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)
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.
Not so many people at the international check in
I keep walking a few meters : here are passeport and security check
Only a few meters more : here is international arrivals
Snack and restaurant
And I arrive at the domestic terminal
Flight schedule this morning. Air Tahiti is the only airline to operate domestic flights
Panoramic view of the domestic part of the terminal
Let’s go to check in
I could use self check in
But no waiting time at the counter
Boarding pass, which looks sad I think. A more colorful one would better represent Tahiti and her islands
Check in on the right, security check point on the left
I’m now airside in the only boarding area of the domestic terminal
Another snack shop at the back of the room
And 3 boarding gates, no jet bridge
Some flyers advertising for activities in the islands
My gate will be number 12
The last flight before mine is called. A clandestine passenger is trying to board
But he’s quickly spotted and ejected from the queue
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
Air Tahiti’s planes are ATR 72 or 42
But my favorite one is the De Havilland Canada DHC6 “Twin Otter” Air Archipels is a 100% owned subsidiary of Air Tahiti
Our plane today is an ATR72 named “Hekeani”. That means sky traveler in Tahitian
Air Tahiti only has an economy class, and here is the seat, in dark blue leather with little recline
Seats are not assigned, free seating, and I choose to sit at the rear of the cabin on the left
The pitch with generous legroom
Air Tahiti offers an inflight magazine that offers beautiful picture of French Polynesia
Inside you can find an introduction to Air Tahiti
And the fleet, with a large part of ATR (european manufacturer of turboprops)
But something recently changed, and you will understand why I chose my seat at the rear on the left
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)
With this other picture, you can see the variation of the legroom with this change
Another pic to illustrate, the plastic part between rows, standard on the right, extended on the left. 50% gain, not negligible
View through the window, the plexiglass is of poor quality and this picture is without any treatment
Air Tahiti Nui’s flight to Tokyo is taking off
and safety card in French, Tahitian and English
Take off 10 minutes late, left turn and view of PPT airport. You can see that the runway is built on the lagoon
Just after I can see the island of Moorea wich is only 12 miles away from Tahiti
Focus on Temae beach with overwater bungalows of the Sofitel Ia Ora resort in Moorea
Cook’s Bay on left, Rotui mountain in the middle, and Opunohu Bay on right (too cloudy, I’m sorry)
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
Air Tahiti offers Buy On board
You can see the prices : 1 € is 120 CFP, so at this time 1 $ is 92 CFP
Flight is short and I already see the coast of Raiatea island
You can Raiatea airport (RFP) on left and the lagoon
Tahaa island (foreground) share the same lagoon with Raiatea island (background)
It’s now time for approach to Bora Bora
Too cloudy to see the summit of main island (Otemanu mountain)
But great view on the lagoon with luxury hotels and overwater bungalows
Now you can make out the silhouette of Otemanu mountain
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
Soft landing 5 minutes late, U turn at the end of the runway, and going to the terminal
Disembarking on the tarmac
And going to the terminal that is undergoing renovation
Goind around the small boarding area
and we are in the arrivals area, greeted by hotels with flower necklaces
The « carrousel »
In BOB, the airport has 2 sides like every airport. Airside of course, but the other one is not landside but “lagoonside”
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
This one is for us
Only 20 minutes after landing, we leave the airport
10 minutes of navigation on the lagoon to the hotel which offer beautiful views
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
But another part of the hotel, named Sofitel Motu is on a small island in the lagoon
Beach bungalows are pretty good
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
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
We stayed in a garden bungalow, polynesian style
The private pool and garden were very pleasant
Overwater bungalows were not for us this time
Beautiful beach and lagoon
Third time : Saint Regis resort (february 2011)
The luxury !
We stayed in an overwater bungalow, wich is not only a bungalow but a real suite, more than 1500 sq ft
Many pools in the resort, each one more beautiful than the last
White sand beach and lagoon looks like paradise on earth
Fourth time : Meridien (november 2013)
This is the hotel in which we stayed the journey of this flight report
Overwater bungalow one more time
This is the biggest glass bottom of overwater bungalows in French Polynesia, 6 or 7 ft long
The view from our deck
Very beautiful resort, we really enjoyed our stay
One of main attraction to the resort (for child and adults too) is the turtle center
You can also swim 15 minutes with them for free
At last, Bora Bora is a perfect honeymooner destination
All hotels can organize wedding ceremonies upon request
And this young couple, probably coming from Japan seems to appreciate it
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
Papeete - PPT
Bora Bora - BOB
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
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Thanks for the translations and the tourist bonus, and welcome among the English language contributors ! ;)
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!
Thanks for sharing your first FR in English
A lot of breathtaking pictures especially the aerial ones
Great hotels bonus
Fantastic report with amazing pics. Tahiti is indeed paradise on earth.
Thanks to all for your comments. I'm happy you enjoyed it.
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 [email protected]
I hope to hear from you soon and send the best regards from Cologne!
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