time : Meridien (november 2013)

This is the hotel in which we stayed the journey of this flight report

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (111)

Overwater bungalow one more time

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (112)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (113)

This is the biggest glass bottom of overwater bungalows in French Polynesia, 6 or 7 ft long

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (114)

The view from our deck

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (115)

Very beautiful resort, we really enjoyed our stay

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (116)photo FRen1 PPT BOB (117)

One of main attraction to the resort (for child and adults too) is the turtle center

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (118)

You can also swim 15 minutes with them for free

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (119)

At last, Bora Bora is a perfect honeymooner destination

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (120)

All hotels can organize wedding ceremonies upon request

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (121)

And this young couple, probably coming from Japan seems to appreciate it

photo FRen1 PPT BOB (122)



That’s all for this long report, I hope you enjoyed it !


If you want more, you can see an old archive Flight Report (in French) of a similar flight PPT BOB with beautiful aerial pictures and no cloud : CLICK HERE

You can also find French version of the Flight Reports of this journey
PPT – BOB, VT 420 : CLICK HERE
BOB – PPT, VT 426 : CLICK HERE



Special thanks to KevinDC for his help

See more

Verdict

Air Tahiti

7.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

Papeete - PPT

8.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Bora Bora - BOB

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

Companie Air Tahiti :
Cabin comfort : this flight is short, and I don’t need first class service for only 50 minutes in the air. If you can have a seat with enlarged pitch, it’s perfect for you. The only concern with VT is that it’s the same with a longer flight (more than 3 hours to Marquesas Islands)
Crew : Does his job
Meal and catering : as for cabin comfort, a pineapple juice could be enough for a short flight like this
Entertainment : no IFE, no personal TV screen, the show is out the window
On-time performance : Only minutes late

PPT airport, domestic part :
You understand that PPT airport is not very pleasant, old building, but functional, car parking is not very expensive, no time loss with the check in or security check

Bora Bora airport
Airports in the islands are charming and scenic, espacially those isolated in the lagoon like this one.
No time loss with any formalities when you arrive, you take your luggage to the boat, and that's all

Conclusion : PPT is not a wonderful airport, Air tahiti is always the same in flight experience (basic), but what makes these flights extraordinary is the destination : 119 stunning islands in French Polynesia, 48 served by Air Tahiti. Bora Bora is the jewel, but there are so many hidden paradises

Information on the route Papeete (PPT) Bora Bora (BOB)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Papeete (PPT) → Bora Bora (BOB).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Air Tahiti with 6.4/10.

The average flight time is 0 hours and 56 minutes.

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7 Comments

  • Comment 95385 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Thanks for the translations and the tourist bonus, and welcome among the English language contributors ! ;)

  • Comment 95397 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5305 Comments

    Great report! It's so well written :-)
    Bora Bora really is paradise on Earth! There are a lot of beautiful pools, but with such amazing beaches and crystal clear water, I would never bother going to the pool.
    Thanks for sharing your first report in English!

  • Comment 95410 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12423 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your first FR in English

    A lot of breathtaking pictures especially the aerial ones

    Great hotels bonus

  • Comment 95591 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Fantastic report with amazing pics. Tahiti is indeed paradise on earth.

  • Comment 95713 by
    anthonytahiti AUTHOR 1571 Comments

    Thanks to all for your comments. I'm happy you enjoyed it.

  • Comment 398778 by
    kutsche.iutv 1 Comments

    Dear Anthony,

    I’m working for the German TV Production Company I&U TV, based in Cologne.

    We are currently producing a quiz show which will be airing on ARD (1st German Television Broadcaster).

    The show called “Fly with me” is about two couples competing against each other by answering questions about countries of the world.

    Each of the 15 episodes we are working on right now, will have another beautiful travel destination at its core. So the questions are all centered around it. The answers will be emphasized by showing short films containing corresponding images.

    While preparing the episode about Bora Bora, I found your photo here on flight-report.com that shows people waiting for the water taxi in front of the airport . I would like to ask if it would be possible to use it in our show and if you could provide us with the photo.

    You can also get back to me at kutsche@iutv.de.

    I hope to hear from you soon and send the best regards from Cologne!

    Niels Kutsche

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