Earlier on this year I was lucky enough to visit the French Polynesia. Over the course of 10 days I visited 3 islands – Tahiti, Mo’orea and the famous Bora Bora.
I have to admit I was rather apprehensive flying on Air Tahiti due to the fact they operate a fleet of ATR turboprop aircraft. In bad weather you can certainly feel turbulence a lot more in ATR aircraft as I found out during Thailand in early 2017 whilst flying in extreme weather.
After my bad experience in Thailand I vowed never to fly on turboprop aircraft again. That’s until I discovered the only way to get to Bora Bora was by a turboprop aircraft. There are no scheduled boat services from Tahiti so a turboprop was literally my only option. So there I went, broke my vow and I booked a flight with Air Tahiti.
Booking flights with Air Tahiti:
Personally, I booked all my flights through a travel agent called Custom Tahiti, they seem to get much better rates than you would booking online. But if you do book online I recommend you visit the Air Tahti website and book multi island flights:
Tahiti – Mo’orea – Bora Bora – Tahiti you are going to be looking at around $250-400USD which is expensive but you have no other choice.
- The flight from Tahiti to Mo’orea takes around 6-7 minutes, and you are only flying around 2000ft high.
- The flight from Mo’orea to Bora Bora takes up to 1 hour, and you could be making 1-2 stops on the way at other islands within the region. Every time you make these stops you will be treated to the most stunning views of tropical islands!
- The flight from Bora Bora back to Tahiti can sometimes be direct, or it may stop of at Mo’orea and it takes around 1 hour.
The flight experience:
On my trip I exclusively flew on Air Tahiti’s 68 seat ATR 72-600’s. They certainly felt small compared to an A320 for example, but they were spacious and the seats had plenty of leg room. On most flights (if they were more than 10 minutes long) the cabin crew served tropical juice and they were very attentive.
The cabin crew even pointed passengers where the best seats were on the aircraft coming into Bora Bora. Luckily, I was one of the first to board to plane so I was able to bag one of the best seats!
Turbulence on Air Tahiti:
After my bad experience flying a turboprop in Thailand I was not looking forward to these Air Tahiti flights. The weather in the French Polynesia at the time I was there in May was very abnormal and unsettled, it rained quite a lot and there was lots of thunderstorms. This made me even more anxious when it came to island hopping days.
But I can honestly say that the flights were VERY smooth. As you were only in the air for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time the planes don’t go very high and the plane was able to avoid/move around the clouds. The only slight turbulence we had was coming into Land in Mo’orea but it was very windy and honestly it wasn’t too bad. I have had much worse on an A380!
The flights I took on Air Tahiti are some of my favorite flights I have ever taken anywhere in the world. The views from the plane are hard to put into words, and the pilots who fly these flights are very lucky people. I would go back to the French Polynesia in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so far away from anywhere else. The islands are certainly a place you must visit once in your life if you can. I know at some point I will certainly be back…