For Tahiti and Bora Bora, What are the Best Flat Bed Business Class Options in 2019? Tahiti and French Polynesia, particularly the Four Seasons Bora Bora and The Brando in Tetiaroa, remain one of my clients' favorite honeymoon and anniversary destinations. The problem, as with Hawaii (see Flat Bed Business Class to Hawaii), is that as a purely leisure destination, airlines haven't wanted to invest in upgrading the business class seats, since leisure travelers are more price sensitive than business travelers.
It used to be that there were only angled flat business class seats on Air Tahiti Nui and Air France from LAX, but fortunately, that's changed, plus United Polaris also has flat bed business from SFO. Here are the options, along with the pros and cons of each.
Air France flies its 777-200 flat bed business class from Papeete PPT to Los Angeles LAX nonstop on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and from LAX to PPT on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- The only option where there are solo seats and where all business class seats have direct aisle access, thanks to 1-2-1 seating
- Greater privacy of solo window seats than Air Tahiti and United options
- Potentially least expensive award option, if you have plenty of flexibility: as low as 73,500 Air France FlyingBlue miles + EUR 142 per person each way
- Dining tends to be better than Air Tahiti Nui and United
- Good IFE
- Not a daily service, unlike Air Tahiti Nui
- Very limited award availability at the 73,500 mile rate, especially for two people
Air Tahiti Nui 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class
Air Tahiti Nui is in the process of replacing its current A340-300 with new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. It currently has two 787-9s in service, so it's important to check which aircraft is scheduled for a given route, given that the current fleet is a mix of two 787-9 with lie flat business class seats, and two older A340-300 aircraft with old Air Tahiti Nui Business Class with angled flat seats.
- 787-9 Dreamliners are the newest aircraft flying between Tahiti and the U.S.
- Air Tahiti Nui flies daily between LAX and PPT
- It's now possible to search for award space right on AA.com. If award space is available, it's 80,000 AAdvantage miles per person, not bad for this route.
- Mixed fleet means that there may be an equipment swap such that you'll be on an old A340-300 in an angled flat seat
- Even on the new aircraft, seats are 2-2-2, so window seats don't have direct aisle access
- There's extremely limited award availability for two on the 787-9
United 787-7 Polaris Business Class
United launched its 787-7 Polaris Business Class service between SFO and PPT on October 30, 2018, 3X weekly. It flies SFO-PPT and PPT-SFO on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, although note that as with Air Tahiti Nui flights, PPT-SFO is a red eye flight, departing PPT 9:15pm and arriving SFO 8:25am.
- Service to SFO, which previously didn't have a nonstop flight to Tahiti
- Nice Saks 5th Avenue bedding
- Great Polaris Lounge at SFO prior to SFO-PPT flight
- Large footwells in bulk head first row of each business class cabin
- Extremely expensive award, since saver award space is virtually non-existent. Expect to pay 169,000-170,000 United MileagePlus miles per person.
- Seats, as with Air Tahiti Nui, are 2-2-2, so window seat passengers don't have direct aisle access
- Dining can be a bit uneven
If you've flown Air France, Air Tahiti Nui or United flat bed business class between the U.S. and Tahiti recently, what was your experience?
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