Update: This route is now official. Flights from San Francisco to Papeete will operate on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 2:45pm and arrive at 9:25pm. Flights from Papeete to San Francisco will operate on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 11:45pm and arrive at 9:50am the next day.
Those flights are timed to connect to United’s nonstop 787 service from San Francisco to Paris.
Unfortunately the late arrival in Papeete means that you will have to overnight there as there are no later flights to connect to other islands in French Polynesia. That’s a shame.
United teased a new 787 route announcement yesterday on Twitter and today a United employee confirmed on Flyertalk that the new 787-8 route will be San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti/PPT. He reports that the route will start on 10/30/18.
From Papeete you can take a ferry or short flight to the beautiful island of Moorea, to the stunning resorts of Bora Bora, or to the many other islands of French Polynesia.
Tickets are not yet for sale, but a flight from the US to Tahiti will cost 35K United miles in coach or 70K United in business class each way. You can also transfer AMEX or Starpoints to ANA and book a round-trip ticket for 75K miles in coach or 120K miles in business class. ANA requires round-trip bookings, so you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of using American or Delta miles one-way to fly on their partner airlines and fly one-way on United.
The announcement comes just after French Blue, a France based low cost carrier, announced that they will fly twice weekly from Paris to Papeete via San Francisco starting on May 11.
Currently only Los Angeles has nonstop flights from the US mainland to Papeete with service on Air France and Air Tahiti Nui.
That’s a lot of new capacity in the market and I wonder how the hotels will be able handle it. I’d guess that already pricey rates climb even higher than that are now.
Bora Bora and the Maldives are both are famous for luxury resorts with incredible overwater bungalows. I’ve been to the Maldives twice, but I’ve yet to go to Bora Bora. That’s been partially due to how easy it is to find amazing business and first class awards to the Maldives, the short lived award bargains for hotels like the S. Regis Maldives that I’ve taken advantage of, and the ideal Maldives weather taking place during winter in the US.
Bora Bora has its least rainy weather during the US summer, which makes it somewhat less attractive to me, though its definitely on my bucket list as most people that I know that have been to Bora Bora and the Maldives seem to prefer Bora Bora.
As for point hotel options, IHG has 2 properties in Bora Bora, SPG has 2 properties, and Hilton has 1 hotel there.
IHG has hotels in Papeete and Moorea and Hilton has a Moorea property as well.
Papeete even has a Jewish community and an Orthodox shul, though unfortunately it’s not within walking distance of the Intercontinental Tahiti. There’s little information about it online, so I’d love to hear about it if you’ve been there.
Have you been to French Polynesia? Do you have plans to go in the future?