Friday, February 16, 2007

Air Tahiti - Part 2

Air Tahiti Fare

Air Tahiti tickets can be purchased overseas via their Web site and picked up at the airport upon arrival (either at the check-in counter for a point to point e-ticket or at the Air Tahiti office for an airpass). You can also purchase them from your international carrier. If you are going on a package tour your Air Tahiti tickets will be included.

Purchasing your tickets in French Polynesia will yield substantial savings except for airpasses that cover island groups other than the Society Islands. The risk in waiting to purchase your ticket until arrival is that you may not be able to get on the flight that you want or even fly on the day that you want. You also will have a lower checked luggage limit of 10 k (22 lbs). I will discuss this later in more detail.

The airpasses offered overseas are (I have entered the price that was offered last summer if purchased in Tahiti in parenthesis):

Discovery Pass:
Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea 24200* (24200)

Bora Bora Pass:
Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Maupiti
From January 5th to May 31st and from November 16th to December 21st 34700 (33700)
From January 1st to January 4th and from June 1st to November 15th and from December 22nd to December 31st 36800 (33700)

Lagoon Pass: Moorea, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Manihi, Fakarava, Ahe 38900 (38200)

Bora Bora Tuamotu Pass: Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Maupiti, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Manihi, Fakarava, Ahe 50400 (48700)

Marquesas Pass: Nuku Hiva, Atuona, Ua Pou, Ua Huka
From January 5th to May 31st and from November 16th to December 21st 63000
From January 1st to January 4th and from June 1st to November 15th and from December 22nd to December 31st 69000
(in FP this pass is 61200 from January 1st to March 31st and from November 1st to December 31st and 66200 from April 1st to October 31st)

There are also two extensions that can be added to any airpass except one cannot add the Australes extension to the Marquesas pass:

Australes Extension: Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae 26300 (26200)

Marquesas Extension: Nuku Hiva, Atuona 47300 (46200)

The extensions must be added to the beginning or the end of a pass.

The airpasses are not like Eurail passes. You cannot hop on and off planes as you wish. You have to make a schedule, this flight on this day, that flight on that day and be ticketed. Once you take your first flight the other flights cannot be changed. (Though I did hear a report of someone who was able to get a flight to another island due to a bad weather report for his initial destination. However, don't count on it.)

The passes begin in Tahiti; travel must be completed in one archipelago before starting on another. Islands within an archipelago can be visited in any order. All islands covered in a pass do not have to be visited (and it can be quite a challenge to include all the islands or selected islands on a pass given a particular timeframe).

Only one stopover is permitted on an island. A transit with a flight number change is considered a stopover. The exception to this is: Bora Bora-Tikehau, Bora Bora-Manihi, Bora Bora-Fakarava or vice-versa, where a flight number change and stop of less than 2 hours in Rangiroa is considered as a transit, not a stopover.

A stopover or transit in Tahiti is not permitted except to get to Moorea on the Lagoons pass or for 24 hours before or after an extension.

Passes are only valid for 28 days.

Tahiti to Moorea (and vice-versa) may be flown on an Air Tahiti or Air Moorea flight. There is an extra charge for the Air Moorea evening (night as they call it) flights.

(Note: there are lower fares for children available on all flights.)

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