Wow! We’re back from our amazing trip French Polynesia (Bora Bora and Moorea)! I’m going to be as detailed as possible, as I know this is a popular dream destination for many like myself. My first post is focusing on the getting to French Polynesia, and below are our personal “getting there” details.
But first, for those who don’t know, what and where is French Polynesia? French Polynesia is a group of many tiny island, also referred to as the Society Islands, in the South Pacific (also referred to as Oceania). It’s located south of the equator (see map below). The official language is Polynesian, but French is even more common.
Getting to/from French Polynesia is a bitch. I’m not going to sugar coat it. No matter where you’re going (unless you have a private plane, like John Travolta does, who was also in Bora Bora while we were there), you have to stop in Tahiti first. It’s the only International airport to use when traveling to the two most popular islands (Bora Bora and Moorea), and there are no direct flights from New York to any of the aforementioned locations, including Tahiti.
So if your destination is Moorea, it’s another 10 minute flight from Tahiti, or a 40-minute ferry ride, and if your destination is Bora Bora, it’s about a 45 minute flight from Tahiti.
Many people choose to stay overnight, or for a few days at least, in Tahiti before filtering out to the other islands. We opted not to, as we were eager to get to the other islands, and Josh could only get a week off of work. Our itinerary looked like this:
Day 1: Leave New York
Day 2: Arrive LA, change planes, Fly to Tahiti, Ferry to Moorea; Moorea overnight
Day 3: Moorea
Day 4: Moorea to Bora Bora
Day 5: Bora Bora
Day 6: Bora Bora
Day 7: Bora Bora
Day 8: Bora Bora; Fly to Tahiti, change planes, Fly to LA
Day 9: Arrive in LA, change planes, Fly to New York
We left New York about 6:30pm on American Airlines. We typically don’t fly American, as it’s not the airline our miles are through, and I’m reminded why. Holy uncomfortableness! I felt worse the 6 hour flight from New York to LA than I did on the 16 hour one we took from New York to Hong Kong. American’s new planes are just horrible! About 2/3 of them are dedicated to first and business classes, and those back in Coach are crammed into about the other third of the plane. I’ve never been closer to the seat in front of me, or to the person next to me on a plane. Ever. Thank God that person was my husband, or I would’ve gotten to know a stranger on a whole new level. Of course, I couldn’t sleep, so I forked over the $33.95 for shitty Internet and prayed for the flight to be over soon. I stalked the map like nothing else, and was overjoyed when I saw this:
We had a small layover in LA, and boy was I nervous for our next flight on Air Tahiti Nui. It’s the first time we’ve flown this airline, and many people say how worth it splurging for their first class is. We always fly coach, because to me, first has never been worth the exorbitant expense. I’d rather spend money elsewhere. However, after the last flight, I was regretting this big time. I was tired, cranky, and by now it was midnight (LA time, 3am New York time). We’re about to be flying the next 8 hours, through the night. I was seriously over the trip and we weren’t even halfway there yet, thanks American. I just wanted to sleep and reached a point where my plane pills were not working! At that moment, life sucked.
Then, we boarded our Air Tahiti Nui flight.
Dear Air Tahiti Nui,
YOU ARE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!
I felt like I was brought back to the old days of flying. You know, where the customer was treated like an actual customer. Back when it was a luxury to fly. Where your comfort was top priority and it was the airline’s pleasure to accommodate you.
My mind = blown… and we were in coach!
As we entered, the cabin was full of this beautiful, tropical scent, and I already felt like I was on an island! I arrived at my seat to find a pillow, blanket, and small pouch filled with ear plugs, socks, an eye mask, and towelette. There was so much room between the seats, I rested. Comfortably. I’m glad we didn’t spend the extra to fly first. Coach was plenty roomy and wonderful. It was SUCH a pleasure!
The plane was big, with two side rows and a middle row. We sat in a side row, in seats K and L, where it was just the two seats side by side. I love this configuration! Air Tahiti Nui fed us dinner and breakfast, but I wouldn’t know if it was good or not, because I slept. Finally!
Also, I should note that the alcohol is free! Yes, even in coach! On the way home from our trip, I may have gotten a little tipsy while watching movies, which are also free.
Anyway, back to the beginning of our trip. If I wasn’t so excited to get the vacation started, I would’ve been almost sad to see this!
Arriving at the airport in Tahiti was SO exciting. Even though it was still dark out, at 5am local time, a welcome crew was ready to greet us as soon as we stepped off the plane, and BLESS YOU ALL for having a job that requires you to perform at that hour. In an airport.
I thought the airport in Tahiti was tiny (also, there’s no ac except in the one food area and the large duty free shop). Of course, I later learned that the Tahiti airport is pretty large compared to the ones in Moorea and Bora Bora (um, there’s no security in Moorea or Bora Bora! Can you imagine)? You literally walk on the flight! More on that later, back to Tahiti. The Tahiti airport is boring, especially when you have a five+ hour layover here like we did on the way home – eek!
Anyway, once again, back to the beginning of our trip. We got our luggage and all was pretty uneventful. We waited until just after 6am to grab a taxi (to avoid the additional surcharge). Be sure to check the cost chart that’s located where the taxi’s are lined up, and of course, just like you would anywhere, confirm the rate before you get in.
We had so many issues with Air Tahiti (remember, they are different than Air Tahiti Nui), that we decided to take the 40 minute ferry ride, rather than the 10 minute flight (which, thanks to Air Tahiti’s MANY changes, got us to Moorea HOURS before the flight even would)!
Next up, all about taking the ferry from Tahiti to Moorea!