United Airlines has started the only direct service from the contiguous United States to Tahiti. The route will operate from San Francisco SFO to Papeete Tahiti. Before flights to Tahiti were seasonal during peak vacation times, the new United service will operate year-round. According to the United Airlines California President Janet Lamkin:
“We are thrilled to extend this exciting flight to a year-round schedule… For Californians and our customers connecting through San Francisco, this route offers an escape to a little corner of paradise.”
The New Route
The new route will operate three times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays and United is planning on operating the route with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The route will commence on March 30, 2019, and the flight details are as follows:
- San Francisco to Tahiti UA115- Departs 2:45 pm Arrives at 9:25 pm.
- Tahiti to San Francisco UA115- Departs 11:45 pm Arrives at 9:50 am.
The new route will open up a whole host of destinations in French Polynesia, and travelers from the US will be able to connect to Moorea, Bora Bora, the Marquesas, and Rangiroa.
When it comes to the Pacific islands, United has form and operates lights to Guam, Fiji, and other south pacific destinations
At first glance, it seems like great news that United has opened up three times per week service to the idyllic island of Tahiti. However, there are a few questions that come up. Has United done its sums correctly? Can the service between San Francisco sustain three flights per week? Will the route be profitable or by 2020 will we see United do a U-turn and cut the frequency, go back to a seasonal route or even cut the route altogether.United expanding fleet with an additional order
While it seems, the route is sustainable during the peak travel and holiday season; it is difficult to see how United can sustain three flights per week during the low season. Even big European destinations like Zurich only get daily flights during the summer season and not year-round. Whether the route is a long-term success or not only time will tell.