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Papeete, Tahiti

Flight to Tahiti Thursday, January 15, 2009
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Tahiti and Bora Bora Pre-Trip

I have been seeing the construction over the past few years of the new Four Season's Resort and Spa in Bora Bora. Last year I was at the St. Regis and was intrigued how the Four Season's stacked up against the competition in the area. Because the Nomade Yachting (Bora Bora Cruises) Tia Moana Superyacht was in drydock since January 5th, I decide on a short week stay in Le Tahaa and the Four Season's in Bora Bora. After my last bad experience with Expedia (they sent me paper tickets so that changing or exchanging flights was a major hassle), I now know better to book with the airlines directly and use their E-tickets.

Flights

LAX - PPT Air Tahiti Nui

I booked all my flights directly with the airlines. I was going to use my frequent flyer miles from Northwest to get to LAX, but the fares were so incredibly low, I just booked economy to the west coast. I started my fare search on Expedia, and when I found the flights where I could get two across seating in economy, I booked directly with American Airlines. They had the best connection and least travel time from Madison, via Chicago, to Los Angeles.

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Roll, band and pack. It provides the most space available and less wrinkles.

For this trip, I took my smallest roll-aboard, carry-on.

-15 F at the departure airport in Madison, Wisconsin.

American Airlines commuter to Chicago - on time, no delays even with the frigid cold weather.

Chicago to Los Angeles

ORD to LAX

I booked economy when I found that we could get two seats by the window. It wasn't really comfortable like business class, but for $365 round trip, I wasn't complaining.

(click to enlarge)

Once at LAX, we were booked into economy, but I inquired about upgrades and there were only two left in business class. So for $700 each I upgraded us. The seats were available only because we checked in early.

Part of the upgrade includes use of the executive lounge. It includes complimentary food and liqour.

Fresh sushi... yes at the executive lounge. I couldn't believe it.

A very nice selection of snacks.

Pepe in business class on Air Tahiti Nui.

Pepe and Cassie.

No, it appears there's no dress code when going to the tropics.

A glimpse into the first class area. 2 x 2 x 2 seating. Very roomie.

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui has coach (economy 2 x 4 x 2), then business class (2 x 2 x 2) and then one row in a separate cabin of first class (2 x 2 x 2). This is a photo of first class.

(click to enlarge)

The food in business class is amazing. You get a 5 course meal, with wine and cocktails.

Landing at Papeete, Tahiti.

The AirBus is a fantastic and comfortable aircraft.

Cassie and Pepe in Tahiti upon arrival.

Our flight arrived late - around 1:15am. We were at the Intercontinental within 30 minutes from landing. Photo of the bathroom.

Watercloset.

Shower area.

Bath.

Bedroom.

Desk area.

Local currency - worth about $6 US.

Local currency - worth about $12 US.

Travel Day

By the end of this long travel day, we were both exhausted. All of the flights were on time. We lucked out in getting an available (for purchase) upgrade to business class on Air Tahiti Nui from LAX to PPT. For long overseas flights, it's nice to stretch out. After a nice long dinner, I napped most of the way, with occasional intermissions with my iPod (on my iPhone). The long flight allows you to clear your head and anticipate the vacation ahead. It's always exciting to go to the tropics in the middle of the winter. Leaving in -15 F temperatures really made this transition dramatic. It was 80 deg F when we landed in Tahiti. The fresh Tiara scented humid tropical air greets you like in no other place in the world.

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